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Ice hockey is a game with two teams, each having six players, who wear ice skates and play on an ice rink. The point of the game is to advance a rubber disk (called a puck) past a goal line and into a net which is of course guarded by a goalie. Because the game is fast and has a lot of times where there is physical contact, ice hockey has become one of the most popular of international sports in the world. Today, hockey is an Olympic sport, and worldwide there are more than a million registered players in hockey leagues. Canada’s most popular game is hockey. Until the mid-1980s it was thought that ice hockey derived from English field hockey and was spread throughout Canada by British soldiers in the mid-1800s. Today, it is known that there was a hockey like game played in the early 1800s by the Mi’kmaq Indians, which appeared to have been heavily influenced by hurling, which is another sport. The name hockey comes from the French word “hoquet”. That is a stick similar to that of a shepherd, which has a curve on the end. This is similar to the curved end on a hockey stick. At first, hockey was played with a ball. This changed when the first use of a puck instead of a ball was at Ontario, Canada, in the year 1860. By the late 1800s ice hockey competed with lacrosse as the most popular sport in Canada. Many people being interested in the game of hockey led to many problem because there were barely any artificial-ice rinks for the sport to be played in. In the year 1911 the Pacific Coast Hockey Association was formed by Joseph Patrick and his sons, who built two enclosed artificial-ice rinks. Them building these rinks led to the beginning of a pattern in the construction of artificial-ice rinks all over. The Pacific Coast Hockey Association became involved in a money war with the National Hockey Association, which led to players of the sport not knowing which side to join to boost their careers. Although the National Hockey Association ended up winning over the Pacific Coast Hockey Association as the stronger league, it was the Pacific Coast Hockey Association that introduced many of the changes that improved the game of hockey. Under the previous rules, a goalie had had to remain stationary when making a save in the game. The Pacific Coast Hockey Association also divided the ice into three zones by painting two lines across the ice rink and allowed passing in the middle zone between the blue lines for both teams. This really helped to open up the game and made it more exciting to watch, as well as to play. The first numbered uniforms also appeared in the league of Pacific Coast Hockey Association. Even though they made many nice changes, they ended up dying out in the end due to the superior National Hockey Association. The best part was that the National Hockey Association actually disbanded and the end result was the creation in of the National Hockey League, known as the NHL, in 1917. The National Hockey League became the world’s most professional hockey league, and it is the one that everyone knows of and wants to be a part of today.  In 1924 the first U.S.A team, the Boston Bruins, joined the National Hockey League. In 1925 the New York Americans and Pittsburgh Pirates were added as well, followed in 1926 by the New York Rangers, the Chicago Blackhawks, and then the Detroit Cougars. To stock the new teams, the National Hockey League bought out the Patricks’ league in 1926 for $250,000. The Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Americans eventually dropped out of the league and until they expanded in 1967, the National Hockey League was made up of only six teams total. The six teams were the Rangers, the Bruins, the Blackhawks, the Red Wings, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Montreal Canadiens. In 1967 the National Hockey League had one of the greatest expansions in professional sports history of the world when the entire league doubled in size from six to twelve teams in the National Hockey League. A new league, also with twelve teams, the World Hockey Association, called the WHA, was formed in 1972, and they had a lot of competition with the National Hockey League. This was especially good because they both had twelve teams. The ensuing rivalry between the WHA and NHL caused players’ salaries to increase because there was a lot of competition between both associations.

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