When you hear the word hockey, you may think about many Canadians playing the game in an ice rink while wearing long and colorful jerseys. There is more to this game than just that. It has evolved into a mature sport that is recognized worldwide.
How it all started
The fun started almost two centuries ago by a man named James Creighton. He was a Canadian native. He started playing the game in Montreal (in Quebec province.) He adapted the game and rules he’d learned when he lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Creighton was likely inspired by the British and other Europeans who formalized a popular outdoor game by sliding rocks and other hard and round objects across frozen over lakes and ponds with sticks.
Ice hockey first came into its own in 1875. This game came into existence when Creighton started to recruit people to play in official hockey teams at Victoria Skating Rink. This match was the first formal game ever to be played in the history, and it was an instant success. It wasn’t long before others who lived in cold climates around the world began to assemble their teams so that they could play it indoors.
The game has attained a ‘cult classic’ status in America. It’s organized there, with most teams belonging to a national organization known as the National Hockey League (NHL.) This game has made many legendary players, and especially black hockey players, instant millionaires overnight. This richness is even more applicable to the teams’ owners.
The rules of the game
The game is amazingly simple and straightforward to play. Unlike as is the case with soccer, football, and even basketball, there are no lengthy and complicated rules to memorize and play by. All players have to slide the hockey puck across the ice and ‘throw’ it into the other team’s goal. The team scores a point over the other opponent every time this happens.
The opposing team (offensive) goal is to make sure that the defensive team doesn’t score too many points. The team players try to do this by forming human shields and openly trying to wrest the puck away from the defensive team players by playing ‘hockey stick fights.’ Calculation of both teams’ points occurs when the game is over. The team with the most points wins. In today’s world, with big companies sponsoring both thegames and groups, this translates into awarding hundreds of millions of dollars to the team players and their owners.
Almost all official teams belong to the NHL. They are a part of a list by the conference.
- Carolina hurricanes – Eastern Conference, Metro division
- Columbus blue jackets – Eastern Conference, Metro division
- New Jersey Devils – Eastern Conference, Metro division
Some of the most famous players’ names are:
- Wayne Gretsky
- Sid Abel
- Johnny Bower
- Johnny Buyck
Impact on American society
All modern sports have shaped American society and culture in recent years. For example, many educators and social workers/non-profit organizations have engaged at-risk youth in sports to ‘turn them on the right track’ and this game is no exception.
Indeed, ice hockey cuts across class, ethnic, and racial lines. It has been one of the few sports that has unified Americans in recent years. All hockey players, regardless of their income levels, ethnicities, or ancestries, are equal. They are also revered and given a ‘demi-god’ status by their fans and the American public. This extravagant affair is inevitable because the enthusiastic fans will gladly spend several hundreds of dollars for front row seats in significant ice hockey arenas.
This sport ranks up there with football and baseball!
Football and baseball have long been ‘America’s national past times and passions.’ Both are several decades old, and both have long since engrained themselves into modern American society and culture. Ice hockey is no exception to this rule!