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Birthplace of Hockey

Hockey History

The Birthplace of Hockey Museum houses a rich collection of artifacts, newspapers, and photos that all tell the story of Hockey within Windsor. Browse our online historic resources for information about the origins, evolution, and the Hockeyists whose love of the game contributed to the Ice Hockey culture of Windsor.

Historic image of a hockey team
Hockey

Origins

The origin of the history of ice hockey represents the key beginnings of the modern day game that we know today. In this respect the “Origin” section of the website endeavors to present the primary information and evidence that has served to establish Windsor, Nova Scotia, as the birthplace of hockey.

The Section Summary below is intended to provide you with an overview of the information contained in this area of the site. Some categories are very detailed in nature; this page can serve as a static reference point to select key aspects that you might wish to review within the section.

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Evolution Of Canada’s Great Winter Game – Ice Hockey by Garth Vaughan © 1999

Evolution Overview

Ice Hockey was not invented, nor did it start on a certain day of a particular year. It originated circa 1800 with students at Canada’s first college, King’s College, when they adapted the exciting field game of Hurley to the ice of their favorite skating pond.

They originated a new winter game, Ice Hurley, which gradually developed into Ice Hockey.

The development of Ice Hurley into Ice Hockey is chronicled in the newspapers of Nova Scotia, the first province to be developed in the country.

The first equipment with which Ice Hockey was played naturally developed in Nova Scotia as well. “Hockey” skates, “Hockey”sticks, wooden “Hockey”pucks, “Hockey” goal nets, as well as the position of Rover, and the early rules of the game all developed in Nova Scotia as one would expect. Nova Scotians were also first to use the forward pass and to allow the goal keeper down on the ice to protect his “goal”.

Image of boys playing hockey in front of the Stannus Street rink Stannus Street Rink, Windsor, built in 1897 following the great Windsor Fire which destroyed Windsor’s first rink built at Fort Edward in 1870. The Stannus St rink is the oldest standing wooden rink in Canada.
Image of boys playing hockey in front of the Stannus Street rink Stannus Street Rink, Windsor, built in 1897 following the great Windsor Fire which destroyed Windsor’s first rink built at Fort Edward in 1870. The Stannus St rink is the oldest standing wooden rink in Canada.
1880’s Nova Scotia Hockey Team
1880’s Nova Scotia Hockey Team
By Garth Vaughan © 1999

Hockeyists

Early in the development of the game of Ice Hockey, people who loved to skate were referred to as ‘skatists’.
When the game of Ice Hockey began to catch on, those playing the game became referred to as ‘Hockeyists’.

Many of the earliest of these contributed greatly to the development of the game and must remain forever as unsung heroes because there is no written or pictorial record of them. They will be represented by others of note who are shown in this section entitled ‘Hockeyists’ because of their outstanding contribution to the development and spread of our national winter sport. They had no plans in mind to develop an international league of teams made up of the world’s highest paid specialists of the game. They were interested in the love of a new game which was automatically developing because of its great attraction to boys and young men as an exciting competitive sport designed to fill otherwise long empty hours of cold Canadian winters.

Each Canadian province and territory has its own list of ‘Hockeyists’. This collection begins with some of those on the list of Nova Scotia. Hopefully, other areas will follow suit and create internet web sites dedicated to their own particular Ice Hockey history. Linking such provincial sites could give an overview of the Total Canadian Hockey

Nova Scotia Hockey Ambassadors
Women’s Ice Hockey
Women’s Ice Hockey – Windsor
Swastikas Ice Hockey

Research

Our research is carefully gathered and vetted.

See links below for information on our sources and resources for additional research.

Garth Vaughan’s Research
Research Credits
Publications

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The birthplace of Hockey

About Windsor

Windsor, Nova Scotia, is a hub of culture with a rich history, It is referred to as The Little Town of Big Firsts because of the several things that occurred there before any place else in the country, as the Canadian nation developed.

History of Windsor
Center of Culture
Kings College
Thomas Chandler Haliburton

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