Hockey History

Exploring the origins and historical events of hockey.

Posted on Behind the Boards (SIHR Blog). In 1945, Nikolai Romanov became chairman of the All-Union Committee for Physical Culture and Sports, the governmental body overseeing sports in the Soviet Union. Anatoli Tarasov would later characterize him in the following manner: Granted, he scolded me more often than he praised me, but all his remarks were certainly fair and sensible: they helped to grow and to see a horizon behind the horizon. And beyond. More than others, he understood that it is...
Presented in association with the Society for International Hockey Research (SIHR). The purpose of the book was to reveal how international hockey changed my life in the sense of opening my door, not only to Europe but also to the rest of the world. In my teens I was interested in the game, only with respect to superstars, statistics, Stanley Cup championships etc. Sixty years later I look back on hockey as the vehicle that drove me to learn foreign languages, appreciate the customs of other...
Since writing last week about the Gilmour brothers, I’ve been spending some of my lockdown time trying to find the story of how Billy Gilmour and his daughter escaped from Nazi-occupied France. If their account actually appears somewhere in print, perhaps it was told in an Ottawa or Montreal newspaper that isn’t available online. But, I have been able to piece together from other sources quite a bit of what might have happened. According to stories in Ottawa papers in the 1930s, Billy...
According to Wikipedia (if I counted them up correctly!), there have been 299 sets of brothers who’ve played in the NHL from the league’s beginning in 1917 through 2019–20. Of that group, 47 sets of brothers have played together on the same team, but only 10 have won the Stanley Cup together. The numbers are slightly larger if we expand the time frame beyond the birth of the NHL and back to the start of the Stanley Cup in 1893. Still, in all that time, there are only two instances when a...
Posted on Behind the Boards (SIHR Blog). The ice hockey team of the Skating Club of Brooklyn, colloquially known as the Brooklyn Skating Club, appeared as one of the four founding clubs during the inaugural 1896–97 season of the New York based American Amateur Hockey League (AAHL). The three others being the Brooklyn Crescents, the St. Nicholas Hockey and the New York Athletic Club. The two Brooklyn clubs played their home games at the Clermont Avenue Skating Rink in Brooklyn, while the St....
Presented in association with the Society for International Hockey Research (SIHR). Few fans get to be as lucky as I've been. While working on the 'Toronto Maple Leafs: Official Centennial Publication,' I interviewed about 100 players, past and present, and finished each conversation with, "What did it mean to play for the Maple Leafs?" The answers were quite incredible: childhoods cheering on the Blue and White; equating the Leafs to hockey's answer to baseball's New York Yankees... it went...
Can you think of a player that needed just one more great year - or even just one great playoff run or something else happening to them - that would have given them a rightful spot in the HHOF? Here are a few that come to mind: Theo Fleury - He might still get in. But if he finishes that 2001 season in where he is flying all over the ice then we are talking about a year where he could have cracked another 100 point year. Instead he unfortunately ended up in rehab. While he did win a Cup as...
Presented in association with the Society for International Hockey Research (SIHR). Father David Bauer changed lives — at the rink, in the classroom, and at the pulpit. Bauer’s dream created the first truly national Canadian hockey team. In 1963, that unique group represented Canada abroad and were committed to both country and to Father Bauer. Whether shepherding the hockey program at St. Michael’s College in Toronto or the men’s national team out of the University of British Columbia,...
Posted on Behind the Boards (SIHR Blog). Eduard Georgievich Ivanov (1938-2013) was a staple on the defence of the Soviet national team from 1962/3 until 1966/67. A curious episode from the 1964 Olympics in Innsbruck, however, has led some to falsely assume he played as a forward in that tournament. The confusion was caused by no-one else but the Soviet coaching staff. As Bryan Lawrence writes in a 2014 SIHR Blog Entry: One unusual postscript is that the Best Forward of the tournament was...
Presented in association with the Society for International Hockey Research (SIHR). Whether you're a die-hard booster from the early days of Conn Smythe or a new supporter of Randy Carlyle, these are the 100 things all Maple Leaf fans need to know and do in their lifetime. Authors Michael Leonetti and Paul Patskou have collected every essential piece of Maple Leafs knowledge and trivia, as well as must-do activities, and ranked them, providing an entertaining and easy-to-follow checklist as...
You’d think something as simple as who was the first goalie in hockey history to wear a mask would be an easy question to answer. It’s not. In fact, it’s been surprisingly difficult to nail down. Jacques Plante — though he popularized the concept for modern goalies — was certainly not the first to wear one. Clint Benedict (who I’ve argued in the past was was a better goalie than Georges Vezina, the NHL’s goaltending trophy namesake) was probably the first NHL goaltender to wear a mask when...
Presented in association with the Society for International Hockey Research (SIHR). The Fastest Game in the World: Hockey and the Globalization of Sports is a history of the global sport based on research in multiple countries and multiple languages. The author was a history professor for two decades, and the book has the foundation of an academic work, with research done in 20 different archives. These original sources range from the letters and diaries of Canadian players in Europe during...
Posted on Behind the Boards (SIHR Blog). Various family constellations have been part of the ice hockey world throughout the history of organized competition, most often made from a set of brothers. The Montreal Hockey Club (AAA), for instance, the first club to capture the Stanley Cup in 1893, had the Hodgson brothers, Billy and Archie, on the roster during the 1888 AHAC season, and the MacKerrow twins, Clarence and Andy, during the 1895–96 season, just to mention two early examples from...
Posted on Behind the Boards (SIHR Blog). In his SIHR blog entry from April 5 ("A Londoner upsets the Reds – Wembley Lions versus the Soviet Union 1955"), Stewart Roberts takes a look at the series of games the Soviet national team played in England in November and December 1955, most notably the narrow 3-2 win over Wembley Lion on December 1. The game report by English weekly "Ice Hockey News" highlights the stiff bodychecking by Wembley players Lawson Neil and Roy Sheperd and as Roberts...
Presented in association with the Society for International Hockey Research (SIHR). A 652 page comprehensive volume that took seven years of research and writing, describing in detail the exploits and game-by-game action, with statistics, by the players who donned the GB strip over more than 70 years. Also included is the first complete GB Player Register (1910-2019) to be published.
Presented in association with the Society for International Hockey Research (SIHR). Distinguished sportswriter Elmer Ferguson called him the “greatest defensive” defenseman of his day. The NHL’s revered chief referee Cooper Smeaton ranked him ahead of his defense partner, Eddie Shore. Legendary manager of the Boston Bruins, Art Ross, wouldn’t sell him “at any price.” And yet he goes unrecognized by the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Presented in association with the Society for International Hockey Research (SIHR). A publication of the Champlain Society. A Hotly Contested Affair: Hockey in Canada is a collection of documents that trace the history of Canada’s national winter game from its “founding” in Montreal in the mid-1870s into the early twenty-first century. Composed of 157 edited and annotated sources, the volume is organized into ten chapters based on the sport’s central themes.
Presented in association with the Society for International Hockey Research (SIHR). Philadelphia has been a hockey town since 1897. Before and even during the Philadelphia Flyers' tenure, other teams--the Ramblers, the Quakers and the Firebirds, among others--called the city home, for better or for worse. The first of its kind, this comprehensive history covers the teams and players that graced the ice from the turn of the 20th century through the 2009 demise of the Philadelphia Phantoms.
Presented in association with the Society for International Hockey Research (SIHR). This book reveals for the first time the remarkable story of how Canadian players came to Sussex on the south coast of England in the mid-1930s - in the midst of the Depression in Canada - and formed the Brighton Tigers, one of the founder members of the English National League, the country's first pro hockey circuit.
Presented in association with the Society for International Hockey Research (SIHR). This book contains ten interviews the author conducted with New York Rangers Alumni in the mid-1980s. Always interested in the history of the Rangers, the author actively sought out some of the original Rangers from the 1926-27 team to get their memories of playing during the early days of the NHL and New York hockey. In most cases, the interviews were conducted over the telephone for purposes of writing...
Presented in association with the Society for International Hockey Research (SIHR). An official publication of the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame. "After having penned 'Golden Boys: The Top 50 Manitoba Hockey Players of All Time' in 2017, prolific author and hockey historian Ty Dilello has returned with another deep dive into Manitoba's hockey history. 'Manitoba Hockey: An Oral History' shines a spotlight on more luminaries from the province's proud hockey past, including a few members of the...
Presented in association with the Society for International Hockey Research (SIHR). The California Golden Seals: a Tale of White Skates and Red Ink, and One of the NHL’s Most Outlandish Teams covers the franchise’s entire history, from its championship years in the Western Hockey League, to its relocation to Oakland, to its excruciatingly slow death in Cleveland. Several people associated with the Seals, including Lyle Carter, Ted Hampson, Joey Johnston, Marshall Johnston, Wayne King, Larry...
Presented in association with the Society for International Hockey Research (SIHR). Two hockey historians have self-published a book about what was undoubtedly the ultimate hockey promotion. Don Pillar and Aubrey Ferguson are life-time collectors of Bee Hive hockey pictures who started seven years ago to pool their knowledge and put together a book that includes pictures of all 1025 Bee Hive photos that were issued along with over 400 other pictures of player lists, advertisements,...
The 1979 Challenge Cup between the NHL All-Stars (=the best of Canada plus three Swedes) and the Soviet National Team is one of my favorite cold war era hockey series ever. For starters, look at the rosters; Guy Lafleur, Mike Bossy, Bobby Clarke, Gilbert Perreault, Bryan Trottier, Larry Robinson, Ken Dryden… Valeri Kharlamov, Boris Mikhailov, Vladimir Petrov, Sergei Makarov, Helmut Balderis, Valeri Vasiliev, Vladislav Tretiak etc. For example, the 1972 Summit Series can’t be compared to it...
Presented in association with the Society for International Hockey Research (SIHR). Having captured five Stanley Cup championships since 1991 – more than any other team since then – it’s easy to forget that the Pittsburgh Penguins were once one of hockey’s most laughable organizations. Born in 1967 as a National Hockey League expansion team, the Penguins proceeded to waddle their way through years of heavy losses both on and off the ice. There were bad trades, horrible draft picks, a...
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