Hockey Facts
Hockey Facts

33 High-Speed Hockey Facts

James Israelsen
By James Israelsen, Associate Writer
Published September 2, 2022
  • Ancient Egyptians played a type of "sand hockey" thousands of years ago.[7]
  • Ice hockey is closely related to a Scottish sport called "bandy ball."[7]
  • The difference between "shinny," a 19th-century version of ice hockey played by British soldiers, and its modern form is that shinny had no formal rules limiting how many players could play for a side at any given time.[7]
  • Ice hockey was invented in the late 19th century when students in Montreal, Canada, decided to play field hockey on an ice rink, using a piece of wood instead of a ball.[7]
  • In 1895, the sons of Canadian hockey enthusiast Lord Stanley introduced ice hockey to England by challenging, and defeating, a team that included Britain's future King George V and other members of the royal court.[7]
  • A dentist and hockey player named Jack "Doc" Gibson formed the first professional ice hockey league in 1904.[7]
  • Ice hockey was first played as an Olympic event during the 1920 summer games; since then, it has been part of the winter games.[7]
  • Knattliker, a Viking game similar to field hockey that is still played today, is a thousand years old.[7]
  • Hockey Goalie
    It takes a wide stance
  • The skate blades worn by a goalie in ice hockey are shorter than those worn by the other players, to give the goalie better balance and make it easier to skate from side to side.[7]
  • Ice hockey skates are different from those worn by figure skaters; they are smooth and only have one edge.[7]
  • Before 1927, professional goalies who fell while trying to make a save could be fined $2.[9]
  • Over the past 100 years, the rules of professional hockey have been gradually altered to increase scores and to make the game more exciting to watch.[9]
  • Although the NHL made helmets mandatory in 1979, the rule only applied to players who entered the league after that date, so there were still players who played without helmets until 1997.[9]
  • NHL player Steve Hull (1960s) maintained his position as the league's top scorer for seven straight seasons by using a hockey stick with an unusual curve that caused the puck to behave unpredictably—until the league made such sticks illegal.[9]
  • All-time hockey great Wayne Gretsky learned to ice skate when he was two years old.[8]
  • Ice hockey jerseys are traditionally called sweaters, because that's what the original 19th-century players wore.[7]
  • Before the 1930s, NHL goalies didn't wear face masks during games. The first goalie to change this was Clint Benedict, who started wearing a face guard after sustaining a broken nose.[9]
  • Wayne Gretsky holds records for the most assists, the most total points, the most 100-point seasons played, and the most goals scored overall.[6]
  • Hockey Wayne Gretzky
    They don't call him "The Great One" for nothing

  • Wayne Gretsky is the only NHL player to have his jersey number retired by the entire league.[8]
  • Field hockey has been made an official national sport in both India and Pakistan.[3]
  • The United States is in the minority among hockey-playing nations for not requiring amateur players to wear neck guards. This has resulted in the death of a high-school player, whose neck was cut by another player's skates during a collision.[2]
  • The only death of an NHL player ever to occur as a direct result of on-ice play was that of Bill Masterson in 1968, who fell backwards and hit his head after being checked by two opposing players.[4]
  • One of the NHL's most famous goals was scored by Maurice Richard, who came back from a vicious check with a blood-streaked face, a concussion, and a bandage over one eye to score the winning goal.[4]
  • By the time he retired, Wayne Gretsky had scored more assists than any other player had ever scored total points.[8]
  • Field Hockey Swing
    You don't want to get hit by that
  • At 103 mph, field hockey athletes have clocked the fastest swings of any sport, including golf or baseball.[1]
  • It took more than 200 stitches to close the wound sustained by NHL hall-of-famer Borje Salming after his face was accidentally cut by another player's skate.[4]
  • In 1980, the NHL redesigned the way goal posts were made after a player slid into one and had his leg impaled by it.[4]
  • Per sport, a greater percentage of field hockey athletes receive college scholarships than in any other sport.[1]
  • Field hockey was the third most attended event at the London 2012 Olympics.[1]
  • The average field hockey player travels the equivalent of five miles during a single match.[1]
  • Celebrities who were dedicated field hockey players include Emma Watson, Jennifer Lawrence, and Heath Ledger.[1]
  • In addition to ice hockey and field hockey, other forms of hockey include road hockey, roller hockey, unicycle hockey, ball hockey, and air hockey.[5]
  • Sledge hockey, which uses sleds instead of skates, is a version of ice hockey played by people with a physical disability.[5]
  • Interesting Hockey INFOGRAPHIC
    Hockey Infographic Thumbnail

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