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On the Origin of Organized Hockey

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06-02-2014, 11:19 AM
  #1
Iain Fyffe
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On the Origin of Organized Hockey

Last week I posted a review of the new book On the Origin of Hockey. This week I have posted a piece that takes a detailed look at the origin of "organized' hockey, including a discussion of the game reports from England that seem to match that description, with the earliest candidate dating from 1857!

Link is here.

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06-02-2014, 07:05 PM
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Very interesting. Hypothetically, leaves one wondering why it didnt catch on to the extent that it did in Montreal post 1875, though I suppose climate, just lack of the availability of ice & ease of access including equipment wouldve been a major factor.

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06-02-2014, 07:36 PM
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for me--that painting that sits in English Portrait Gallary that was pained in about 1840's and has kid on skates, with a curved stick playing with an object on the ice is pretty good indication that some sort of hockey game was being played over here

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06-02-2014, 11:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killion View Post
Very interesting. Hypothetically, leaves one wondering why it didnt catch on to the extent that it did in Montreal post 1875, though I suppose climate, just lack of the availability of ice & ease of access including equipment wouldve been a major factor.
Yes, it's certainly a game more suited for the Canadian climate, and a lot of researchers give James Creighton a lot of credit for pushing the game along and popularizing it.

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06-02-2014, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by bozwell View Post
for me--that painting that sits in English Portrait Gallary that was pained in about 1840's and has kid on skates, with a curved stick playing with an object on the ice is pretty good indication that some sort of hockey game was being played over here
Absolutely, but the response has always been "Yes, but that was just a pastime, *organized* hockey was invented in Canada!"

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06-03-2014, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bozwell View Post
for me--that painting that sits in English Portrait Gallary that was pained in about 1840's and has kid on skates, with a curved stick playing with an object on the ice is pretty good indication that some sort of hockey game was being played over here
There was some sort of hockey game being played on ice in a lot of places before the 1840s

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06-03-2014, 12:01 PM
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Pfff...

The history of BALL-and-stick games is long, on and off the ice (before bandy there has hurley).

But the first recorded use of a PUCK as a flat disk was in Montreal in March 1875.

Whatever the criteria, hockey BECAME A SPORT in Canada, however one wishes to weave the threads that predate the fabric of the game.

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06-03-2014, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by VanIslander View Post
But the first recorded use of a PUCK as a flat disk was in Montreal in March 1875.
London 1797, looks like a flat disc to me:


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06-03-2014, 01:11 PM
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London 1797, looks like a flat disc to me
A puck was made for ice hockey in the 1875 game. Apparently, they used barrel or bottle stoppers called 'bungs' back in the day in England. Which is what the person in 1797 likely had.

There were lots of things defined in the 1875 game, like the shape and length of the rink, the time of play, the puck and the size of the goal.

Games before that were just fun games. There were so many of then with different rules that it's pointless. The 1875 game has clear lineage after that to today's sport. And there are depictions going back centuries early to Dutch painters anyway.

There was a fabulous version of shinney played on the St. Lawrence River in the 1800s (1830s or 1850s) where they played from one town to another with lots of players. The description I read called it shinney because they would hit each others shins. Fabulous.

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06-03-2014, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by AlexLaney View Post
A puck was made for ice hockey in the 1875 game. Apparently, they used barrel or bottle stoppers called 'bungs' back in the day in England. Which is what the person in 1797 likely had.
A flat disc is a flat disc.

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There were so many of then with different rules that it's pointless.
Just like the 1875 games had very different rules than a "modern" hockey game ... did you read the contribution linked in the OP?

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The 1875 game has clear lineage after that to today's sport.
True and undisputed. But it's not out of question there is a lineage from the games in England to the 1875 game.

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06-03-2014, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
Absolutely, but the response has always been "Yes, but that was just a pastime, *organized* hockey was invented in Canada!"

Yes. As I'm fond of saying, if you give people ice they'll start sliding stuff around on it while sliding around in some fashion themselves. Paintings and depictions of people doing that is, as far as I'm concerned, only proof of that, not proof that the game we know of as hockey existed then. Organizing it into the coherent sport we know now is a completely different matter.

Just like the basic concept of baseball (A game where you hit something with a stick) didn't originate in the US, but the organized form we generally recognize as baseball did.

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06-03-2014, 02:06 PM
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One of my personal and scholarly interests is the history of organized youth hockey (usually called "minor" hockey in Canada, indicating the participants have not yet reached the "age of majority").

I find myself so often disappointed by books and articles on "the history" of hockey because most tend to focus exclusively on organized hockey played by adults. Throwaway lines such as "he learned the game on the frozen lakes and ponds in Whiarton" are common, and contribute little to our understanding of the game's growth and development from the bottom up.

As an aside, I had a lengthy conversation recently with a gentleman of octogenarian age who spent many years involved with the Ontario Minor Hockey Association. He showed me what he claimed was an original 1935 Constitution as "proof" of the association's nearly 80 years administering youth hockey. I didn't have the heart to tell him the organization was called the "Ontario Hockey Association" (no "minor" in there) or that the document was dead silent on any divisions younger than "Intermediate" and "Senior."

Any advice on where I might look?

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06-03-2014, 02:57 PM
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Weight

Quote:
Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
A flat disc is a flat disc.



Just like the 1875 games had very different rules than a "modern" hockey game ... did you read the contribution linked in the OP?



True and undisputed. But it's not out of question there is a lineage from the games in England to the 1875 game.
No a flat disc is not a flat disc - see the following regarding the weight of the puck, variations paragraph:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_puck

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06-03-2014, 03:07 PM
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Early Years

Quote:
Originally Posted by BadgerBruce View Post
One of my personal and scholarly interests is the history of organized youth hockey (usually called "minor" hockey in Canada, indicating the participants have not yet reached the "age of majority").

I find myself so often disappointed by books and articles on "the history" of hockey because most tend to focus exclusively on organized hockey played by adults. Throwaway lines such as "he learned the game on the frozen lakes and ponds in Whiarton" are common, and contribute little to our understanding of the game's growth and development from the bottom up.

As an aside, I had a lengthy conversation recently with a gentleman of octogenarian age who spent many years involved with the Ontario Minor Hockey Association. He showed me what he claimed was an original 1935 Constitution as "proof" of the association's nearly 80 years administering youth hockey. I didn't have the heart to tell him the organization was called the "Ontario Hockey Association" (no "minor" in there) or that the document was dead silent on any divisions younger than "Intermediate" and "Senior."


Any advice on where I might look?
Donald Guay in his book L'Histoire du hockey au Québec" does look at the age of hockey players in the formative years of the sport in Canada, He looks at the 1875 era and shows how the sport trended from university aged students, down to 16 year olds playing Senior hockey by the mid 1890s to the extent that leagues would establish 16 as the minimum age requirement for participation.

Also he traces the start of hockey at the high school level in schools from the 1880s. One of the reasons why this is Under appreciated is that the French word college in Québec referred to a non-seminary high school and people not familiar interpret the French use of college as the American or other jurisdiction university level academic level.

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06-03-2014, 03:20 PM
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Iain Fyffe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VanIslander View Post
But the first recorded use of a PUCK as a flat disk was in Montreal in March 1875.
Incorrect, as the bungs that were used in the 18th century were disks rather than balls.

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Whatever the criteria, hockey BECAME A SPORT in Canada, however one wishes to weave the threads that predate the fabric of the game.
This statement depends entirely on your definition of "sport". And any statement that is entirely dependent on the details of your definition will necessarily be arbitrary.

A more nuanced view is that "organization" in hockey is a spectrum, not a binary question. There are less-organized versions of the game on one end, with increasing levels of organization up to the top end of the spectrum. If you insert a solid line into the spectrum, and call everything on one side "not organized" or "pastime" and everything on the other "organized" or "sport", the placement of that line will be arbitrary.

Why not consider the whole of the evolution of the game, rather than erecting arbitrary dividing lines?

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Paintings and depictions of people doing that is, as far as I'm concerned, only proof of that, not proof that the game we know of as hockey existed then. Organizing it into the coherent sport we know now is a completely different matter.
This is the crux of the argument. If you're talking about what we know of as hockey, it did not exist in England in the 1870s. But it also did not exist in Montreal in the 1870s.

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06-03-2014, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Canadiens1958 View Post
No a flat disc is not a flat disc - see the following regarding the weight of the puck, variations paragraph:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_puck
The point is that if you have to define a puck in a very particular way (ie, having more particulars than being a disk rather than a ball), it will seem that your definition is being arrived at in order to achieve a particular goal, rather than simply defining how a puck is different than a ball.

If a "puck" has somewhat different dimensions than the standards we're used to, is it not a puck? If not, then what it is?

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06-03-2014, 04:15 PM
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Very interesting. Hypothetically, leaves one wondering why it didnt catch on to the extent that it did in Montreal post 1875, though I suppose climate, just lack of the availability of ice & ease of access including equipment wouldve been a major factor.
http://booty.org.uk/booty.weather/climate/1850_1899.htm

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06-03-2014, 04:27 PM
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Wow. Awesome link there.... incredible really. "Gale winds so strong they set a windmill spinning so furiously it created enough friction that sparks started to fly & it caught fire and burned to the ground". Some seriously erratic weather patters all over the UK, Channel Islands. Hail & cold temperatures in August in Ireland. The elements wreaking havoc on homes, crops, shipping.

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06-03-2014, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Theokritos View Post
A flat disc is a flat disc.
MOD
The puck was made for the game, the other is just what they threw out there that day. Another indication of the lack of formality of the game.

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Just like the 1875 games had very different rules than a "modern" hockey game ... did you read the contribution linked in the OP?
The 1875 game had more in common with today, like the size of rink, use of puck, time of play, the sticks, size of goal, played indoors, than the games described in the book. As far as I can tell, these old games are just basic and rudimentary. There is nowhere to go in this discussion. There are so many ancestors to modern hockey, these games are just one and only partial.


Last edited by Fugu: 06-03-2014 at 11:45 PM. Reason: please address the topic
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06-03-2014, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by AlexLaney View Post
The 1875 game had more in common with today, like the size of rink, use of puck, time of play, the sticks, size of goal, played indoors, than the games described in the book.
1. Size of the rink. Games played in the Victoria rink, yes. But it was not the only rink in use in early Montreal hockey, or in subsequent years before that size became the standard. And of course, we don't know the size of the rink used in most of the English reports, so we cannot say if they were dissimilar.

2. Use of puck. As discussed, a bung is a puck by any reasonable definition. And the puck used in 1875 in Montreal was made of wood, which is more similar to the cork used in England than it is to the rubber used today. And if one day's planning is all it takes to be formal in this regard, then any planned match in England certainly meets that requirement.

3. Playing time. What was the time of play in the March 3, 1875 game? The game reports do not say.

4. The sticks. Are you kidding? Have a look at pictures from Montreal hockey's early years.

5. Size of goal. We don't know how different this is, since the English game reports did not specify it. We don't even know what it was exactly in the 1875 Montreal games.

6. Played indoors. So the games of the 1883 Montreal Winter Carnival should not be considered organized hockey? Ice hockey has often been played outdoors, so this cannot be taken as a determining factor.

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As far as I can tell, these old games are just basic and rudimentary.
No more so than the hockey played in 1875 in Montreal, that's the point. I also don't see how the specific size of the rink and goals and the time of play has any bearing on whether the game was rudimentary.

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There is nowhere to go in this discussion.
MOD If you're not interested in the early development of hockey, that's fine. But don't try to tell others who are interested that there's nothing to discuss.


Last edited by Fugu: 06-03-2014 at 11:46 PM. Reason: qep
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06-04-2014, 12:40 AM
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1855 was one of the coldest winters ever recorded in England, the first 5 months especially cold. It was also the year of the so called Devil's Footprints. Not going into that particularly, but there was heavy snowfall in Devon and apparently lakes there froze. Devon's in the southern part of England.

http://www.ukweatherworld.co.uk/foru...pecially-cold/

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06-04-2014, 09:52 AM
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Ball vs Puck

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Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
The point is that if you have to define a puck in a very particular way (ie, having more particulars than being a disk rather than a ball), it will seem that your definition is being arrived at in order to achieve a particular goal, rather than simply defining how a puck is different than a ball.

If a "puck" has somewhat different dimensions than the standards we're used to, is it not a puck? If not, then what it is?
Overlooking that depending on its construction, materials used, lack of uniform density, whether it absorbs water from use on ice a ball, force applied to a ball deforms to a disc.


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06-04-2014, 10:00 AM
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Rink Size

There exists an unsupported assumption the post 1875 rink for hockey was in the 200 x 85 foot range, similar to the Victoria Rink in Montréal. This is not supportable - evidenced by the 1896 rules that mandated a minimum size of 112 x 58 feet or roughly 38.2% of the surface area of the Victoria Rink, ibid Donald Guay,p89 sec.2

The drop from 9 players per side in 1875 to 7 by the late 1870s has to take the rink size issue into account.


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06-04-2014, 10:03 AM
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Why?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain Fyffe View Post
The point is that if you have to define a puck in a very particular way (ie, having more particulars than being a disk rather than a ball), it will seem that your definition is being arrived at in order to achieve a particular goal, rather than simply defining how a puck is different than a ball.

If a "puck" has somewhat different dimensions than the standards we're used to, is it not a puck? If not, then what it is?
Fails to answer the "why" a disc, puck, or bung was used instead of a ball.

Geometric définitions suffice for the distinction between a ball and a non ball.

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06-04-2014, 10:50 AM
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4. The sticks. Are you kidding? Have a look at pictures from Montreal hockey's early years.
Are you talking about the sticks imported from Nova Scotia?

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