It was back in 1988 that Windsor, about an hour’s drive north of Halifax, proclaimed itself the birthplace of hockey in Canada. The excuse was a history of King’s College that stated students played hockey on Windsor’s Long Pond in the early 19th century. Ten years later, the National Hockey League encyclopedia carried an essay that said, "Canada’s official winter sport" (Canada’s official summer sport is lacrosse) "got its start in Windsor."
This did not go down well in Halifax, or Montreal, or Kingston, cities that all make claims on being hockey’s birthplace. It also didn’t go down well in Holland, England and Ireland, which also claim to be hockey’s birthplace.
It is generally accepted that Scottish and Irish immigrants played a form of hockey in Canada in the 1850s. Soldiers of the British Army also played a form of hockey while stationed at the garrison in Halifax about the same time. English-Canadians trace the birthplace of hockey to Kingston, Ontario, where members of the Royal Canadian Rifles played it. French-Canadians insist it began in Montreal, at McGill University. There are good arguments that Micmac aboriginals of Nova Scotia played hockey in the mid- or early-19th century.
The French-Canadians say the word “hockey” comes from the French word “hoquet,” which means “shepherd’s crook.”