HOCKEY! Pond Hockey! It surely is one of our great Canadian national sports! How did it come about? Well; it all started in Europe as a simple stick ball game played on outdoor fields. It soon evolved into ice hockey when this side of the pond became populated. In our early years; our country had mainly a rural population and the people needed to have recreational games all winter long. We had ice on our frozen waterways everywhere and we had skates! Pond Hockey was soon developed from the game of stick ball. It is said that this modern game of Hockey had origins in Windsor, Nova Scotia; around 1810, when the English military were stationed there. This could be but I am sure variations of the game were being played over the years in many areas. Never the less the good ol’ game of hockey became a popular sport!
Once the colder temperatures set in and the ice was thick enough; people everywhere gathered on the frozen patches to play this game. Teams were picked from whoever showed up at the time. All you needed was markers for a goal line, a stick, a block of wood, a pair of skates, some buddies and a smooth patch of ice! The objective was to just score and the only rule was for one team to score more than the other. Now what’s better than playing a game of pick up hockey; on a frozen pond, with yer buddies! (Pucks were only invented in the late 1800’s so a ball or a block of wood was used instead.) They would play from morning ’til night with players coming and going as the day went on. There was no real coaching and yer skills were developed by trying to hold onto that block of wood, passing it to a teammate and trying to make a great score!
Pond hockey really thrived until about the mid 1900’s when the population started a major shift to the cities. Ice hockey; as we know it, became a more organized sport in the late 1800’s. Teams were then formed by local sporting clubs, YMCA’s and Minor Hockey soon evolved. As a matter of fact; the NHL recruited some of the greatest hockey players of our time, that grew up playing pond hockey. It’s here that they really honed their skills. All for the love of the game!
Pick Up Hockey
Even today; somewhere out there during the winter months, there is a game of Pond Hockey going on. There is even an organized tournament for Pond Hockey lovers at the annual World Pond Hockey Championship in Plaster Rock, N.B. There is truely something special about playing Hockey outside on a frozen patch of ice; the way it was originated. Cold! Yes its cold! Your toes, your hands and your face are frozen but pay no mind. Equipment! Who needs it! Right! You call out; “no liftin'” after you get that puck in the shins! All in all it’s just good ol’ fun. Man, does it get any better!