5 Fun Facts About Hockey

Whether we like it or not, winter is quickly approaching. The air has a frosty bite, a blanket of snow covers the ground, and we’re in the thick of the NHL hockey season. In honour of Canada’s favourite sport, we have collected 5 interesting facts about the wonderful game of hockey. Read on!

  1. The NHL team to win the most Stanley Cups are the Montreal Canadiens.

    Since the formation of the NHL in 1917, the Montreal Canadiens have won the Cup a whopping total of 23 times - their most recent win was in 1993. The Toronto Maple Leafs come next, with 13 wins (their last win was in 1967!).

    Under the leadership of Coach Joesph “Toe” Blake, the Montreal Canadiens won five straight years from 1956-1960. No team has beat this record yet - though, the New York Rangers came close, with four wins from 1980-83.

    FUN FACT: Toe Blake played on the Sudbury Wolves, helping bring home the 1932 Memorial Cup championship!

 
1960 Stanley Cup champions (Photo:  Eyes on a Dynasty )

1960 Stanley Cup champions (Photo: Eyes on a Dynasty)

 
 
Sudbury Wolves 1932 Memorial Cup dinner. Toe Blake is top row, third from the right (Photo:  Hockey Gods )

Sudbury Wolves 1932 Memorial Cup dinner. Toe Blake is top row, third from the right (Photo: Hockey Gods)

 

2. The first organized indoor hockey game was played in Montreal in 1875

Versions of the game of hockey have been around for centuries, possibly originating in Europe as early as the Middle Ages. In the 19th century, British immigrants and soldiers brought these games to Canada. At the same time, First Nations people of the Maritimes had their own versions of ball games.

Many sources credit Windsor, Nova Scotia as inventing the modern game - according to early writings, King’s College students enjoyed spending their winters playing the game. King’s College, located in Halifax, is Canada’s oldest chartered university. Apparently, students took the Irish game of “Hurley” (a fast moving field game with a stick and ball) and moved it onto ice surfaces.

John O’Toole 1835 painting of a game of hockey (Photo:  Vancouver Sun )

John O’Toole 1835 painting of a game of hockey (Photo: Vancouver Sun)

A King’s College graduate by the name of James Creighton organized the first indoor hockey game on March 3, 1875. The game was played in Montreal, Quebec, at the Victoria Skating Rink. The two teams were made up of nine men, consisting of the skating club members as well as McGill university students. A flat wooden puck was used for the very first time to reduce damage and injuries.

 
1893 game at Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal (Photo:  McCord Museum )

1893 game at Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal (Photo: McCord Museum)

 

3. Wayne Gretzky is the NHL’s all-time highest scorer

Wayne Gretzky was born in 1961 in Branford, Ontario. He played in the NHL from 1979-1999, obtaining one of the best NHL careers the world has ever seen. He was on the Edmonton Oilers for a large portion of his career, leading them to four Stanley Cups (1984, 1985, 1987 and 1988) before being traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988. He briefly played on the St. Louis Blues for the 1996 season, but finished off his career with the New York Rangers for one final year.

 
Gretzky’s second Stanley Cup win. 1985 (Photo:  Sportsnet )

Gretzky’s second Stanley Cup win. 1985 (Photo: Sportsnet)

 

In his NHL career, Gretzky scored 894 goals and 1,963 assists. In 1982, he broke the record for most season points, surpassing 200 points for the first time. In fact, even to this day Gretzky holds the top four slots for season points.

Gretzky has a total of 2,857 points, the highest score by a long shot. The player with the second highest points is Czech Jaromir Jagr at 1,921 (he is considered the most productive European player to have played in the NHL). This means that Gretzky has more assists than any other player has career points. To put things into perspective, the player with the most points in the recent 2017-18 NHL season is 21-year-old Connor McDavid, racking up 108 points in only his third season. However, in Gretzky’s third season, he collected 212. Suffice to say, no one can compare statistically to The Great One.

To see Gretzky’s complete list of achievements, click here.

Jaromir Jagr embracing Wayne Gretzky after his very final game in 1999 (Photo:  Washington Times )

Jaromir Jagr embracing Wayne Gretzky after his very final game in 1999 (Photo: Washington Times)

4. 80% of Canada watched the final men’s hockey game during the 2010 Olympics

The 2010 Winter Olympics were an exciting, unified time for our country. They took place in Vancouver, British Columbia, the first Winter Olympics in Canada since 1988. An average of 26.5 million Canadians turned on their TV to watch at least some part of the final men’s hockey game versus Team USA. That’s nearly 80% of the entire country’s population. About half the population, an average of 16.6 million, watched the game in it’s entirety.

The game also holds the title for the most watched television broadcast in Canadian history. The peak watch number, at 34.8 million, took place during overtime - when, as well all know, Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal.

It was the most-watched hockey game since the 1980 Olympics, when the USA beat Finland (you’ll remember this dramatic and exciting game from the 2004 movie, Miracle).

 
Canada’s men’s hockey team, 2010 Winter Olympics (Photo:  Olympic.ca )

Canada’s men’s hockey team, 2010 Winter Olympics (Photo: Olympic.ca)

 

5. There were 637,000 registered hockey players in Canada in 2017/18

According to Statista.com, about 637,000 people were registered to play hockey in Canada during the 2017/18 season. That is the leading number across the world - the United States only had 562,145 registered, and the Czech Republic come in third with 120,920.

Canada also has the most hockey rinks - roughly 3,300 indoor rinks and 5,000 outdoor rinks. The United States only has 1,535 indoor rinks and 500 outdoor rinks. The difference isn’t too surprising, considering that the frosty Canada winters can easily maintain these rinks all season long.

Canadians playing hockey outdoors (Photo:  The 10 and 3 )

Canadians playing hockey outdoors (Photo: The 10 and 3)

We hope you enjoyed reading about this beloved sport! If you’ve read this far, comment down below what your favourite team is!

Allison SmithComment