History of Ice, Stick, and a Puck – Ice Hockey World Championships 2021

Players skating with such a speed next to each other, fighting for victory. Who on earth came up with the idea to put on skates, meander through the ice and make tiny puck to reach a goal?

Canada is one of the leading countries when it comes to ice hockey, so it will not surprise us that the first recorded ice hockey game took place in 1875 between two teams of McGill University students. Even though the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) recognizes this famous hockey game to be the first game of organized ice hockey, the sport’s history goes further than that.

We can travel as far back as the beginning of recorded history when we think about the “stick-and-ball games” as there’s evidence from the agent Egypt and Greece from such games. Games sharing a very similar basic structure as hockey have been documented from the 14th century from the British Isles, where later on, ice hockey is believed to have developed.

In 1608 Scotland, players moved their stick-and-ball game to ice as what was called “chamiare”. It was the first reported game on ice, but most likely not with skates since they were not introduced to the British Isles until 1660, when the British royal family brought the passion for skating back from the Netherlands. It didn’t take long that a game called “Bandy” was adapted to be played with skates in England, as skating became a popular hobby. 

The term “hockey” has been found in the 1773 book Juvenile Sports and Pastimes, written by Richard Johnson.

And because of the shape of the stick, the French word “hoquet” (shepherd’s staff) seems to be the origin for the term “hockey”.

Coming back closer to our days, the first officially recognized Ice Hockey World Championships was held in 1920 in the Summer Olympics, where Canada beat the USA 27–1.

Now, 101 years later, the nations have been united again to compete for victory after missing the chance to play in 2020 due to COVID19. 2 weeks, 64 games, 16 countries were surely waking up hockey fans with excitement. USA took 6-1 against Germany and ranked third. What might have been Déjà vu for many, Canada and Finland were against each other once again, same as in 2019 final when Finland took gold. This year however, after 3 rounds of excellent play from both of the teams, the game went overtime three against three. 6:26 minutes later, Nick Paul scored 3-2 and Canada won the Ice Hockey World Championships. This gives Canada their 52th medal in the history of World Championships, the most of any nation.

Selina Niemi

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