Hockey History 101: Tracing Hockey back to… Ireland and Scotland?

The Sabres can’t return to the ice soon enough.

Until then, here is our latest installment of hockey history.

If you have ever wondered where and when hockey originated, (and you probably haven’t, but this post should make for at least some wicked at-the-bar-trivia), it was in Nova Scotia, Canada.  Shocker, I know.

Wow. That's a lot of hurlers.

It originated around 1800, when the boys of Canada’s first college, King’s College School, adapted the Irish game of “Hurley” to the ice to invent the new winter game, “Ice Hurley.”

Over a period of decades, Ice Hurley gradually developed into Ice Hockey.

From the Gaelic Athletic Association (I know – it sounds very, very cool, and I want to sign up too):

A hurley stick, and "sliotar," ancestor of the hockey puck.

“‘Hurling’ is believed to be the world’s oldest field game. When the Celts came to Ireland as the last Ice Age was receding, they brought with them a unique culture, their own language, music, script and unique pastimes. One of these pastimes was a game now called hurling.

It features in Irish folklore to illustrate the deeds of heroic mystical figures and it is chronicled as a distinct Irish pastime for at least 2,000 years.”

Hurley sticks often break, usually during scenes like this:

Knee pads are useless if you are going to knee someone.

When they do break, it is called “the clash of the ash!”  (Which also sounds, very, very cool, and cannot be typed without the usage of an exclamation point.  Clash of the ash. Clash of the ash!  See?)

Besides hurley, there are plenty more hockey cousins to introduce you to:

Hurley is very similar to Gaelic football, such as the field and goals, number of players, and much shared terminology. There is a similar game for women – “camogie” (camógaíocht). It shares Gaelic roots with the sport of “shinty” (camanachd) which is played predominantly in Scotland.

Hurling, sliotars, Galeic footy, camogie, shinty, Ireland and Scotland.  I’d say we’ve learned a lot today, and traveled far.

Class dismissed.

Go Sabres.


About scottymcss

Homeschooler. Freelancer.
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