The origin and heritage of the modern game of hockey lack full documentation but the game dates back in the early civilization. The historical records of the game suggest that the hockey sport started in ancient Egypt approximately 4000 years back. Similarly, other chronological records posit that the amusement started in Ethiopia around 1000 DC. Moreover, there is numerous evidence that put forward the emergence of hockey in countries such as Greek, India, and South Africa before the beginning of the 15th century. In line with this, this paper explains the history of hockey sport highlighting Canada as a specific country where the game is more famous.
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To begin with, Hockey sport refers to a game-like, which involves sticks, balls among other equipment. By definition, the word “hockey” originates from a French expression ‘hoquet’ which means ‘shepherds crook’. Historically, some of the equipment used in the early days of this sport such as ‘paganica’ (Romans), ‘hurling’ (Irish), and ‘shinty’ (Scots) satisfy the above definition. However, the modern game of hockey evolved in the 18th century around schools in England. In particular, the birth of modern and more sophisticated hockey began at the Teddington Cricket Club. Therefore, this club represents a turning point in the history of hockey because it is where formulations and modifications on dribbling, rules on scoring, passing, and all other modern procedures took place.
It is also important to note that, the Hockey Association formulated further rules upon its formation in 1875 in England. This association administered guidelines that regulated regular tournaments. Subsequently, the first competitive game transpired in a field approximately 200 meters in length with all players chasing after the ball from both ends. Progressively, the game developed into a modern-day style by defining specific positions for players in the field.
This development of the pyramid system in 1889 defined the exact number and positions of players in the field (Pelletier & Houda, 2003). Consequently, this system branded players as either forwards, backs, or goalkeepers, a system that illustrates the current game of hockey. The first active Olympic competition in hockey occurred in London before its subsequent drop from Stockholm Games in 1912. Following several negotiations, the game resurfaced in 1920 at Antwerp before organizers of the Paris Olympic Games omitted the game in 1924 citing a lack of international federation.
Notably, the sport experienced one of its vital steps towards officiating when Paul Leautey called delegates from six countries of the federations in 1924 that lead to the formation of the international governing body for hockey games. For example, this meeting materialized the formation of the International Hockey Federation (FIH). According to Johnstone (2010), the formation of the International Federation of Women’s Hockey Associations (IFWHA) steered widespread women’s hockey game in 1927. Therefore, many people proposed a merger between the two associations to form the FIH in 1982 as the world governing body for hockey. The body consists of associations from continents such as Africa, Asia, Pan America, Europe, and Oceania alongside other 122 nation-wide associations.
Importantly, as Helmer and Owens (2000) posit, the sport has four prestigious tournaments namely: World Cup, Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, and Champions Trophy played internationally. As mentioned further, FIH organizes World Cup tournaments at a four-year interval while the Olympic Games at a two-year interval to separate competition between men and women. Also, the governing body organizes separate Champions Trophy for men and women annually for the top six teams worldwide based on hockey ranking. Hockey is the national sport in Canada as the country celebrates star players the same way the US cherishes its baseball players.
The game of hockey is by nurture the most popular professional and inexpert sport in Canada because of its ice hockey culture. Interestingly, the first players to play in the first professional Hockey team originated from Canada. Taken together, Canada represents a pillar about the heritage of the sport.
Helmer, D. S., & Owens, T. (2000). The history of hockey. New York: PowerKids Press.
Johnstone, R. (2010). Hockey. New York, NY: Weigl Publishers.
Pelletier, J., & Houda, P. (2003). The World Cup of Hockey: A history of hockey’s greatest tournament. Toronto, ON: Warwick Pub.