What Year Was Field Hockey Invented? [Answered!]

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As with all sports, there is no definite answer for this question as it is always based on what year you are talking about. The first mention of ‘field hockey’ is found in a military book published in 1874, but the first record of the sport itself was not found until the late 1800s. The first modern hockey stick was designed in 1899 and the rules of the game were codified in 1908. That makes 1900 the most likely year for hockey‘s invention.

Here is a quick history of the game of hockey.

Records Of Hockey

The first official game of hockey took place on September 23, 1900, in Ottawa, Canada. The Amherst College vs Harvard University hockey game was held at the time when ice hockey was becoming popular in Canada. The first intercollegiate match was played in the United States and featured Yale versus Princeton.

The first international game of hockey was held in September 1901 in Stockholm, Sweden, and the Americans – led by the Harvard team – won the match 5-2. The following year, the first official IIHF tournament was contested between six countries, including the United States. The first IIHF World Championship took place in 1906 and today, the event is an annual competition between teams representing different countries.

The Evolution Of Hockey

In the early days of hockey, it was played on open fields and the only equipment was a hockey stick and a puck. The early 1900s were a golden era for hockey as the game evolved with the times. Teams of six to eight players would take the place of the original four as the game became faster and more fluid. More players played a lead role in the offense as a passing and shooting game became popular. The goals were not enclosed and were simply placed at the corners of the field when the game was finished.

In 1918, the National Hockey Association (NHA) was founded in Canada and adopted the rules and dimensions of the ‘soccer ball’ game. However, unlike soccer, the NHA permitted players to slide tackles and block shots on the goal line. Further changes took place in 1923 when the NHA merged with the rival Canadian National Hockey League to form the NHL. Thus, the history of hockey is connected to this point as the NHL was the original ‘supersport’ in North America.

Other Similar Sports

Many people may know that ice hockey is similar to other sports played on ice such as skating and in-line skating, but there are other sports that are similar to hockey. Let’s take a quick look at some of them.

  • American football – Like American football, hockey is a team sport where the players are allowed to hit one another (unlike certain other football codes).
  • Baseball – Like baseball, hockey is a sport where the players use their hands to hit a ball (unlike the majority of sports played on ice where the ball is hit with a stick).
  • Basketball – Like basketball, hockey is a sport where the players use their hands to throw a ball (unlike the majority of sports played on ice where the ball is simply batted).
  • Football – Like American football, hockey is a team sport where the players are allowed to hit one another (unlike certain other football codes).

When Was Hockey Invented?

The answer to this question is always dependent on what year you are referring to. You are quite right that it was first played in the late 1800s in Great Britain, but it was not until the next century that the game gained popularity in North America. The first records of hockey games were found during this time and it was initially played as a ‘pick-up’ game.

Hockey was initially designed for Canadian soldiers stationed in the British Isles at the time it was being played. The sport was first codified in 1908 and the first inter-collegiate game was held in 1909. That made 1908 the likely year of hockey‘s invention.

At one point or another, nearly everyone has played hockey at some point in their life. The sport is quite popular in most of the Northern and Western hemispheres and even in some of the Southern states. If you have never tried it, give it a go – you will not regret it!

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