What is the History of Ice Hockey’s Equipment and Culture?

31 Jan 2021 | eurohockey.com

Ice hockey is a popular game, which is slowly gaining popularity. Read on to know more about this sports and it’s history.


History of Ice Hockey’s Equipment and Culture : Learn more

Ice hockey is a fast, fluid, and thrilling team sport with a history of almost 200 years. The game originated in Canada in the early 19th century and was developed from “stick-and-ball” games, which were played in the UK in the 17th century. Read on to know more about the history of this sport and its present popularity.

The first recognized ice hockey game took place in Montreal’s Victoria Skating Rink in 1875 between McGill University students. After this, soon, hockey became the Canadian national sport and became quite popular. In the 1900s, the game spread to Europe, and in the 1920s Antwerp Summer Games included ice hockey. Predictably, Canada conquered the first tournaments. Nevertheless, later, the Soviet Union and the USA took over and had many victories in the game.

As the sport began to pick up, NHL (National Hockey League) was founded on November 26, 1917, which is a professional ice hockey league in North America. The league comprises 31 teams, 24 of which are in the United States and 7 in Canada.

Hockey sticks

Initially, hockey sticks were made from a single piece of wood, however, in the 1940s, multiple layers of wood were used to make these hockey sticks. This ensured that the sticks were lighter and much more flexible. Thus, the materials and techniques used to make these have changed with time. However, there has not been much change in the basic shape of the iconic ice hockey sticks.

The 1950s saw fiberglass being added to the blade, and in 1970, fiberglass was added to the shaft. The 1980s saw Aluminum replace fiberglass in hockey sticks as it was much more durable however much heavier.

In the 1990s, composite shafts were used to play hockey, and by the 2000s players had started using hockey sticks made from a single piece of composite material. Thus, sticks were lighter and more durable. In the present times, all professional players use the composite stick.

The puck

It was only later that the puck became a part of ice hockey, as for the initial games, a ball was used. As it was extremely hard to control the ball on ice, a flat, square puck was developed in the 1870s. However, after a few years, this square puck was changed to a puck made of rubber, which was round in shape. However, the problem with this material was that the puck bounced a little too much on the ice. This led to the use of a vulcanized puck, which was frozen to neutralize the natural bounce of rubber.

Ice Skates

The first version of ice skates was developed from the bone in 3000 BC. However, these skates required players to use a stick to move on the ice. After that, in the 15th century metal blades were used in skates, which allowed players to move on their own by pushing the feet.

The 1900s saw the introduction of the modern ice skates, which were modified for particular sports. The ice hockey skates are made of light plastic, leather, and foam padding, which provides further protection.

Protective Gear

Hockey helmets were made compulsory in the NHL in the 1979 – 1980 season. However, other types of protective gear, like gloves and shin guards were used since the 1880s. At present, nylon and padded materials are used in protective gear, which is not only safe for the players but others as well.


The hockey jersey was initially made from warm wool to protect players from the cold. The designs were simple, and there was not much branding. Typically, the teams would buy jerseys, and then put their number to the back, with a logo at the front.

However, things changed with the introduction of television, and NHL regulations.

Earlier only the two countries of Canada and the United States showed interest in the sport of ice hockey. However, with time the sport has gained popularity, and many countries having suitable environments for the game have engaged themselves with this sport. 


Whether it is about the equipment or culture of ice hockey; it must be noted that the game has changed a lot and will keep on developing. The growing popularity of sports ensures that shortly many other countries will get involved with these sports. This popularity of the game has also resulted in sports betting in the game. 

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