Though developed in Canada in 1875, ice hockey, or hockey, quickly made its way to the United States. Brought to America by Canadian immigrants, Americans learned the art of the game on frozen ponds and lakes in the winter months.
Hockey was first recorded in the U.S. at Yale University and John Hopkins University in 1893. Then, in 1894, the first artificial ice rink was built in Maryland. While hockey is popular among northern states, where winter provides a natural ice rink, the game is played all around the United States in regions with varying climates, thanks to these indoor rinks.
In 1896, the first hockey league was formed in the United States, called the U.S. Amateur Hockey League. This league became a member of the International Ice Hockey Federation in 1904. The Ice Hockey Federation was comprised of five teams from both the U.S. and Canada. While the league only lasted three seasons, it is recorded as the first professional ice hockey league that the United States was a part of.
In 1911, the Pacific Coast Hockey Association was formed in Canada. This league created new rules and designs for the game. These changes have played a vital role in the way hockey is played today. Some innovations include the blue lines under the ice to divide the ice into three sections, forward passing in the neutral zone, goaltenders being allowed to fall and slide on the ice to prevent the opposing team from scoring, and three periods of 20 minutes.
The National Hockey League or NHL is the major professional hockey league in North America with 24 U.S. based teams and 7 Canadian teams. These teams compete for the Stanley Cup, the oldest trophy in North American sports. The first U.S. team to join the NHL was the Boston Bruins. Then, the New York Rangers, Chicago Black Hawks, and Detroit Cougars (now called Red Wings) joined the league.
Hockey is a game of pure passion and incredible skill. From the strategy of the game to the athleticism required to balance on ice skates while maneuvering around the rink with a hockey stick and a small puck, this game is filled with intensity and adrenaline.