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Hockey Lesson for Kids: History & Facts

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

Hockey is a popular winter sport in many areas. In this lesson, learn how hockey was created, discover the history of the sport, and learn how people today enjoy watching and playing hockey.

Game On!

He shoots...he scores!! If you have ever watched or played a game of hockey, then you know what that means. Ice hockey is a fast-paced sport that involves players wearing ice skates and using a hockey stick to try to get a small rubber object, the puck, into a net. Because of the speed of the game, the action can get quite intense! Hockey has a long history, so let's learn more about how it developed into the popular sport that it is today.

Ancient Origins

The earliest evidence of a similar game can be found in the ancient civilizations of Egypt and China. These games thousands of years ago did not involve ice and most likely were simple sports with balls and sticks.

Over the years, civilization borders spread and people began to move northward to colder areas. There are some paintings from the Netherlands in the 1600s that depict a game that looked a lot like people playing golf on ice.

Many believe that modern hockey developed from an Irish sport called hurling. This was an outdoor game where players use sticks called hurleys. The object of the game is to use the hurleys to guide a ball past two posts of the other team's goal.

Hurling has been played in Ireland for hundreds of years.
hockey history

Once these games were moved to frozen ponds and lakes, the hockey craze was on. The game became extremely popular in England in the 1700s, and this is where the modern version of the sport is believed to have begun. A hockey organization was created in 1876 in England, and this group developed official rules for the sport.

Expansion across the Pond

The popularity of hockey quickly spread across the Atlantic to the cold, icy country of Canada. For a while, the game was played either on a field in warmer weather, or casually on frozen ponds and lakes in the winter.

In 1889, a man named Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley changed hockey forever. He was the Governor General of Canada, and he was fascinated by the sport when he happened to see it at a winter festival. He decided to create his own team and league, and this league would have competitions for a trophy. The trophy was in the shape of a cup, and teams today still compete for what is now called the Stanley Cup.

Some hockey players from 1910.
hockey

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