Hockey evolves from a primitive stick and ball game played in the shadows of the ancient pyramids to a more familiar -- though frantic -- pastime on the ponds of Europe, Great Britain and then Nova Scotia. Equipment for the game makes giant strides in 1866 when the Starr Manufacturing Co. of Dartmouth, N.S., introduces a cutting-edge line of skates and offers wooden sticks carved by Mi'kmaq artisans.
Renaissance man and Halifax resident James Creighton introduces hockey to Canada's most important city when he gathers his McGill University rugby mates, and some intrigued spectators, at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal for the first indoor match. The chaotic contest is more reminiscent of rugby (no forward passing, lots of bodychecking) but the seeds of modern hockey are planted.
Hockey hits the national stage when it appears at the famous Montreal Winter Carnival and newspaper accounts introduce the sport to an audience beyond the wealthy English gentleman who play it. An intrigued Governor General falls in love with the game, and in 1892 the hockey-mad children of Lord Stanley of Preston convince their father to purchase a silver cup to present annually to the best team in the Dominion of Canada.
Spurred by the efforts of Isobel Stanley -- who plays in the first women's match -- and her brothers -- who join Creighton on a barnstorming squad to spread the gospel of the game -- hockey becomes a true people's pursuit, embraced by women, students and working men across Canada.
The game spreads from its eastern epicentre as the Winnipeg Victorias, led by champion sportsman Dan Bain, become the first team from outside Montreal to win the Stanley Cup. Details of the historic feat reach Winnipeg via telegraph as hockey play-by-play is born.
The big-dreaming spirit of the Gold Rush propels the underdog Dawson City Nuggets on one of the strangest road trips in hockey history to challenge for Lord Stanley's chalice. Waiting at the end of the grueling 4000-mile journey from the Yukon to Ottawa are the big, bad Silver Seven, led by legendary scorer "One-eyed" Frank McGee. Hockey's original underdog story ends in less than fairy-tale fashion as Ottawa crushes overmatched Dawson City, thanks to an eye-popping 14-goal game by McGee.
As the turn of the century approaches and fans flock to see the stars of an increasingly violent sport, hockey becomes big business. Tired of being left in the cold financially by amateur club owners, players start to eye a piece of the action.
Victoria Skating Rink, Library and Archives Canada
Dawson City Nuggets, Yukon Archives
Frank McGee , Library and Archives Canada