World federation weighs in on hockey's origins

International Ice Hockey Federation rules that Montreal is the birthplace of the sport, with first game played in 1875

The brouhaha over hockey's birthplace went into overtime Friday, as the International Ice Hockey Federation took sides.

The organization picked Montreal over other Canadian communities including Kingston, Ont. and the spot near Windsor, N.S. where many Nova Scotians feel the first game was played.

In June, the Society for International Hockey Research released an 18-page report concluding that the first match was played at the Victoria Skating Rink in downtown Montreal on March 3, 1875.

On Friday, the federation confirmed that it has accepted the findings. It wants to put a plaque or some other historical marker on the site which is now a four-storey parking garage at the corner of Stanley and Drummond streets.

Although sports that resembled hockey may have been played in other places before 1875, the first actual game with a puck, nets and a specific set of rules was in Montreal, according to the federation.

Diehard Montreal hockey fans celebrated Friday's announcement, and called for the old Victoria Rink to be rebuilt and turned into the permanent home of the Stanley Cup trophy.