The NHL is in their regular summer lay-off, and not a lot happens in the doldrums of summer. Here we will look at 20 fun and random facts about hockey since the sport was first invented through today. If you are a fan of sports facts, check out my others at Random Sports Facts.
Facts about Hockey
1) No one can definitively say they know for certain when hockey was invented. Some claim it could go back to the 1700’s. While that date has hardly been etched in stone, we can look at the first indoor hockey game that was ever organized. This dates back to the 1800’s — March 3rd, 1875 to be exact. The location was in Montreal at the Victoria Skating Rink. Not only was this rink used for the first indoor hockey game, it was also the location of the first Stanley Cup playoff games in 1894.
2) The Stanley Cup has been around longer then the NHL. The Stanley Cup was created in 1893, while the NHL was established in 1917 — quick math says that’s a 24-year difference. The Stanley Cup was named after Canadian Governor General Lord Stanley of Preston, who donated the trophy. The trophy at the time was only seven inches high.
3) Since the year 1914, the Stanley Cup has been awarded every single year except for two times. One time was during a Spanish Flu pandemic in 1919 and the more recent one occurred in 2005 during the NHL lockout.
4) The first NHL goal ever recorded was on December 19th, 1917. The goal came from Dave Ritchie of the Montreal Wanderers in a game against the Toronto Arenas.
5) Now, about the ice cleaning machine — that zamboni that goes around the ice several times each game to make sure players have a clean smooth piece of ice? That was invented in 1949 by Frank Zamboni.
6) Out of all the names on the Stanley Cup over the years, there are only 12 of them who are women. The first woman was Marguerite Norris, the president of the Detroit Red Wings in 1954-55 when they won. All the women are owners or team executives.
7) Manon Rhéaume (goaltender) was the first and only female hockey player to lace up her skates in the NHL. She tried out for the Tampa Bay Lightning and was signed as a free agent. Her first game she played was an exhibition game against the St. Louis Blues. She only played one period and let in 2 goals. Her only other NHL game, was a second exhibition game against the Boston Bruins.
8) The first million dollar contract was signed by Bobby Orr in 1971. The Boston Bruins signed him to a five-year deal, $200 000 per year.
9) The biggest hockey prank happened in 1974 when the Buffalo Sabres GM “drafted” a player from Japan who never existed, nor did the team he supposedly played for exist. This was GM Punch Imlach, who released a statement to the media and told the NHL officials he drafted Taro Tsujimoto of the Tokyo Kitanas.
10) The hockey puck. I cannot get through a full article about hockey unless we see a fact or two about the hard rubber black piece that is commonly seen in the back of a frustrated goalie’s net. The puck has a diameter of three inches, weighs six ounces, and they are frozen before each game to keep the pucks from bouncing on the ice and out of play.
11) How many points do you see an average person recording in a single game? 1… 2… maybe 3? Very rare to see anyone go above 1 or 2 per game. Yet, on February 6th, 1976, Darryl Sittler from the Toronto Maple Leafs helped defeat the Boston Bruins racking up 10 points in a single game. He scored 5 goals and had 5 assists.
12) Speaking about racking up points, the first player to ever post more than 100 points in an NHL season was Phil Esposito (Boston Bruins) back in 1969. In 74 games, he had 49 goals and 77 assists, recording 126 points.
13) 1914 marked another change within the hockey rules. Before 1914 referees had to place a puck on the ice between both centres’ sticks. This resulted in many cuts, bruises, fractures and breaks. The rule was passed in 1914 that the referee could drop the puck between the two sticks so they could avoid those injuries.
14) The shortest player who has played in the NHL was Roy Woters who measured 5 feet, 3 inches tall. He served as goaltender throughout 1925-1937. He played 484 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Americans and Montreal Canadiens.
15) The tallest player in the NHL is defenseman Zdeno Chara. Chara was drafted by the New York Islanders in 1996. He currently plays for the Boston Bruins, winning a Stanley cup with them in 2011. He has played over 1000 games and has about 500 career points. Chara measures 6 feet, 9 inches and in skates is close to 7 feet tall.
16) Remember the Disney movie The Mighty Ducks? The Anaheim Ducks are named after this movie. They used to be known as the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim as the team was founded in 1993 by the Walt Disney Company. The team was named after the movie which came out the year before in 1992. Eventually the franchise was sold, and before the 2006-2007 season, the team switched their name to the Anaheim Ducks.
17) Some teams have multiple Stanley Cups, and leading the way is the Montreal Canadiens with 24. But there are 11 active teams who have yet to win a cup: the Buffalo Sabres, Columbus Blue Jackets, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, Florida Panthers, Ottawa Senators (expansion era), Arizona Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals, Vancouver Canucks and Winnipeg Jets.
Just five years ago, the LA Kings were also on the list. But in the past three years the team’s won 2 Stanley Cups. They won the cup in 2012 and 2014.
18) Anyone remember Kris Draper, better known as the 1 dollar man? He was traded from the Winnipeg Jets to the Detroit Red Wings for just one dollar. This was a strange deal but Draper ended up playing over 1000 games with the Wings before retiring in 2011. He had 161 goals and 203 assists.
19) During an intense NHL game, it’s imperative that players stay hydrated and full. This is why they eat protein before games and have lots of hydrating liquids with them on the bench and in the dressing room. In a game, the average hockey player can lose between 5-10 pounds, most of which is water.
20) The Buffalo Sabres are the only team to have killed a live animal during a hockey game. In 1974, the team killed a bat during the game.
Hope you all enjoyed some random NHL facts. Stay tuned for my next upcoming article about bizarre hockey incidents.
If you are a fan of sports facts, check out my others at Random Sports Facts.
Main Photo by LAUREL MYERS