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ARCHIVED - Backcheck: Hockey for Kids

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History of Hockey

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Community Hockey

Photograph of boys choosing sides for hockey on Sarnia Bay, [Ont.], December 29, 1908

Boys choosing sides for hockey on Sarnia Bay, [Ont.], December 29, 1908
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In days gone by, hockey players played on frozen ponds and lakes or on outdoor rinks in backyards or neighbourhood parks. Often their only equipment was a hand-me-down pair of skates, a hockey stick so worn it was more tape than wood, hockey socks knit by somebody's mother and a frozen horse dropping for a puck. The players may not have had the hockey equipment that we know today, but they had something just as important -- a love of the game. As they gathered at their local rink, in communities all across Canada, their thought was on one thing: HOCKEY!

From small town rinks to big city arenas, the local rink was where you'd find the heart and soul of the sport. There were community pick-up games and there were team games. There were kids' teams, junior teams, company teams, town teams, even prisoners' teams! These group photos and action scenes from earlier times say something about being a hockey player. Look carefully and you'll see the complete confidence of the 1897 Orillia Seven and the solemn dignity of the 1920 Asahi Athletic Club squad. Study the group pictures. Who do you imagine was the best player on each team?

Matches such as this one, at Dawson, Yukon Territory, in 1901, were likely the inspiration for mining entrepreneur Joe Boyle to assemble a hockey team that challenged for the Stanley Cup in 1905.

Hockey game on an outdoor rink surrounded by spectators, Dawson, Yukon, 1900
The Rebels were a loosely organized team that came about casually in 1890 when three sons of Lord Stanley of Preston got together with aides to the Governor General and parliamentary officials.

Ottawa Rebels hockey team, Ottawa, Ontario, March 1894
The Renfrew team defeated Vankleek Hill in 1907 to win the Ottawa Valley Hockey League championship and the Citizen Shield. Goalkeeper Bert Lindsay was the father of future Red Wings star Ted Lindsay.

Renfrew Hockey Team, champions of the Ottawa Valley Hockey League (OVHL), 1907

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