First Organized Indoor Ice Hockey Game

March 3, 2012 by staff 

First Organized Indoor Ice Hockey Game, On March 3, 1875, the first recorded indoor ice hockey game took place at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal, Canada. Organized by James Creighton, who also captained one of the teams, the game was between two nine-member teams, using a wooden ‘puck’. Members used skates and sticks used for outdoor hockey and shinny games in Nova Scotia, where Creighton was born and raised.

The Victoria Skating Rink was a long (252 feet (77 m) x 113 feet (34 m)), two-story brick edifice with a 52 feet (16 m)-high pitched roof supported from within by curving wooden trusses, which arched over the entire width of the structure. Tall, round-arched windows punctuated its length and illuminated its interior, while evening skating was made possible by 500 gas-jet lighting fixtures set in coloured glass globes. At a later date, the lighting was converted to electric, making the building the first in Canada to be electrified.

The ice surface measured 204 feet (62 m) by 80 feet (24 m), dimensions very similar to today’s National Hockey League (NHL) ice rinks. It was surrounded by a 10 feet (3.0 m)-wide platform, or promenade, which was elevated approximately 1 foot (30 cm) above the ice surface and upon which spectators could stand or skaters could rest. Later, a gallery was added with a royal box for visiting dignitaries.

At the time of its construction, the Rink’s location at 49 Drummond Street (now renumbered to 1187), placed it in the centre of the English community in Montreal, in the vicinity of McGill University. The area is known today as the “Square Mile”, the area of central Montreal populated then by rich English industrialists and the budding centre of commerce in Canada. One block east was Dominion Square, where annual outdoor winter sporting events were held and later the Montreal Winter Carnival was held. Across the street to the east, the Windsor Hotel, a long-time centre of social life and meeting place of several sports organizations, was built in 1875. Nearby is old Windsor Station, which was the eastern terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway, built in 1889.

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