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History of Ice Hockey
The origin of ice hockey is obscure. Historians generally agree that it was first played in eastern Canada in either Halifax, Montreal, or Kingston.
Nineteenth 19th century games as bandy (field hockey), hurley, and shinny are believed to be the forerunners of ice hockey. While no conclusive proof exists that any of these games led directly to ice hockey, bandy and present-day ice hockey have some rules in common. There is even a record of a bandy match on ice that was played on the West River near Willing-ham, England, in the 1820's. Early manuscripts, letters, and even pucks and sticks have been found that prove ice hockey was played in Canada in the 1850's by British soldiers garrisoned there.
The first organization to administer and develop the sport was the Ontario Hockey Association, which was founded Nov. 27, 1890, and is still functioning. In 1893 hockey was introduced into the United States at Yale and Johns Hopkins universities. In the same year the Stanley Cup was first presented. The recipient was the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association, which won the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada title. It was presented by Lord Stanley of Preston, the Governor General of Canada frpm 1888 to 1893, who donated the cup to amateur hockey in Canada.
Professional players began to enter ice hockey shortly after the Stanley Cup was donated, and through the rest of the 1890's until 1910, teams that were theoretically strictly amateur often had as many as four professional players in their lineups. In 1909 the National Hockey Association (NHA) was founded. It was a completely professional organization and the forerunner of today's National Hockey League (NHL). A year later the association took possession of the Stanley Cup. Since that time the cup has ceased to be an amateur trophy and has become the symbol of supremacy in professional ice hockey. From 1914 through 1916, champions of the Pacific Coast League (PCL), founded in 1911, met the NHA winners. From 1917, the year the NHL was formed, until 1927, the PCL and NHL champions met for the Stanley Cup. In 1927 the NHL gained full possession of the cup.
The first U.S. team to win the Stanley Cup was the Seattle Metropolitans, who defeated the Montreal Ca-nadiens in 1917. In the next ten years no U.S. team won it, but from 1927 to the present, U.S. teams have won the cup many times.
The first official league game of ice hockey on record in the United States was played by the St. Nicholas Skating Club and the Brooklyn Skating Club in New York's St. Nicholas Rink on Dec. 15, 1896. St. Nick's won, 15-0. Two other teams from New York were also members of the league, which was known as the Amateur Hockey League.
The names of the governing bodies of amateur hockey in the United States went through a period of change until, in 1937, the Amateur Hockey Association (AHA) of the United States, the current ruling body, was formed. In 1947 the AHA was elected to membership in the Ligue Internationale de Hockey sur Glace (International Ice Hockey Federation).
Ice hockey has been included in the Winter Olympics since 1920. Until the Soviet Union's upset victory in the 1956 Olympic games, Canada had lost the title only once, in 1936, when Great Britain won the title.