Hockey is a fascinating sport that has captured the hearts of millions of fans around the world.
The midwest in particular is a hub for young hockey players, and there’s no better way to get them even more excited about the sport than by sharing some fun and surprising facts.
Whether your kids are already seasoned hockey fans or just starting to explore the game, my list of 100 fun facts about hockey is sure to captivate their attention.
From the origins of the sport to bizarre superstitions and everything in between, there’s something for everyone in this comprehensive list.
Not only will your kids love learning about the sport and its history, but they’ll also have a blast impressing their friends and family with their newfound knowledge.
So lace up your skates, grab your sticks, and get ready to hit the ice with these amazing hockey facts!
- Hockey has been played for over 4,000 years, with the earliest recorded form of the game played in ancient Egypt. Source: History Cooperative
- The puck used in NHL games is frozen before play to prevent bouncing. (Source: NHL.com)
- The original Stanley Cup was only 7 inches tall. The current Cup is over 3 feet tall. Source: (NHL.com)
- The highest-scoring NHL game in history was played in 1920 and ended with a score of 16-3. Source: NHL.com
- The fastest recorded shot in NHL history was taken by Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins in 2012, clocking in at 108.8 miles per hour. Source: NHL.com
- The longest NHL game in history was played between the Detroit Red Wings and the Montreal Maroons in 1936. It lasted 176 minutes and 30 seconds, with Detroit winning 1-0. Source: NHL.com
- The shortest player in NHL history was Roy “Shrimp” Worters, who stood at just 5 feet 3 inches tall. Source: NHL.com
- The first hockey goalies did not wear masks to protect their faces from flying pucks until the mid-1950s. Source: NHL.com
- The first hockey pucks were made of frozen cow dung. This was because the game was originally played outdoors on frozen ponds and lakes, and cow manure was readily available as a material to make pucks.
- Hockey players can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour on the ice. Source: NHL.com
- Before the invention of the curved stick, players used flat paddles to hit the puck. (Source: National Post)
- The first million-dollar contract in the National Hockey League (NHL) was signed by Bobby Orr with the Boston Bruins in 1971. The contract was worth $200,000 per season for five years, making Orr the highest-paid player in NHL history at the time.
- The first player to score a hat trick in an NHL game was Harry “Punch” Broadbent of the Ottawa Senators, who achieved the feat on December 22, 1917, in a game against the Montreal Canadiens. Source: NHL.com
- Wayne Gretzky, considered by many to be the greatest hockey player of all time, holds 61 NHL records including most career goals (894) and most career points (2,857). He is often referred to as “The Great One.” Source: NHL.com
- Gretzky scored his first NHL goal on his first shot during his first game. Source: NHL.com
- Wayne Gretzky’s father, Walter, built him a rink in their backyard when he was just two years old, which helped develop his love and skills for the game. (Source: NHL.com)
- Gretzky scored his first NHL goal against goaltender Glen Hanlon, who was also his childhood hero. (Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia)
- Gretzky is the only player in NHL history to score over 200 points in a single season, which he accomplished four times. (Source: NHL.com)
- Gretzky was the first hockey player to have his own cereal brand, called “ProStars,” which featured his likeness and those of other athletes. (Source: Toronto Star)
- In his first season with the Edmonton Oilers, Gretzky scored 137 points and led the team to their first playoff appearance. (Source: NHL.com)
- Gretzky was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988, and the trade remains one of the most controversial and talked-about moments in NHL history. (Source: CBC)
- Gretzky won four Stanley Cup championships with the Edmonton Oilers and one with the New York Rangers. (Source: NHL.com)
- The earliest known photograph of a hockey game dates back to 1881. Source: NHL.com
- The Stanley Cup has been used as a baptismal font, a cereal bowl, and a dog’s food dish. Source: NHL.com
- In 1979, the Soviet Union’s Red Army team beat the NHL All-Stars in a stunning upset. Source: ESPN
- The NHL’s original six teams were the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, and Chicago Blackhawks. Source: NHL.com
- The Montreal Canadiens have won the most Stanley Cup championships in NHL history, with 24 titles. Source: NHL.com
- In 2002, the Salt Lake City Olympics featured a women’s hockey game in which Kazakhstan defeated Russia 3-1. Source: CBC Sports
- The Stanley Cup has been stolen twice in its history, once in 1970 and again in 2018. Source: NHL.com
- The NHL’s first black player was Willie O’Ree, who debuted with the Boston Bruins in 1958. Source: NHL.com
- The 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, made up of amateur players, beat the heavily favored Soviet team in a game that became known as the “Miracle on Ice.” Source: NHL.com
- The Stanley Cup was originally awarded to the champion of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association. Source: NHL.com
- The NHL’s original rules allowed for a player to substitute his stick for a broken one on the ice, even if it belonged to the opposing team. Source: NHL.com
- The NHL’s first expansion team was the Los Angeles Kings, who joined the league in 1967. Source: NHL.com
- The first NHL game of hockey to be played in Europe was in 1938, when the Detroit Red Wings and the Montreal Canadiens played in Paris. Source: NHL.com
- The Stanley Cup has been dropped, dented, and even thrown into a swimming pool. Source: NHL.com
- Hockey is the only major sport in which a player can legally use his or her body to hit opponents into the boards.
- The Stanley Cup, the trophy awarded to the National Hockey League (NHL) champions each year, is over 100 years old. It was first awarded in 1893 and has been awarded every year since, except for in 1919 due to the Spanish Flu outbreak. Source: NHL.com
- Hockey pucks used in the NHL are frozen before games to help them slide better on the ice. Source: NHL.com
- The first indoor hockey game was played in Montreal, Canada, on March 3, 1875 at the Victoria Skating Rink. Source: Canadian Museum of History
- A “hat trick” is when a player scores three goals in a single game. The term originated in the 1800s when fans would throw their hats onto the ice to celebrate a player’s accomplishment. Source: NHL.com
- Hockey players often have superstitions, such as not shaving during playoffs or wearing the same socks for every game. Source: NHL.com
- Wayne Gretzky used to put baby powder on his hockey stick before games for good luck.
- Patrick Roy, a former NHL goaltender, would talk to the goalposts during games.
- Jaromir Jagr, a Czech hockey player, wears the same black and gold elbow pads that he has had since he was 18 years old.
- Brent Burns, a defenseman for the San Jose Sharks, wears a lucky t-shirt under his jersey during every game.
- Sidney Crosby, a center for the Pittsburgh Penguins, always puts his left skate on first before games.
- Former NHL player Theo Fleury used to have a lucky loonie (a Canadian dollar coin) that he kept in his skate for good luck.
- Erik Karlsson, a defenseman for the San Jose Sharks, always puts his equipment on in the same order before games.
- Alex Ovechkin, a left winger for the Washington Capitals, always kisses his stick before games.
- Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk used to wear the same underwear for every game.
- Former NHL player Mike Bossy would always eat vanilla ice cream before games for good luck.
- The women’s ice hockey team from the United States won the gold medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics, while the men’s team did not medal. Source: Olympic.org
- In addition to NHL teams, there are also professional hockey leagues in other countries, including Russia, Sweden, and Finland. Source: International Ice Hockey Federation
- The official size of an NHL rink is 200 feet long and 85 feet wide. Source: NHL.com
- The first women’s ice hockey game was played in 1892 in Ottawa, Canada. Source: International Ice Hockey Federation
- The tallest player in NHL history was Zdeno Chara, who stands at 6 feet 9 inches tall. Source: NHL.com
- Hockey players often have nicknames, such as “The Great One” for Wayne Gretzky or “Mr. Hockey” for Gordie Howe. Source: NHL.com
- The fastest hat trick in NHL history was scored in just 21 seconds by Bill Mosienko in 1952. Source: NHL.com
- The first NHL game to be played outdoors was in 2003, between the Edmonton Oilers and the Montreal Canadiens. Source: NHL.com
- The Buffalo Sabres and the Vancouver Canucks played the first NHL game in Europe in 1976. Source: NHL.com
- The Stanley Cup has its own “keeper,” whose job is to travel with the trophy and ensure its safety. Source: NHL.com
- Hockey games can be played on different types of surfaces, including natural ice, artificial ice, and inline skates. Source: USA Hockey
- The Anaheim Ducks were originally named the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, after the Disney movie “The Mighty Ducks.” Source: NHL.com
- The Toronto Maple Leafs were originally named the Toronto Arenas when they joined the NHL in 1917. Source: NHL.com
- The NHL has had several lockouts in its history, with the most recent one occurring in 2012-2013. Source: NHL.com
- Hockey players often have unique pre-game rituals, such as listening to music, stretching, or eating a specific meal. Source: NHL.com
- The first NHL All-Star Game was played in 1947 and featured a team of All-Stars from the league’s four teams at the time. Source: NHL.com
- The NHL awards several individual trophies each season, including the Hart Trophy for the league’s most valuable player and the Vezina Trophy for the best goaltender. Source: NHL.com
- Hockey games can end in a tie if neither team scores during overtime. Source: NHL.com
- The modern version of ice hockey was developed in Montreal, Canada, in the late 1800s. Source: NHL.com
- The first organized indoor hockey game was played in Montreal in 1875. Source: Hockey Hall of Fame
- The Stanley Cup, the oldest trophy in professional sports, was first awarded in 1893. Source: NHL.com
- The first women’s hockey game was played in Ottawa, Canada, in 1892. Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia
- The first international hockey game was played between Canada and the United States in 1886. Source: The Canadian Encyclopedia
- The first artificial ice rink was built in London, England, in 1844. Source: The Guardian
- The first professional hockey league was the International Professional Hockey League, which operated from 1904 to 1907. Source: NHL.com
- The NHL was formed in 1917, with four Canadian teams and four American teams. Source: NHL.com
- The first Winter Olympics to feature ice hockey was the 1920 Summer Olympics held in Antwerp, Belgium. Source: Olympic.org
- Lord Stanley of Preston, also known as Frederick Arthur Stanley, was a British politician and Governor General of Canada from 1888 to 1893. He is best known for donating the Stanley Cup, which is awarded annually to the champion of the National Hockey League (NHL).
- The Stanley Cup has traveled to several unique places, including the top of Mount Everest and the bottom of a swimming pool.
- The first hockey sticks were made from wood, typically ash or hickory. Source: Pure Hockey
- Composite sticks made from materials such as carbon fiber and fiberglass were first introduced in the 1990s. Source: USA Hockey Magazine
- The first curved blade on a hockey stick was used by Bobby Hull in the 1960s. Source: NHL.com
- Composite sticks are more expensive than wood sticks, with some high-end models costing over $300. Source: Pure Hockey
- Left-handed sticks are more common than right-handed sticks, with approximately 60% of players shooting left-handed. Source: The Hockey News
- The shape and size of hockey sticks are regulated by the NHL, with a maximum length of 63 inches and a maximum width of 3 inches. Source: NHL Rulebook
- The flex of a hockey stick, or the degree to which it bends when force is applied, is measured in pounds. Source: Bauer Hockey
- Hockey sticks are designed to be replaced frequently, with many professional players using a new stick every game or even every period. Source: The Hockey News
- Wooden sticks can break more easily than composite sticks, but they are often preferred by some players for their feel and control. Source: Hockey Players Club
- Some companies offer custom-made hockey sticks tailored to a player’s specific preferences and playing style. Source: CCM Hockey
- Bobby Orr holds the record for the most points by a defenseman in a single season, with 139 points in the 1970-71 season.
- Frank Zamboni was an American inventor and businessman who is best known for inventing the Zamboni ice resurfacer machine. He was born on January 16, 1901, in Eureka, Utah, and grew up in California.
- Manon Rheaume is a former Canadian ice hockey goaltender who is best known for being the first woman to play in a National Hockey League (NHL) exhibition game. She was born on February 24, 1972, in Lac Beauport, Quebec, Canada.
- Nova Scotia is considered by many to be the birthplace of ice hockey, as the sport has deep roots in the region and was played there long before it became popular in other parts of the world.
- The Tampa Bay Lightning became the first NHL team to lift the Stanley Cup in an empty arena during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- During his career, Darryl Sittler was a seven-time NHL All-Star and scored over 1,100 points in 1,096 games. He also set several NHL records, including the most points in a single game (10) and the most assists in a single game (7). Sittler was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989.(Source: Hockey Hall of Fame)
- Field hockey is one of the oldest sports in the world, with evidence of the game dating back to ancient civilizations such as the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians. Source: International Hockey Federation (FIH)
- The first international field hockey match was played between England and Ireland in 1895. Source: FIH
- The highest governing body of field hockey is the International Hockey Federation (FIH), which was founded in 1924. Source: FIH
- Field hockey was included in the Olympic Games for men in 1908 and for women in 1980. Source: International Olympic Committee (IOC)
- Field hockey is played on a rectangular field, which is 100 yards long and 60 yards wide. Source: USA Field Hockey
- Field hockey is the third most popular team sport in the world, with over 3 million players worldwide. Source: World Atlas
- Roller hockey was actually an Olympic sport for a brief period of time. Roller hockey was a demonstration sport at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, and was also an official sport at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville.
Whether your kids are already avid hockey fans or just starting to explore the game, I hope these interesting facts have helped them appreciate the sport even more.
By learning about the game’s rich history and the unique quirks of its players and teams, we can all gain a deeper appreciation for the sport and its enduring popularity.
And, as always: Go, Admirals!
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