Pastimes of Yesteryear, 1867-1896
1930-1940, 20th century
Gift of Mr. Robert G. H. Baxter
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Sweater (5)
Keys to History
For many years, especially around 1850, skating was the "in" sport. Then it was hockey's turn. Hockey came into being in the 1870s when members of the Montreal Football Club, looking for a game to play in winter, developed hockey. Within a very short time, hockey games were being played on rinks of a set dimension and following precise rules. Although - unlike some other sports - the game required specific physical skills, hockey quickly became very popular, not only among the players but also among spectators. In Francophone communities, hockey soon outstripped all other sports in terms of popularity, and it was from those communities that the first professional hockey players were recruited in the early years of the game.
This example of the famous hockey sweater of the Montreal Canadiens, a club founded in 1909, dates from the 1930s.
The game of hockey as we now know it originated in a game played on indoor skating rinks, not outdoor rinks. The world's first game of hockey was played in Montreal at the Victoria Skating Rink, on March 3, 1875.
By 1896, the Montreal daily newspaper La Presse was calling hockey Canada's national sport. That was one reason for the growing popularity of hockey, in particular among French Canadians.
Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley (1841-1908), the governor general of Canada, created the Stanley Cup Trophy in 1893 to be given to the winner of the nation's most important hockey tournament.