As Canadians, we love our hockey. As Canada’s official winter sport, hockey is more than just a game; it is our beloved country’s clichéd religion. As a hockey player and fan, I would dare to say that we Canadians claim the game as if we invented it. In reality, hockey is as multicultural as our great northern motherland. There are many countries, cultures and civilizations that have influenced our claimed game of hockey into the jeux we know today. After researching the history of hockey, I found out that “our game” is an amalgamation of many stick and ball games that have been play for thousands and thousands of years.
In the Middles Ages, the Lower Countries (Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) played a game on ice called “colf” or “kolf”. Players would try to hit wooden or rubber balls with a curved wooden bat with the objective of breaking the plane between two designated poles. With this said, Vikings in Scandinavian Countries played a similar game called “knattleikr”, which used similar wooden accoutrement. In addition, the First Nation Mi’kmaq people of Nova Scotia played other stick and ball games like “tooadijik” and “dehuntshigwa’es”, both based on the game we know today as lacrosse. With all these influences percolating, the 19th century brought an early version of modern day hockey called “shinney” to the ice of our mighty St-Lawrence River. The rest is hockey history!
In our current society, we have also made adaptations to the very game we now call hockey. There is field hockey, roller hockey, ball hockey, road hockey, sledge hockey, wheelchair hockey, mini-stick hockey, table hockey and even underwater scuba hockey. The word hockey simply comes from the word “hook”, referring to the curved sticks that were used to play these games.
Further research indicates that per capita, Canada has the most indoor hockey rinks than any other country in the world, with nearly 2500 arenas in a country of approximately 33 million people. The question I beg to ask now is….Why don’t we have cultural centres in every town as we do hockey arenas? In my opinion, arts and culture is just as important as sports, just as balance in the physical state is just as important as balance in the mental state.
“The good old hockey game is the best game you can name;”—-Stomping Tom Connors
“An arena of music, arts and culture in every city, town and village”—-Chuck Leclair
E-mail comments and musical quotes to firstname.lastname@example.org or add him to Facebook to follow his events and shows dates.
Chuck Leclair is a local musician, songwriter, music promoter/activist and small business owner. He also musically donates his time to the CMHA and the Agape Center and is a Board of Director/Treasurer for our beloved Cornwall & the Counties Arts and Culture Council.
My buddy Blaine’s hockey game………HOCKEY, HOCKEY, HOCKEY!
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