March 3, 1875 – Montreal

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Multiple Canadian provinces have claimed to be the birthplace of modern ice hockey. Quebec (notably Montreal), Ontario, Nova Scotia and the Northwest Territories have all provided varying degrees of proof to back these claims. Despite this, most historians agree that the game of hockey as we know it today was first developed in Montreal in 1875.

There are some historians that cite England as the birthplace of hockey but we wouldn’t have today’s game of hockey if it wasn’t for a specific game held at the Victoria Rink in Montreal, Quebec, on March 3, 1875. This game created the ripples in the sports community that eventually spread like waves throughout the sports world. The notice that was published in the Montreal Gazette on March 3, for the game that night, assured the public that their safety was in mind because they wouldn’t be using a ball. Instead, they were to use a flat, circular piece of wood that prevented it from leaving the ice. For all accounts, the first indoor hockey game was a success and the spectators were satisfied with the evening’s entertainment, despite some claims to the rough nature of the play.

Article from the March 4, 1875, edition of the Montreal Gazette highlighting the previous night's hockey game.
The March 4, 1875, edition of the Montreal Gazette included a recap of the first hockey game in the history of the sport.

A name on the roster that night stands out now more than most others: James George Alwyn Creighton of Nova Scotia. One of his teammates stated that James Creighton was the brains behind this new version of hockey and that he drafted the rules. Creighton and his teammates continued to work on the rules for the next several years as they embraced elements from rugby, lacrosse and field hockey. The first list of rules to appear in print was in the Montreal Gazette on February 27, 1877. One interesting rule from this list stated that no forward passes were allowed, essentially following rugby rules.

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