In the ancient hockey game, a puck was once just a frozen piece of rubber! Players would knock it around with wooden sticks. Some professionals play on the ice and score millions of dollars for their skills these days. Hockey is more prevalent in Canada than in any other country. The Stanley Cup is hockey’s most prized trophy, with 30 teams vying to win it each year. The average NHL hockey stick is made up of 10 different parts.

The word hockey comes from “hocky,” a Scottish word for where they used to play in Edinburgh? The thing that stops the puck and lets the players hit it is called a goalie.

Hockey was initially played on ponds and lakes, but improvements in technology allowed these games to be played indoors on artificial ice. The first indoor games occurred in 1875, with the Montreal Victorias playing against the Montreal Hockey Club.

The most goals scored on an NHL team in one game was 46 by the New York Islanders in 1973. That season they also set a mark by scoring 16 goals in one period. There are 48 games in a regular season of the NHL.

The first NHL hockey professional was a goaltender, George Hainsworth, who played for the Montreal Canadiens in 1910. The first scorer of a goal in the NHL was Cy Denneny for the Ottawa Senators in 1917. Players can be sent to “the box” for two minutes if they commit a foul like high-sticking or tripping. They are not allowed to touch the puck while they are there.

The NHL has had more than 100 players who scored over 200 points in one season. Shjon Podein of the Colorado Avalanche scored five goals, assisted on 13, and got 2 points in the 2000-01 season. Since 1993, the average NHL team will travel roughly 76,000 miles each year. At one time in the NHL, teams would play eight games in eleven days!

A hockey puck can travel at more than 160 km/h! The most penalty minutes by an individual player is 472 for Dave Schultz of the Philadelphia Flyers in 1974-75. That’s almost a game and a half! Players get two points for scoring a goal and one point for assisting on it.

The goalie is the only player not allowed to pass the puck. When players need to change on the ice during a match, they must touch as much of their body as possible on the bench before leaving. The first recorded professional hockey game was in 1886 between teams in Montreal, Canada, and Halifax, Nova Scotia.