The First Indoor Hockey Game Took Place In Canada In 1875

By | March 1, 2020

test article image
Victoria Skating Rink, 1893.

Ice hockey became the official winter sport of Canada in 1994, but really, it was just a formality. People have been making jokes about Canada and hockey for about as long as Canada has existed, and indeed, the first indoor ice hockey game took place on March 3, 1875, just eight years after the country was founded. It was played with official rules, it had a wooden puck, and in classic hockey fashion, it ended with a fight. 

test article image
Skating Carnival, Victoria Rink, Montréal, Quebec, 1870.

Where Was The First Indoor Hockey Game Played?

The game took place at the Victoria Skating Rink in what is now called the "Square Mile" near McGill University in Montréal, Quebec. At the time, this was the center of the English community in Montréal. While skating rinks in modern times are mostly sites for children's birthday parties, the Victoria Skating Rink hosted a variety of activities, including fancy dress balls, receptions for visiting dignitaries, musical performances, and conferences/exhibitions. The skating surface was over 200 ft. long and 80 ft. wide, just a little narrower than the dimensions mandated by today's National Hockey League. With large windows and 50-ft. ceilings, natural light flooded the space during the day while gas-jet lighting did the job by night. If you doubted just how important ice hockey is to Canadians, it was the first building in Canada to be outfitted with electric lighting. (The ice was naturally frozen by the frigid climate.)