The Hockey Page is about Links to Popular North American Pro Hockey Teams and Leagues. The Logos are an easier access to the Player rosters and their Team Biographies, too. The National Hockey League - NHL, the American Hockey League - AHL, and the National Women’s Hockey League - NWHL are the Leagues Linked to with all of their Teams.
The game of ‘Hockey’ is a Team Sport played indoors in an ‘Arena‘, also known as a ‘Hockey Rink‘ or a ‘Skating Rink‘, where the spectators stay warm in comfortable temperatures, while the ‘Ice Surface’ stays frozen by means of a coolant piping system under the floor. ‘Ice Hockey’ most likely started with straight branches and a rock out on a frozen pond, or river - the addition of skates would have come much later. Beginning as Rugby on ice, the first games had 9 men per side.
No one knows for sure where the origins of Hockey came from, but, was undoubtedly a light, winter pass time for northern peoples. In Great Britain and France, over 500 years ago, Field Hockey was very popular and a winter, frozen version may have developed. The French word ‘Hoquet’ means ‘Shepherds Crook’ or ‘Bent Stick‘. The ice game Kolven, popular in Holland in the 1700’s, became very popular in 1820’s England, in a community called Bury Fen, where, their version was called ‘Bandy’ and Players swatted a wooden, or cork, ball around frozen meadows with wooden sticks made from Willow Branches. It is known that King’s College school boys adapted the Irish Field Game of Hurley to the ice and is claimed to be the Origin of Ice Hockey - at Windsor, Nova Scotia, in 1800.
The earliest Official North American Games were played in Halifax and Montreal in the 1870’s - Skating on an Rink with 9 men per side and using the rules for Rugby. It is believed the first league was in Kingston, Ontario in 1885, with four Teams. Hockey soon became very popular and Teams from Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa began competing on a regular basis. In 1892, the English Governor General of Canada, Lord Stanley of Preston, was so impressed with the Game that he donated a silver bowl with an interior gold finish and decreed it to be awarded each year to the best amateur Hockey Team in Canada. It became known as the Stanley Cup and is now awarded to the winners of the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. By this time, the Players were down to 7 per side: 3 Forwards, 2 Defensemen, 1 Goalkeeper and a Rover. The first Professional Hockey League was in the United States, in 1904, and was called the International Pro Hockey League based in Michigan - it folded in 1907. A bigger league emerged, in 1910, called The National Hockey Association - NHA - and a little later there was the Pacific Coast League - PCL. In 1914 a Championship Series between the two leagues gave the winner the Stanley Cup. Leagues’ Operations were suspended for World War I, but, after the War the Hockey Powers of the NHA started a whole new organization called the National Hockey League - NHL - and began with 5 Teams. The first game was on December 19th, 1917. Teams played a 22 Game schedule and had dropped the Rover position. The League winner played the PCL winner and Toronto won the Stanley Cup on March 18th, 1918. The PCL folded in 1926 and the NHL divided into two divisions, keeping the Stanley Cup.
Originally the Goalkeeper’s Leg Guards were from Cricket and the Player’s Blades were attached to their shoes. Eventually, Players wore Shin Guards that stopped the Puck, but, had to stuff catalogues in behind them for protection. The first Curved Stick was not used until the 1950’s and the first Goalkeeper Mask did not get worn until 1959. Even then, it was only during an injury and there were still Maskless Goalies, in the NHL, in the 1973 season. Helmets for Players were rare until the 1970’s, but, by the 1979-80 season all new Players entering the League had to wear them. The last helmet less Player retired in 1996-97. Today, Face Guards are worn by many Players and required in all amateur leagues. Even the Officials must wear Helmets. Slap Shots, High Sticks and the speed of the Skaters have forced the Game to keep up with the skills of the Players.
The NHL plays an 82 game regular Season schedule from early October to early April with the playoffs in April and May resulting in the Stanley Cup Finals that may stretch into June. The NHL plays what is considered to be the most gruelling competition for a Championship in Sports: 4 Series of Best of Seven Hockey. The NHL has 30 Teams spread in to every region of Canada, with 6 Teams, and the United States with 24 Teams. Modern Buildings allow for franchises in hot climates like Florida, California and Texas. The coveted prize of the Stanley Cup now stays in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, but, a replica is awarded each year to the NHL Champions.
The AHL is a Minor Professional Hockey League for developing talent for the NHL, but, did not start out that way. Currently, all teams are affiliated with an NHL team and some are with two. In 1936 the Canadian-American Hockey League and the International Hockey League merged to form the International American Hockey League and started with 8 Teams. It was renamed the American Hockey League - AHL - in 1940. In 1942, the AHL held an All-Star game to raise funds for the War effort. The format was the League All-Stars against the reigning League Champions. It returned in 1954, and then annually, in 1995, with a conference against conference format. The annual League Playoff Champions are awarded the Calder Cup. In 1959, the first Canadian Team joined called the Quebec Aces, and in 1969 the first AHL franchise was purchased by an NHL team. In 1995-96, the AHL was first to award a team 1 point for an Overtime Loss, and in 2000, the AHL was first to adopt a 4 on 4 Regular Season Overtime. Both these formats became policies of the NHL a little later. In 2001-02, the league absorbed 6 Teams from the folded International Hockey League and 3 other Teams for their largest expansion to 27 Teams. The AHL plays an 80 game Regular Season Schedule from early October to Mid April and compete in playoffs to the end of May, where the Calder Cup Championship may stretch into June. Some of the Teams come from the leagues beginning, while others have been recently added and many have started, or transferred to, where they are now along the way.
The NWHL was founded, in 1999, by it’s First Commissioner - the Mayor of the City of Brampton - Susan Fennell, who served until July of 2006. Susan Fennell purchased a Championship Trophy and an MVP Award - Most Valuable Player - that were awarded in the first year of play in 1999-2000. The NWHL has a 36 game Regular Season from Mid September to the end of February and had a Championship Series in early March. The Western Women’s Hockey League was formed by two teams who had joined the NWHL from the Northern Alberta Female Hockey League, leaving the NWHL and starting the WWHL, in 2004, with 3 other Teams from the West, including an American Team from Minnesota. The WWHL has a 24 game Regular Season from mid October to the end of February and had a Championship Game in early March. The National Women’s Hockey League has been reorganized and has expanded to include the Western Women’s Hockey League in the Western Division, with 6 Teams, including 1 from the United States. The original league is now the Central Division with all 7 Teams. The 2 Divisions, compiling 13 Teams, will play for the Clarkson Cup - donated by former Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson - in March. The two Leagues, now merged into one, are expected to have an interlocking schedule in the coming years. Current inter-league play is not counted in their standings and is now only Exhibition. The main difference between Men’s and Women’s Professional Hockey is that the Women have eliminated Body Checking, while, it is an integral part of Men’s Hockey.
Each Hockey League and Team name are linked to their Home Page. Each Hockey Team Logo is linked the Team’s roster, or Player list, page. Each Hockey League Logo is linked to the League standings page. All the Logos and pictures have captions to tell the visitor what it is and where it Links to, so, there is no guessing about any objects link destination. From a Team or League Web Site, the store can be viewed to see Hockey gear and equipment for fans and Players. Hockey caps and Team Sweaters are often worn by fans at Hockey games. Team ‘pennants’ , ‘banners’ and many other items with Team colours are displayed and used to help cheer on the Home Team. Advertisements, are also shown and, can be a source for just that right item to enhance your enjoyment of Hockey or your favourite Team. There is no cost in linking with an ad or any web site.
From the Hockey Team rosters, the Players information and stats can be linked to. This information is part of the Team Web Site and is often very up to date. From the standings page the Teams are shown in their Leagues, Conferences and in their Divisions - with their current win/loss record and percentage. The team names, there, are linked to their web sites, as well. Navigation Links, in small, blue, underlined text, are at the top and bottom of each section and allow the visitor to move around the page much easier.
Each Hockey League has a playoff and Champion from the season before. There are trophy pictures and Championship Logos, displayed with the current Champions, that link to information and web pages about that trophy or Hockey event. Other Logos, displayed in each section, link to their home pages, too, and are meant to offer other destinations for Hockey fans to explore - included are the All-Star Logos displayed with their hosts!
An Ice Hockey Rink is 200 ft long and 85 ft wide, is surrounded by upright boards with plexi-glass on top, and has rounded corners that are an arc radius of 28 ft. The length is divided in half by the ‘Red Line‘, which runs across the full width of the ice and up the boards - like all the across ice markings. The Red Line is 12” thick and has red and white checkered squares, or Regular Interval Markings, in the NHL. Each side of ‘Centre’ is identical for Official Game Markings. There are ‘Blue Lines’ - 50ft apart - also 12” thick, marking the entrance to each team’s ‘Defensive Zone’, and ‘Goal Lines’ that run through the ‘Net’ and from side to side of the end of the Rink, 11ft. out from the end Boards. All the red markings on the ‘Rink Surface’ are 2” thick. The Goal is centred on the Goal Line and is made of 2 3/8” O.D. steel pipes, painted red, having ‘Goal Posts‘ 4 ft High and a ’Cross Bar’ 6 ft wide. A white, painted framework inside props up the white 2½“ ‘Mesh Netting’, made of nylon cord, and repels any contact from Players. There is a skirt of nylon or canvas laced around the bottom of the outside of the back of the net to protect the Mesh. The top corners of the outside of the Goal are rounded . The Net is 44” deep at the bottom, from the Goal Line, and 22¼” deep at the top. The Net is actually a little wider than the Goal. There is padding around the base of the frame, at the back, inside the Net to absorb the Puck. The colour of the ice inside the Net is Gloss White. The entire Rink area is surrounded by ’Boards’ 42 inches high (40“-48“) - white and usually covered in advertising - with a rail around the top and a light yellow kick board around the bottom. The Rink Surface and the Boards are White. There are doors through the Boards: at the ends of the Rink, into the ‘Players’ Benches’ and ‘Penalty Boxes’. There may be other doors for maintenance attendants or visitors Team dressing room access, but, as long as they are all firmly shut and secure they do not pose a problem - they sit flush with the Boards and open outwards. The Boards have ’Plexi-Glass’ on top of them, rising 5 ft. high min. down the length of the Rink and 8 ft high min. around the ’End Boards’. The Glass is thick and retains the ’Hockey Puck’ in the Rink to stay in play. Players, also, bounce off the Glass - and the Boards - to stay in the play of the game. Any movement, by the Plexi-Glass or the Boards, is by design and does not pose a threat to the Spectators. From around the top of the taller Glass, at the ends of the Rink, there is a protective ‘Spectator Netting’ that reaches high up toward the roof. This Netting protects the Spectators from deflected ’Slap Shots’ that may injure an unsuspecting ’Fan’. At Centre Ice and in front of, to each side of, each Net are red ’Face Off Circles’ - 30ft in Dia. The ‘Centre Spot’ of these Circles are where the Officials ’Drop the Puck’ into play, for each team’s Players to try to control it with their ’Hockey Sticks’. The Centre Ice Spot is solid Blue, 12 “ Dia. and dead centre of the Rink Surface on the Centre Red Line. This Face Off Circle may also be Blue. The end zone Centre Spots are red circles 20ft. out from the Goal Line and 22ft. on either side of the width wise Centre of the Rink, 24” Dia. with 3” top and 3” bottom white sections leaving a red rectangle 18” wide with rounded ends in the middle of the Centre Spot. These white sections are where the Players put the Blades of their Sticks for the ‘Draw‘. At the top of the ‘Spot‘, and to the bottom, are pairs of right angled red Lines for each Team, 1ft. away from the Centre Spot, reaching 3ft. out and 4ft. back, 4ft. across from the other side’s marks, for where the Players taking the ‘Draw’ are to put their feet - one ‘Skate’ on each side and back of the right angled marks. Each pair, on each side, are parallel and are 18” apart indicating exactly how the two Players vying for the Draw are to be positioned. The Face Off Official stands between the two sets of ‘Hash Marks‘. The sides of the Face Off Circle also have red Hash Mark Lines running outward - two on each side that are centred 3 ft. apart - and are to be kept on their Team’s side of, by the ‘Wingers‘. The ‘Defensemen’ and the Wingers are to remain outside of the Face Off Circle until after the Puck is dropped. At Centre Ice, the Defensemen are outside the Face Off Circle by the Blue Line. All Players, except the ‘Goalkeepers’, must be ready, ‘Set’ motionless, at the Face Off Circle for the Puck to be dropped. Outside each Blue Line, on the Centre Ice ‘Neutral Zone’ side, are two more red Face Off Spots; one on each side of the Rink and are 5ft. from the Blue Line and 22ft. either side of the width wise Centre of the Rink. These Spots are used for Face Offs that come outside the Zone and for Off Side calls. The Officials can hold a Face Off any where in the ‘Rectangle’ formed by the Centre Spots of the 4 End Zone Circles - 20’-6” out from the side Boards and 20’-0” out from the Goal Lines. The Centre Ice Face Off positions are to be made by the players, regardless of whether the Drop is at a Face Off Circle or not.
The ‘Time Keeper Box’, on the opposite side of the Rink to the Player’s Benches, is Centred at the Red Line, and has a ‘Penalty Box’ on each side of it. Each Penalty Bench is to accommodate 10 people. There is a red ‘Half Circle’, out in front of the Time Keeper, that is the ‘Referee’s Crease’ area, 10ft. Radius centred from where the Line meets the Boards, that must not be entered when the Officials are inside of it. The Net, which sits 7‘-2“ away from the end Boards, has an area out in front called the ‘Goal Crease’. The Goalkeeper is not to be contacted or interfered with while inside the ‘Goalkeeper’s Crease‘. It extends 6ft. out with an 6ft Radius arc around the top - centre point from the middle of the front edge of the Goal Line. The Crease is 12” outside of each Goal Post and stretches 4‘6“ out to meet the top arc. The Goal Crease measures 8ft wide reaching 6 ft out at the top of the arc. There are two 5“ lines, reaching inwards from the outside lines of the Goal Crease, 4ft. out from the Goal Line. Other than the Ice Cleaning Machine - which before each period ‘Floods the Ice‘, picking up loose snow and reapplying it as melt water to freeze and fill in cracks or gouges in the ice, - the last part of a Hockey Rink is the ‘Time Clock’, or ‘Score Clock’. This large device hangs over Centre Ice and displays the ‘Game Clock’, each Team’s name and score, the ‘Penalty Clock’ - with Player name, number and Penalty Time for 5 Penalties, scrolling Text messages and shows Replay video of the current game; just about anything Home Team Officials want to display.
Hockey is now an indoor game except for special events and community outings. League play is in a Hockey Arena. The Game is played on an Ice Surface surrounded by retaining Boards and retaining Plexi-Glass that is taller at the ends of the Rink - with a protective mesh above. There are 6 Players on the ice, at one time, from each Team with 5 Skaters, or Players, and a Goalkeeper. The Skaters are all dressed the same with Skates, Helmet, Gloves, Stick and Padding under a Team Jersey, Pants and socks - or stockings that rise high up the leg into the pants. Players’ equipment is governed under the rules of Fair Play and are meant to protect against injuries not add size or volume to aid in stopping the Puck. Pads or Padding must not be made of metal - for Players or Goalkeepers. The Padding includes Shoulder Pads, Elbow Pads, long Hockey Gloves that reach up the forearms, Pads inside the Hockey Pants - which reach down toward the knees, and Shin Guards with Knee Pads attached. Team Sweaters are to cover all equipment except the Gloves, Skates and Helmet and, on the back, are to have the Player’s Number, min. 10” characters and the Player’s Surname, across the shoulders, min. 3” characters. The Skates have steel Blades that need routine sharpening and are mounted in a supporting structure that is secured to the bottom of the Boot. The Boot is covered in leather and modern materials that resist wear and scuffs, it is also lined with soft material that keeps the Player’s foot warm. The tongue fits under the laces that can be tightened like a regular high backed Boot. The Boot’s structure is leather and light weight protective materials to be strong and to protect a Hockey Player’s foot from being injured by the Puck from a hard shot, an inadvertent kick from the Blade of another Skate or running into a Goal Post or the Boards. The Goalkeeper’s appearance is completely different, but, has the same, or more padding, just larger. Goalkeeper Skates are made sturdier and stronger to repel more abuse in Goal. They protect against repeated impacts from the Hockey Puck and other Player’s Skates, as well as the Goal Posts; in Goal is where the Goalkeeper plays, so, these events are constant. The Goalie's Blades and supporting structure are more durable, too. The most noticeable difference about a Hockey Goalkeeper is the big Goalkeeper Leg Guards, or ‘Goalie Pads‘, worn on the front of the legs. These Pads are huge - 11” wide and 38” high - and cover the top of the foot, the shins, knees and the bottom of the thighs and have a boot channel to fit around the Skate. When these Pads are clamped together no shot can send the Puck through them. Goalie’s also, wear Calf Protectors, Knee Strap Pads, Inner Knee Pads, Thigh, Groin and Hip Pads. The Goalkeeper has a Chest Protector Pad that covers the entire front of the abdomen. There are, also, Shoulder Pads and Arm Pads as well as a Goalkeeper’s Full Helmet and Face Mask that leave the Player almost in a suit of armour - able to play Goal in the NHL. There are also the Goalkeeper’s Stick, Catching Glove and Blocking Glove that are tools that allow the Hockey Puck to be caught, deflected, shot and controlled giving the Goalkeeper confidence in the position and control of play in that End Zone. The Catching Glove, or Trapper, is big (45” around the perimeter) with a big pocket for catching the Puck from Wrist and Slap Shots. The Blocking Glove, or Blocker, is a flat rectangular deflector, 15” long and 8” wide, that is worn on the other arm to deflects Pucks away from the Net, or away from the Opponents, and has a hand glove portion to hold and use the Goalkeeper Stick. The Goalkeeper Stick is much larger than the regular Hockey Stick with a 15½” long Blade - 2” to 3½“ wide, 4½“ at the heel - and a Widened Shaft up to 3½” wide for 26” up the Shaft, from the heel. The Heel is where the Blade and the Shaft meet and join. The Shaft is about the same size as the Shaft of a regular Hockey Stick which is 63” high. The regular Hockey Stick is for the Skaters and has a Shaft all the way down to the Heel, where it meets the 12” long Blade that is much smaller than a Goalkeeper Stick, only 2” to 3” wide. The Hockey Stick is light weight and durable - able to make hard and quick shots on Goal. It is wood that has a laminate Blade that slots into a solid wood Shaft at the Heel - glued - with the Blade covered in a water proof coating. When a Stick breaks it is usually up the Shaft or out on the Blade, but, not at the join. However, today Professionals use an expensive composite Hockey Stick that is formed as all one piece. Hockey Sticks are made so the edge of the Blade sits flat on the ice with the Shaft running through both of the Player’s Gloves, while a comfortable playing stance - like the Face Off position - is maintained. Goalkeeper Stick Blades are made to sit flat on the ice while the Goalkeeper holds the Stick in front, to block shots. The Goalkeeper Stick is held in the Gloved Hand with the Blocker on top of it. Hockey Sticks break, too, and the Goalies sweep the pieces back into the Net, or the Officials pick up the large pieces and carry them until a whistle stops play, so, a maintenance attendant can clear the debris. A Player may not play with a broken stick and must drop it immediately. A Goalkeeper may play with the lower end of a broken stick - Blade and Widened Shaft - but, must replace it at the next stoppage in play (Known as a Whistle).
The Player’s Benches are to each seat a minimum of 14 Players, are 24 ft long, are on the same side of the Rink and are generally one to each side of the Centre Red Line. They have a door at each end that allows the Players to enter and exit at the same time. Many Players jump over the Boards onto the ice, as the Plexi-Glass runs around behind each Bench. Players ‘Change Lines‘, or ‘Substitute’ , during the play - while the play is Live - and must not be in violation of the ‘ Too Many Men on the Ice’ rule. A fresh Player must time an entrance onto the ice with the exit of the Player being replaced so that the exiting Player is within 5ft. of the bench. Officials give leeway in this area, but, Teams are often assessed a 2 Minute Penalty. Essentially, the Player coming onto the ice must stay out of the play until the Player going off is at the Bench and out of the play. Neither Player is to touch the Hockey Puck or enter the play until the change is ‘Complete‘. Each Team has a designated Player, and Leader, to confer with the Referees. This Player wears a visible ’C’ on the front of the Sweater and is known as the 'Captain'. Two other Players are designated for when the Captain is not on the ice and wear a visible ’A’ on the fronts of their Sweaters, known as 'Alternate Captains'. A Team may have 3 ‘A’s and no ‘C’, but, no more than 1 ‘C’.