Tag: 1st Hockey Games

Hockey’s Exhibition – Prequel to the Montreal Winter Carnival Hockey Tournament

As written earlier, Ice Hockey got its organized start through Montreal’s Winter Carnival Hockey Tournament, where the top organized clubs competed with each other. There are records that show that these top clubs playing against each other in an informal exhibition series of games from 1875 to 1882.

March 3, 1975 is the first recorded Ice Hockey Game played at the Victoria’s indoor rink between a split Montreal Victorias club. It is listed for posterity but the rest of the games┬álisted below focus on the top marquee clubs such as the Montreal Hockey Club, Montreal Victorias, McGill University, and the Quebec Hockey Club.

Year Date Team A Score A Team B Score B
1875 03-Mar Montreal Victorias A 2 Montreal Victorias B 1
16-Mar Montreal Victorias 5 Montreal Football Club 2
1876 05-Feb Montreal Victorias 1 Montreal Hockey Club 1
29-Mar Montreal Football Club 6 McGill University 0
1877 01-Feb Montreal Victorias 3 Montreal Hockey Club 1
15-Feb McGill University 2 Montreal Hockey Club 1
19-Feb Montreal Hockey Club 1 McGill University 0
1878 05-Feb McGill University 2 Montreal Hockey Club 0
1879 06-Mar Montreal Hockey Club 2 McGill University 0
1880 no games played no games played
1881 22-Jan Quebec Hockey Club 2 Montreal Hockey Club 0
05-Feb Montreal Hockey Club 4 Quebec Hockey Club 1
1882 20-Jan McGill University 0 Quebec Hockey Club 0
21-Jan Montreal Victorias 0 Quebec Hockey Club 0
16-Feb Quebec Hockey Club 2 Montreal Victorias 0

The exhibition games end up having an affect on the Montreal Winter Carnival as the three teams that participated in the first ever tournament played each other in a 1882 precursor exhibition series.

While no official seasonal champion can be declared, the standings of the five teams that played between 1875 and 1882 are as follows:

Team GP W L T GF GA Seasons
Montreal Hockey Club 8 3 4 1 9 11 1876-79, 81
Montreal Victorias 5 2 1 2 9 6 1875-77, 82
Quebec Hockey Club 5 2 1 2 5 4 1881-82
McGill University 4 1 2 1 4 10 1876-79, 82
Montreal Football Club 2 1 1 0 8 5 1875-76


Rugby-Football and its impact on Hockey

As I was reviewing and posting some of the statistics I was perplexed why a team called Montreal Football Club would show up in some of the results. This team shows up in hockey’s early exhibition games and it also shows up once at the 1885 Winter Carnival Hockey Tournament.

So why would a club of football players play hockey?

To compete and to stay in shape! In fact the first ever ice hockey game that was played indoors in 1875 was organized by a rugby (football) player…

“An enterprising young engineer named James Creighton changed all that. Anxious that he and his rugby-playing friends had something to keep them in shape during winter, he started by bringing hockey in from the cold.” Montreal Gazette

Back in the 19th century sports was practiced differently than now. Athletic groups like the marquee Montreal Amateur Athletic Association fielded multiple clubs to participate in diverse sports like lacrosse, football, skating, and more. It was the MAAA that created the hockey and football powerhouses that dominated their respective sports.

The MAAA in the late 1800s was the premier grouping of ‘sportsmen’ who excelled at almost everything they played. The MAAA was known informally as the ‘Winged Wheelers’, the name being inspired by its bicycle club. It was only later in the first decade of the 1900s we see increased specialization in sports, especially with the rise of professionalism. Given the MAAA’s amateur purpose it would eventually wither under the pressure of such specialization and become irrelevant in elite hockey.