Not much happens in the off-season for hockey, and that can be disappointing for NHL fans everywhere. You may not be able to watch your favorite hockey teams fight it out for the Stanley Cup, but everyone loves trivia. Why not learn some about your favorite sport? Check out some of these fun facts about ice hockey below.
- Though the first hockey game can be attributed to the March 3, 1875 match in Montreal, no one is definitively sure when hockey was truly invented. Some say the sport’s invention goes back to the 1700s, but that estimation is hardly set in stone.
- The Stanley Cup has been around much longer than the National Hockey League. The first Stanley Cup game occurred in 1893, 24 years before the NHL was established in 1917. The famous competition was named after Canadian Governor General Lord Stanley of Preston, who donated a seven-inch high trophy to the games.
- Speaking of the Stanley Cup, many things have happened to the trophy since its creation. Not only is it a trophy, but it’s been used as a cereal bowl, left on the side of the road (accidentally), tossed into a swimming pool, and lost on a flight from New Jersey to Vancouver in 2010. Thankfully, an Air Canada employee recovered it.
- The Stanley Cup has been awarded every year but two: once in 1918, when members of the Montreal Canadians became ill during the Spanish flu pandemic, and once in 2005 due to a work stoppage.
- The zamboni—the machine that cleans the ice—was invented by Frank Zamboni in 1949. It goes across the ice several times to ensure that players have a smooth sheet of ice.
- The hockey puck is three inches in diameter, weighs six ounces, and is frozen before each game. This is done so that the puck doesn’t bounce around and go out of play while out on the ice.
- During intense NHL games, players have to stay hydrated and full, so they eat lots of protein and drink plenty of water or other hydrating liquids while on the bench or in the dressing room. In an average game, hockey players can lose anywhere between 5-10 pounds, mostly water weight.