In looking back at the origins of ice hockey, we can see that just like the roots of a tree it has spread and developed in all directions. The Roots Room at the Hockey Heritage Center celebrates the diversity of the game’s participants and their accomplishments. It also acknowledging the exclusion experienced by some members of the community during periods of the games early development.
Mi’kmaq Roots and Hockey: For those from the early Mi’kmaq communities, the original roots of hockey may relate more to the actual tree roots of the hornbeam or the yellow birch.
The roots of these particular trees served as a resource for the highly skilled Mi’kmaq craftsmen and carvers who were recognized for their skill in making some of the best hockey sticks in the land. History shows us that Mi’kmaq sticks were so respected and wanted that they ordered and shipped across the country. Additional information on the Mi’kmaq contribution to the game can be found in Research and History.
The Colored League of the Maritimes: The practice of racial segregation was prevalent at the time of hockey’s early development. During this era the black hockey players were prevented from participating on the same team or in the same league as the white players.
The black community would not however be deterred. They formed the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes in 1895. With highly skilled teams the league and its players flourished enjoying significant achievements and attendance that exceeded the white leagues.
On the local scene our museum’s collection is fortunate to have a selection of artifacts from the Paris family of Windsor beginning with John “Buster” Paris (1930’s) and later with John Paris Jr, Mike Paris and Percy Paris. Greater detail on their contributions to the sport can be found in the Research and History section.
Women’s Hockey League: The earliest reporting of women playing the game of ice hockey in Canada was reported in the 1890’s which is when the Windsor Women’s League began.
As with the norms of the day women were still required to wear dresses when playing. For this reason it was postulated that they possessed an advantage when playing in the goal. Artifacts available for women’s hockey teams at the Hockey Heritage Center include photos, documents and replicated post cards from the early 1900’s. Additional historical details of the Women’s leagues can be found in Research and History.