Hockey’s Home Ice

Town of Windsor Nova Scotia circa 1836
An image of the town of Windsor NS circa 1836

The Story and the Game of Ice Hockey is Born!

“…you boys let out racin’, yelpin’, hollerin’, and whoopin’ like mad with pleasure and the play-ground, and the game at base in the fields, or hurley on the long pond on the ice…”

– Thomas Chandler Haliburton – The Attache, 1844



The Attache by Thomas C Halibutron
“The Attache” by Thomas C. Haliburton references ‘…hurley on the long pond on the ice…’ circa 1800.

Haliburton’s quote from The Attache, written in 1844, is one of the initial references to hurley on ice. In another of his writings, The Clockmaker, from 1836, he references “playing ball on ice,” which also describes the game of hurley, or what is considered an early form of hockey on ice.

King’s College School, Windsor
The quote from The Attache is argued to be in reference to Haliburton’s recollection of his youthful days attending Kings College School, in Windsor, Nova Scotia, between 1800 and 1810.

When not studying, the boys enjoyed the Irish game of hurley in the fields. Traditionally the sport was played from spring through fall. Haliburton’s utterance on memory, however, is of boyhood friends continuing with the game through the winter months, playing on the frozen ponds that skirted along the back border of the school fields.

Windsor Mail Letter to the Editor: 1876

Windsor Mail Letter 1876 reference to hurley ponds and skating at Devil's PunchbowlAdditional evidence supporting the Windsor claim can be found in a letter to the editor of the Windsor Mail in 1876. A former King’s College School graduate writes of his fond recollection of times spent in Windsor at King’s. Under the teaching of the Rev. Wm. King, Senr., who had charge of King’s College Academy he refers to the time period several times in his letter. He makes references to his age, the years actually spent there between 1816 and 1818 as well as the number of years that have elapsed since that time period. Direct references are made to “long pond”, “skating” and the loss of front teeth with a “hurley” as follows:

” And Long Pond, back of the College were favorite resorts, and we used to skate in winter, on moonlight nights on the ponds.

I recollect John Cunard (brother of Sir Samuel of Steamship fame) having his front teeth knocked out with a hurley by Pete Delancey, of Annapolis.”

View the photo image of the letter to the Editor or read the draft of the current transcript of the letter.

The Attic which displays a collection of ice hockey gems from its recent to distant past.

Hockey Returns Home
It makes a fitting home, and a natural connection with its original roots, to have the Hockey Heritage Center located in the current-day Haliburton House Museum.

Supported with artifacts, as well as years of detailed research and analysis by author-historian Garth Vaughan, the Windsor Hockey Heritage Society recognizes and celebrates Windsor, Nova Scotia, as the original “Birthplace of Hockey.”

An Attic with Hockey Gems and Treasures
The museum’s contents are presented throughout five rooms, with artifacts including original leather-strap skates, Mi’kmaq hockey sticks, trophies, photos, and illustrations of genuine hockey equipment.

To view and relive the original hockey era from its beginnings, make sure you visit the museum’s Hot Stove Room and its Starr Trophy Room.

Get to know the stars of the early leagues and contributors to hockey’s past in the Roots Room; stroll through the Locker Room with its original equipment and the Attic with treasured gems from hockey’s past to present day.


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