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
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
Additional 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.”
Hockey Returns Home
It makes a fitting home, and a natural connection with its original roots, to have the Birthplace of Hockey Museum 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.”
A Showcase of 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 Hockey Starrs room featuring the museum’s show-piece: “The Starr Cup.”
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. And don’t forget to check out Birthplace of Hockey merchandise in the Gift Shop.