Ice Hockey Didn’t Always Have Nets

Did you know that goal nets haven’t always been a part of ice hockey? The sport has a long history, dating back to at least March 3, 1875, when the first recorded game took place at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal, Canada.[1] At first, the goal zone was marked only by two poles or rocks placed on the ice on either side. An official would stand at the end of the rink and watch to see if the puck passed between the poles to determine whether a goal was scored.

As you can imagine, this caused many disputes between the players and the official. Teams would often argue with the official and between each other. Sometimes, the official would be accused of favoring the home team. In 1889, this gave goaltender William Fairbrother an idea: get some netting from local fishermen and tie it to the two posts. Players loved the new system, as it reduced the amount of arguments and increased the pace of the games.[2]

Watching a National Hockey League game today, it’s hard to conceive ice hockey without the goal net. As great as it is, it did not eliminate disputes. Neither did slow-motion cameras and replays. How about infrared puck and player-tracking technology?[3] The competitive nature of sports and passionate fan bases all but assure us that “questioning the call” is here to stay. While disputes are part of the career for players, coaches, and officials, they can be part of the fun and camaraderie for fans. But if bets are on the table, it’s another story.

[IMAGE] Ice Hockey Didn’t Always Have Nets

The Safety Net for Problem Gambling During Stanley Cup® Game 7

Tonight at 8 p.m. – the Blues and the Bruins face off for the tie-breaking seventh and final game to win it all and take home the Stanley Cup ®!  Given the previous six games, hockey fans are sure to be kept on the edge of their seats tonight – hopefully for the right reasons.

If you are planning to watch the game tonight with friends and family, remember that sports betting is not legal in Florida. Pressuring a loved one to place a bet can also present serious consequences for those in recovery for problem gambling. So, it might be best to just bask in the glory of the game.

Much like the net catches the puck in hockey, Florida’s Problem Gambling HelpLine, 888-ADMIT-IT (236-4848), is here to assist anyone who needs help with a gambling problem. Gambling disorder is a serious mental health condition that warrants treatment by a licensed specialist. The 888-ADMIT-IT HelpLine provides help, hope, and connection to powerful and effective resources for Floridians at risk for problem gambling, those who are already suffering from gambling addiction, and their loved ones. To learn more about gambling addiction and the HelpLine, visit gamblinghelp.org.

 

[1] “IIHF to Recognize Montreal’s Victoria Rink as Birthplace of Hockey.” Internet Archive Wayback Machine, The International Ice Hockey Federation, 2 July 2002, web.archive.org/web/20070930024002/http://www.iihf.com/news/iihfpr3902.htm.

[2] Buckingham, Shane. “Lincoln Touted as Birthplace of the Hockey Net.” Internet Archive Wayback Machine, The Standard, 1 Mar. 2009, web.archive.org/web/20161018223450/http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2009/03/01/lincoln-touted-as-birthplace-of-the-hockey-net.

[3] Isaac, Dave. “NHL Introduces Puck- and Player-Tracking Technology.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 25 Jan. 2015, www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nhl/allstar/2015/01/25/nhl-player-puck-tracking-technology/22315241/.

About the Author

Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling