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The Great Game of Hockey

Written by Urther Queen
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An overview of the history and game of hockey
When most people think of hockey, they often associate the game with Canada. But, surprisingly, hockey isn't the national sport of Canada, but the roots of hockey go back to Ireland. Before Canadians began their obsessive need for hockey, the game was played in Ireland under the unlikely name of Hurley. The game was brought over to Canada by Irish immigrants, and around the 1800s hockey began to gain popularity throughout Canada. The game quickly caught on, especially on the East coast, and became popular all over the world.

In 1917, a league was formed to guide the play among professional hockey teams. This league, the National Hockey League (NHL) originally consisted of five teams. But the numbers quickly grew and by the end of the century there would be 30 teams from all over Canada and the USA. For many fans, hockey is serious business.

During Stanley Cup, in recent years, the US teams have dominated the hockey playoffs. However, hockey still has a bigger following in Canada. Hockey Night in Canada is quite an event in many households and sports bars. Several teams like the Winnipeg Jets and the Quebec Nordiques have fallen by the wayside in Canada in the past several years. High player salaries are an unfortunate cause.

Hockey stars are among the highest paid in any professional sport. This is partly the reason that many of the top players head to teams in the US. Many Canadian teams have a hard time retaining their homegrown players thanks to high salary demands. This is also the key issue in the 2004 dispute which has resulted in no games thus far for the season.

Hockey can be at times a violent game with spectators cheering their team as the opposing team is crushed against the boards. Of course, some people wonder if this is propensity for violence is teaching young fans to be violent. Unfortunately, violence has turned up in the little leagues. While some of the little leagues are adopting no tolerance policy for aggressive play, and some have banned this type of contact all together, the professional teams under the NHL have not followed suit.

Some of the parents at little league hockey games have become a bit too passionate in recent years. An increasing number of fights between parents and verbal and physical abuse against referees and coaches have prompted many people to shy away from the sport or putting their children in after school hockey programs. It's a frightening prospect when the parents care more about who wins than the kids do.

Europe also enjoys much success in the world of hockey. Little known places such as Belarus has been highlighted after the recent world championships. Little ice hockey can be played anywhere you can find frozen ponds in the winter. This is not always the case though, look at the Los Angeles Kings.

Hockey is one of the best-loved games in North America and many fans have their fingers crossed that there will be at least a few games this 2004/2005 NHL season. But there are farm teams and minor leagues that are still playing so at least fans can get their hockey fix. If you are wondering what the fuss is all about, be sure to check out a game at your local area and feel the excitement in the air. No wonder hockey is so popular!

About the author:
Urther Queen is the owner and operator of UQ Hockey, the best place on the internet for information about hockey. For more articles on hockey why not visit: article is available as a unique content article with free reprint rights.

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