Ready to learn about the fastest game on ice? Let’s skate into the world of fist fights, rubber pucks and slap shots with these fun facts about hockey!
From playing beer hockey with friends on the weekend to the fast-paced intensity of the National Hockey League – if there’s ice, there’s hockey.
From the humble beginnings on a frozen pond in Canada, hockey has taken over as one of the world’s most beloved sports. And also one of the most brutal.
But how much do you really know about this unique game where you fly around the ice on two thin blades chasing a small rubber disk with a stick?
Well, you’re about to find out with these fun facts about hockey!
We’ll discover the history and heritage of the game, look at some incredible feats of sporting history, and throw in some truly weird and fascinating hockey facts as well.
From Olympic heartbreak to the Miracle On Ice, to the golden goal and the bitter women’s rivalry unmatched by any other, there are so many intriguing pieces of trivia to uncover.
And let’s not forget about Gretzky, Ovechkin, Crosby and many other star players that have brought the game of hockey to an insane level and made our jaws drop with their skill, finesse, and athleticism.
So let’s lace up our skates and learn a little bit more about the fastest game on ice!
Table of Contents
23 Fun Facts About Hockey
1. The inventors of hockey
Does ice hockey date back to the 1700s? Or was it brought over to the frozen ponds of Canada by the British in the early 19th century? The facts around hockey’s invention are quite murky, but these are the two main theories.
What we do know is that the first indoor hockey game was played in Montreal, Canada, in 1875. That’s means we’re nearly celebrating 150 years of hockey!
2. The Great One
If you’re a hockey fan then you’ll know all about Wayne Gretzky. Regarded as the ice hockey GOAT, Gretzky leads the NHL all-time lists for goals, assists and points for both regular season and playoff competition. No one can touch The Great One!
3. Hockey’s iron man
Currently playing for the Las Vegas Golden Knights, Phil Kessel is the Iron Man of the NHL. The honorary nickname is given to the player who has competed in the most consecutive games.
Kessel has played over 1,000 straight games and counting, not missing one since 2009!
4. The Original Six
The National Hockey League (NHL) was founded in 1917 and by 1926 there were six teams competing for the coveted Stanley Cup.
The teams, collectively known as the Original Six, were the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings and the New York Rangers.
5. Making bank
In 1971, Bobby Orr became hockey’s first million dollar man. The largest contract at the time, Orr was paid $200,000 a season over 5 seasons by the Boston Bruins.
It was a smart decision too, as Orr led the Bruins to the Stanley Cup title in the 1971-1972 season.
6. Canada vs USA
If you want to find the biggest rivalry in hockey look no further than the Canadian and American national women’s teams.
The two dominant forces in women’s hockey have had a bitter and intense rivalry for decades.
Canada currently leads the overall rivalry with 88 wins to the USA’s 68.
7. The Miracle on Ice
The most famous hockey game for Americans was at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. The inexperienced Americans were up against a dominant Soviet Union team favored for gold.
The ragtag Americans pulled off a stunning upset by scoring two goals in the third period to win the game 4-3. They’d go on to win the gold medal.
8. Protect your head
Here’s one of the hockey facts that might surprise you. Goalies used to play without masks!
It was Jacques Plante, the goalie for the Montreal Canadiens, who was the first to wear a mask in 1959. Plante developed the mask himself and first wore it in an NHL game after a puck broke his nose.
9. What the puck?
Did you know that the first hockey pucks were actually made of frozen cow dung? This is one of the craziest facts about hockey that we discovered!
Today, pucks are still frozen, but are made from vulcanized rubber. In a standard NHL game an average of 12 pucks are used throughout the game.
10. We are the champions
Is it really surprising that the team to win the most National Hockey League championships is called the Canadiens?
The Montreal Canadiens have won the Stanley Cup an astonishing 23 times. The Canadiens are in a huge slump however, winning their last championship way back in 1993.
11. Littering the ice
In hockey, scoring three goals is known as a hat-trick. To show their appreciation fans will throw their hats onto the ice after the third goal.
However, fans throw much crazier things onto the ice to support their teams. Detroit Red Wings fans throw octopus onto the ice after each playoff win and fans of the Florida Panthers toss rubber rats.
12. The golden goal
The whole country of Canada was on the edge of their seats during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. The home team was in an overtime battle against the USA for the gold medal.
80% of Canada’s population was watching when Jarome Iginla passed to Sidney Crosby who scored the golden goal giving Canada the Olympic title on home soil.
13. Racking up the points
Darryl Sittler had a really good night on February 7th, 1976. Sittler led the Toronto Maple Leafs to an 11-4 win over the Boston Bruins with 6 goals and 4 assists.
The 11-point game is the record for most points in a single game. This is one record that may never be broken!
14. Making history
Since the inception of the NHL there has only been one female to lace up her skates and play in an NHL game. Manon Rheaume played goaltender for the Tampa Bay Lightning during a preseason game in 1992.
15. Cleaning the ice
That crazy tractor-looking machine you see cleaning the ice between periods is known as a Zamboni.
Frank Zamboni invented the machine in 1949 to resurface the ice of a skating rink he owned in California. In 1954, the Boston Bruins bought the first Zamboni to be used in the NHL and the rest is history!
16. Height extremes
The shortest ever player in the NHL was Roy Woters, a goaltender, who stood at 5’3 (1.6 m). The tallest was Zdeno Chara, the legendary defenseman measured in at 6’9 (2.06m) and over 7’ when wearing skates!
17. Not for the faint of heart
Hockey is arguably the most brutal sport out there. Not only is the game full contact leading to back-breaking hits and body slams, players are also expected to block the puck with their body and even get into fist fights on the ice to help the team.
18. The endless game
In the hockey playoffs there is no such thing as a shootout. Instead, the teams keep playing until someone scores a goal for the win. This has led to some crazy long games!
The longest game occurred way back in 1936 between Detroit and Montreal and went into 6 overtime periods. Detroit went on to win the game 1-0.
19. No Canada
This was one of the hockey facts that really surprised us! No Canadian team has won the Stanley Cup since the Montreal Canadiens in 1993. That’s a 30-year drought for the hockey obsessed nation.
A few teams have made the finals, Vancouver (1994, 2011), Calgary (2004), Edmonton (2006), Ottawa (2007), Montreal (2021), but no Canadian team has won.
20. Michigan pride
It was a NCAA hockey game between the Michigan Wolverines and the Michigan State Spartans that holds the attendance record for a single hockey game.
On December 11, 2010 over 110,000 people packed into Michigan Stadium to see the Spartans beat the Wolverines 5-0 in The Big Chill outdoor game.
21. Make that money
The richest retired player is Jaromir Jagr who raked in over $128 million over his impressive playing career.
The two highest-paid athletes ever are still playing in the NHL. Alexander Ovechkin has earned $128 million. Sidney Crosby has earned an astonishing $147 million. And that doesn’t even include endorsement deals!
22. A trip to the sin bin
Penalties in hockey are an important part of the game. After a penalty, the offending player sits in the penalty box leading to an advantage for the other team.
The player with the most ever penalty minutes was the aptly named, Tiger Williams. Williams amassed 3,966 penalty minutes over his 14 year career.
23. Please let us win!
The Winnipeg Jets of the 1980-81 season may have had the worst streak of luck ever in NHL history.
The team went an incredible 30 games without recording a win. This dubious stretch of poor play still stands as the most consecutive games played without a win.
Who wants more fun facts?
If you’re looking for some recommendations, these are a few of our favorite fact books to buy. We use these when planning fun trivia nights with family and friends!
Did we score with these fun facts about hockey? Or did we leave some of your favorite hockey facts on the bench? You can let us know in the comments below!