Given its strong British connections,
it was not unusual that various
English games would be played on the ice during the winter months in Dartmouth and Halifax.
Games of cricket, for example, were reported in the newspapers being played on the ice of
the harbour between military teams. Hurley and field hockey were no doubt played as well.
In fact, the playing of field hockey on ice by British explorer Sir John Franklin and his men on
Great Bear Lake in 1825 has been erroneously suggested by some as the first report of ice hockey
in Canada. Clearly, however, the reference to "the game of hockey played on the ice" was simply field
hockey on ice without skates and was not a description of the game of ice hockey that originated in Halifax and Dartmouth.
As the birthplace of hockey, there has been a long tradition of hockey teams playing on the many local
lakes and in the new indoor rinks. Having developed in the late 1700s to the early 1800s, hockey
was "a leading sport" by 1890s. In fact, in 1896, Dartmouth newspapers reported over 100 games
being played in the rink (without artificial ice) with the last one being played in early April
between two military teams. Proud that "Dartmouth boys have always been leaders" in hockey and
over a century before Detroit would claim to be Hockeytown, the headlines of the Dartmouth newspaper proclaimed:
HOCKEY! HOCKEY! THE BOYS OF HOCKEY TOWN CHAMPIONS AGAIN IN 1896
In fact, during the previous winter, the newspapers described a tremendous game between
all-Black hockey teams. The Atlantic Weekly reported: "The greatest hockey match of the
season was played in the Dartmouth rink on Tuesday evening between the Eurekas of Halifax
and the Jubilees of Dartmouth. The game was fast and furious and body checking, etc. were
leading features. The hockey match between the Eurekas and the Jubilees was a great event
in the history of the colored race in general. The local team won and are the admired of all
admirers. The score was 4 to 3.
There will be another game Tuesday evening next between the
same two teams and a large number of people will likely be present. Captain Franklyn will again
endeavor to lead the gladiators to a prompt and decisive victory." The same newspapers also reported
in December that the Starr Manufacturing Company had been running night and day for some time
past. "The demand for the celebrated skates turned out by this factory is as great as before.
The sale this year has been greater than ever."
Hockey has continued to flourish in Hockey's Home. Having recently hosted the World Junior
Hockey Championship and site of the 2004 Women's World Championship, Halifax is home to the
very successful Halifax Junior Mooseheads. Dartmouth is the annual host of the SEDMHA Minor
Hockey Tournament which has been described as one of the largest and most prestigious in
North America. Following a 200 year tradition, hockey continues to be played on lakes such as
Banook, Chocolate Lake and Oat Hill.
Hockey's Home contains over one hundred images relating to the origin of our great game.
Many of the following photos and advertisements from the Dartmouth Regional Heritage Museum
collection included in the Starr section of this web site are not contained in the book because of space limitations.