Volume 93, Issue 11

Thursday, September 16, 1999


Real hockey players wear kilts

Symmering over the hockey field

Pete Sampras is the best tennis player in the world

Western lacrosse team ready to net another year

Magical origins of field hockey

Magical origins of field hockey

It's time for all you hard-core sport fans to learn something new. This little section will essentially deal with the origins of certain sports that we all know and love.

In this, our opening origins story, we've chosen the always interesting, not to mention exciting, story of field hockey. When someone mentions the word "hockey" in Canada, most people think of ice but this game is played on a field without shoulder pads or Patrick Roy.

Field hockey as a sport finds its roots in the early civilizations of the Arabs, Greeks, Persians and Romans. Some scholars have dated the sport back to the Aztec Indians in South America because traces of a stick game were discovered in the region.

It was played in English schools during the 19th century. However, the game wouldn't completely become established as a sport until a hockey club in London called Teddington, established new guidelines for the sport. The Teddington club introduced rules such as a ban on a player using their hands and the infamous adoption of a striking circle. It was at this moment in time in London, 1886 that the Hockey Association was founded, creating the basis for a national league.

While the game remained popular in England, it was, for the most part, unknown throughout the world. As the British empire expanded, so did the sport. It grew in the colonies predominantly because of the British army, particularly in India and the Far East. By 1895 international competitions were being held within the countries of the British empire and by 1928 it became India's national game. When the Olympics were held in 1928, India was able to capture the gold medal. The World Cup of field hockey for men began in 1971 with teams participating from around the globe.

Field hockey became popular among Victorian women as a recreation activity, despite the fact women were not encouraged to play sports. The International Federation of Women's Hockey was formed in 1927, yet it took until 1974 for women to be able participate in a major competition like the World Cup.

Although the sport spread through Europe quickly it wasn't until 1901 that it made it's way across the ocean into the United States. Constance M.K. Applebee introduced the game to the States and it quickly spread across North America. Today field hockey continues to grow both in Canada and the U.S. Western has their own field hockey team ready to carry on the long tradition which has preceded the sport.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999