The origin of hockey, most especially ice hockey, has been debated for years with some tracing the game’s roots back to regions of Europe and also connecting it to early Native American sports. However, there are claims that Black residents of Nova Scotia invented the game in 1815.
According to historian Chris Stevenson, hockey, as its played today, did not exist before 1815 until a group of children from four families – Courney, Williams, Munro, and Leale – played the game in an area of Nova Scotia known as the Northwest Arm during the cold winter months. These families were said to be from the Chesapeake Bay area of the mid-Atlantic United States.
While this fact has never been confirmed, hockey experts universally state that the game most likely evolved from Native Americans, who are also credited with inventing a form of lacrosse. Notably, white players dominate both sports today, and as wealthy whites embraced hockey, it ultimately excluded poor Black Canadians.
What is also known is that Black hockey leagues existed before the National Hockey League, which began in November 1917. The Colored Hockey League was established in Nova Scotia in 1895, and lasted until 1930. Eddie Martin of the Halifax Eureka was said to be the first player to perform the slapshot – the hardest shot in hockey – during a game in 1906.
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