top of page

Origin of Hockey (History)

The specific connection between the Mi'kmaq people and the invention of hockey remains a subject of discussion among historians and sports enthusiasts. There is a popular legend that suggests and often is credited to the Mi'kmaq people, an Indigenous group on the eastern coast of Turtle Island (Canada), who invented the hockey stick and played an early version of the sport of hockey. However, it is important to note that the game of hockey is complex and multifaceted, with contributions from various cultures and regions throughout the decades. 

The specific origins of the hockey stick and the sport itself are definitively attributed to the Mi'kmaq people. While it is true that stick-and-ball games were played by Indigenous peoples in North America for centuries, these games had different variations and rules depending on the specific tribe or community. The Mi'kmaq people, like many other Indigenous cultures, did engage in various stick games. These games were often played on ice or frozen ponds during the winter months. 

The development of modern ice hockey as we know it today primarily occurred in the 19th century in Canada, particularly in Montreal. While Indigenous cultures, including the Mi'kmaq people, may have played similar stick games, the specific rules and organization of modern ice hockey were shaped by various individuals and communities during that time. However, the direct line of influence from these traditional Indigenous games to the modern sport of hockey only evolved over time. 

Did you know the first recording of Mi’kmaq playing a stick and puck game, on ice, with bone made skates was in 1749. With a similar game played on the field during warmer months. This game was played by the Mi'kmaq before the first settler recording in 1749. Not only were Mi’kmaq good at the sport, they became one of the main suppliers of hockey sticks across North America. Mic Mac hockey sticks were in high demand for their craftsmanship of a solid, light weight stick often made of golden birch. Photo: An ad from the 1904-05 Eaton catalogue selling a dozen sticks for $4.50. Mawkina’masultinej - Via Treaty Education Nova Scotia 

It is important and essential to recognize and celebrate the contributions of Indigenous cultures to sports and recreation with land acknowledgments for the basic principle of respect. 

bottom of page