PlayerWhy Is It Called Hockey?
Why Is It Called Hockey?

Why Is It Called Hockey?

Hockey, a sport celebrated globally for its thrilling pace and skilled play, holds a special place in the hearts of many enthusiasts. At Bar Down Hockey, where we live and breathe the spirit of this incredible game, one might pause to wonder: why is this dynamic sport called “hockey”? The name, much like the game itself, has a rich history woven through with culture, tradition, and a bit of mystery. Let’s delve into the origins of hockey’s name and explore how it has evolved over the centuries.

The Early Beginnings

The word “hockey” has obscure roots, and while its exact origin remains slightly shrouded in mystery, several theories offer intriguing insights. The term is believed to have been derived from the French word “hoquet,” meaning shepherd’s crook, referring to the curved stick used in the game. This resemblance is hard to ignore, considering early players indeed used curved sticks that looked strikingly similar to the tools used by shepherds.

Historical References and Linguistic Evolution

References to a game resembling hockey date back several centuries across different cultures. Records from 1363 mention Edward III of England issuing a proclamation banning certain leisure pastimes, including games played with a curved stick, which many historians link to early forms of hockey.

In Ireland, a sport known as “hurling” dating back over 2000 years features similarities to hockey, including the use of a stick and ball. In Scotland, the word “hockie” was used as early as the 16th century to describe a similar game. These snippets from history suggest a rich, interconnected past that spans across regions and timelines, contributing to the development of the modern game and its name.

The Game Grows

As the game evolved, so did its nomenclature. By the 18th century, the term “hockey” started appearing more frequently in documentation. The London Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce mentions the awarding of silver clubs for “hockey” in the 1740s in England. By the 19th century, the name was well established in the English-speaking world and was used to describe the game played on ice in Canada and on grass in Britain.

The Spread and Standardization

The standardization of hockey as a term coincided with the formal codification of its rules. In 1875, the first recorded indoor ice hockey game was played in Montreal, Canada, and from there, the game’s popularity soared. The founding of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) in 1908, which unified rules for international play, cemented “hockey” as the official term for this fast-paced sport.

Modern-Day Hockey

Today, hockey is a global phenomenon, with various forms including ice hockey, field hockey, roller hockey, and street hockey captivating millions. The name “hockey” now not only represents a sport but a legacy of teamwork, skill, and passion. At Bar Down Hockey, we celebrate this legacy, offering fans and players a community deeply rooted in the love for the game.


From the shepherd’s fields to modern arenas, the journey of the word “hockey” mirrors the evolution of the game itself—a humble beginning leading to a world-renowned sport. Understanding the origins of the name helps deepen our appreciation for the history and cultural significance of hockey. At Bar Down Hockey, we’re more than just fans; we’re keepers of the game’s rich heritage, always eager to share the joy and excitement of hockey with the world. Whether you’re a seasoned player or a new enthusiast, remember that every swift pass and powerful shot continues the centuries-old tradition of a game that started with a simple stick and a ball. Join us in celebrating the wonderful world of hockey, where every game is a nod to its historical roots and a testament to its enduring legacy.

Welcome to Bar Down Hockey, where the love for the game meets unmatched expertise. As a premier destination for hockey enthusiasts, ages 18+, and all skill levels. Whether you’re a seasoned player looking to refine your skills or a newcomer eager to step onto the ice for the first time, our commitment to excellence and the thrill of the game ensures an unforgettable hockey experience for everyone.

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