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Ice Hockey and The Stanley Cup: Canada’s Official Sport and the Game’s Ultimate Prize

Modern-day Ice Hockey

Modern-day Ice Hockey

Fun Facts About Ice Hockey and The Stanley Cup

The Origin of Hockey

Ancient hockeyHockey has been played in some form or other for 100s of years. It is thought to be 1 of the earliest sports in the world, and was played by the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Persians, Romans, and Arabs.

Hurling, a sport very similar to hockey, is known to have been played during the first millennium BC in Ireland, and other similar types of sports were adopted by other Europeans in the Middle Ages (5th century to 15th century). In pre-Columbian times (before the 16th century) Native South Americans also played a game much the same as hockey. The name hockey, thought to have been adapted by the English from the French word hoquet (shepherd’s crook), was 1st given to the sport in the eighteenth century but was not in common usage until the nineteenth century.

Ice Hockey

The modern game of ice hockey was invented in the mid-1850´s by British soldiers based in Canada. Rules were set by students at McGill University in Montréal, Canada, in 1879, and many amateur clubs and leagues were organized in Canada by the late 1880´s. The game is believed to have been 1st played in the USA in 1893. By the beginning of the twentieth century the sport had spread to England and other parts of Europe. The modern game developed in Canada, and nowadays is very popular in North America and East Europe.

The NHL is the most important league in the world; this National Hockey League comprises teams from the United States and Canada, but for many years almost all NHL players Canadians. The winning team of this competition is awarded the Stanley Cup trophy. Ice Hockey became an Olympic sport in 1920 and is 1 of the most popular events at the Winter Olympics.

The Stanley Cup

“I have for some time been thinking that it would be a good thing if there were a challenge cup, which would be held from year to year by the leading hockey club in Canada. There does not appear to be any outward sign of a championship at present, and considering the interest that hockey matches now elicit, I am willing to give a cup which shall be held annually by the winning club.”

So mused Lord Stanley of Preston in 1892, at a sports banquet in Ottawa. The following year Canada’s governor-general was true to his word, purchasing a silver bowl for $50 and naming it the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup. Hockey folks went with a less formal designation, the Stanley Cup.

The first winner was a Montreal team that finished atop the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada, considered the best league going at the time. But in its early years, the prize was not exclusive to one hockey league, nor was it meant to be. It was a challenge cup, changing hands in much the same way as a boxing title. Contenders issued challenges, and the champions held the Cup for as long as they could fend off all comers. Independent trustees ensured that legitimate challenges were met on a regular basis.

In later years, as professionalism swept the game, it was accepted that the Stanley Cup could not remain exclusive to amateur teams. The Stanley Cup officially turned pro in 1910, when the National Hockey Association took possession of it. But it was not until 1926 that the National Hockey League emerged indisputably as the top league in North America, effectively taking control of the Cup. That control was formalized in an agreement signed with the Cup trustees in 1947.

Special thanks to CollegeSportsScholarships.com and About.com

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New York’s Marquis Theater: The Broadway lights glitter on as controversy haunts its not-too-distant past

New York's Marquis Theater circa 2003

New York's Marquis Theater circa 2003

Fun Facts About New York’s Marquis Theater

Marquis Theater seating chart

Marquis Theater seating chart

Location, Location, Location: 

1535 Broadway, New York, NY – the heart of Times Square at Broadway and 45th Street and within the New York Marriott Marquis Times Square.
Designed by: Architect John Portman

Features: 1,611 seats, an expansive backstage, high ceilings, state-of-the-art acoustics, and wide aisles.

Grand Opening: August 10, 1986

Shows Featured: Me and My Girl (1420 Performances), Gypsy, Man of La Mancha, The Goodbye Girl, Damn Yankees, Victor/Victoria, Peter Pan, Annie Get Your Gun,Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Drowsy Chaperone and Come Fly Away

“The Great Theater Massacre of 1982”: 5 famous Broadway theaters were demolished to make way for the hotel: the Helen Hayes, the Morosco, the Astor, the Bijou, and the Gaiety. Actor Christopher Reeve (then at the height of his Superman fame) joined with other protesters to stop the destruction, even forcing a Supreme Court challenge, but to no avail.

Actor Christopher Reeve

Actor Christopher Reeve

More controversy: The hotel in which the theater is located has been criticized for turning its back to Times Square. However, at the time the hotel was built, Times Square was only beginning to turn around. With the still-seedy character of Times Square, the architectural style of inwardly-oriented spaces made logical sense. The present redevelopment of Times Square as an urban destination point has left the Marriott Marquis detached from the street. However, the Marriott was the first major project in the Times Square revitalization, and has been credited as the starting point for today’s development node at Times Square.

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