30+ Fun Facts About Hockey You Probably Didn’t Know


From cow poop and live mascots to broken teeth and Cup snacks—the world of hockey is as interesting as the sport itself.

To give you a better idea of how the game developed through the ages and how popular it is across the world today, we rounded up the most fascinating facts about hockey.

Let’s get going! 

Hockey History facts

1. When was hockey invented?

Based on Egyptian carvings, the game can be traced back 4,000 years in the past, while history shows that similar games were played in Ancient Greece, China, Rome and Ireland.

Since then, hockey has become one of the top sports in the UK as well as worldwide.

2. The first hockey rules were implemented in 1875.

Hockey was commonly played in 17th and 18th-century English villages where whole hamlets would compete in a fierce match that often involved 100 people.

The first rules of hockey, which limited the game to 30 players and gave more authority to the umpire, were drafted by the Hockey Association, which was formed in the UK in 1876.

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3. Where was the first indoor hockey game played?

Ice hockey as we know it today originated in Canada. In fact, the first organised hockey game was played at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal on March 3, 1875.

The teams had nine players each, with the majority of the participants being McGill University students. The match was organised by Canadian J.G.Creighton, who laid down most of the rules of modern ice hockey. 

4. Is ice hockey in the Summer Olympics?

Interestingly, tournaments in ice hockey were first introduced at the Summer Olympics in 1920 but moved to the Winter Olympics program in 1924. Since then, hockey has become one of the most popular winter Olympic sports.

The first women’s tournament was played at the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan. 

Interesting Stats and Facts About Hockey 

5. How many games are there in an NHL season?

A regular season in the NHL, which typically starts in October and ends in April, sees 82 games.  

6. The NLH made $4,37 billion in revenue from the 2019/2020 season.

The average revenue per team, on the other hand, amounted to  $140.9 million for the same season. The majority of the NHL’s revenue comes from television and media rights, whereas the second biggest revenue stream is generated from home games.

7. In 2022, the total attendance at regular season games in the NHL was over 20 million.

According to Statista, in the 21/22 season, the total attendance at regular season games was at 20.7 million.

8. The NHL has the lowest attendance of the five major North American sports.

Compared to other sports, hockey is actually at the bottom in terms of average per game attendance. In this category, football takes the lead with an average of 66,479, followed by America’s national pastime—baseball (28,317) and Major League Soccer (21,310). 

9. How much is the average NHL ticket?

NHL ticket prices are different for every team. For example, in the new 22/23 season, the average home ticket for the Toronto Maple Leafs is $296, which is the highest in the league.

On the other hand, the New Jersey Devils have the lowest ticket prices, with the average ticket being $121.

10. NBC’s last season with the NHL achieved an average TAD of 391,000 viewers.

The average total audience delivery from the latest NHL season reached 391,000 viewers on NBC and NBCSN.

This is the lowest TAD on record since the partnership between NBC and NHL started ten years ago. The highest viewership, on the other hand, was noted in the 2012/2013 season, i.e. an average of 590,000 viewers. 

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11. The NHL is big on social media.

The League account of the NHL has 6.7 million followers on Twitter and 4.64 million on Facebook. The Chicago Blackhawks are the most popular on both platforms, with 2.4 Twitter fans and 2.6 million Facebook followers. 

12. Which is the most valuable franchise team in the NHL?

The New York Rangers are the most valuable franchise team in the NHL. Valued at $1.6 billion, the New York Rangers are the biggest franchise in the League. Next in line are the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens, valued at $1.5 and $1.3 billion, respectively.

According to Statista, the average value of an NHL franchise is around $635 million. 

13. The NHL holds outdoor games as well.

The first outdoor ice hockey game took place in 2003, but this practice grew into a tradition in 2008. Since then, the National Hockey League has held at least one outdoor game a year. 

For the League’s 100 birthday, the NHL held two outdoor matches: one on January 1 between Detroit and Toronto and another on December 16 between the Ottawa Senators and the Montreal Canadiens.

14. The record for most shots in an ice hockey game is 88.

The official record for most shots in a game (88) is held by the Tampa Bay Lightning. The team managed to set the record in 2020 when they played against the Columbus Blue Jackets. 

On the other hand, the record for most goals scored during a single match is held by the Montreal Canadiens in their 16-3 win against the Quebec Bulldogs in 1920.

15. Who has the most gold Olympic medals in hockey?

The fact that Canada outshines other countries when it comes to Olympic gold medals in hockey is no surprise. After all, ice hockey has been the nation’s official winter sport since 1994. 

Facts about Canadian hockey show that the country has won 9 gold medals in men’s hockey and four in women’s tournaments, bringing the total to 13. The Soviet Union is ranked second with seven gold medals (all in men’s hockey), whereas the US is in third place with four gold and 11 silver medals.

16. The game for the gold medal at the 2010 Olympics was the most-watched television broadcast in Canada.

The match between Canada and the USA in 2010 was one of the most spectacular moments in hockey history. An estimated 16.6 million Canadians, or half of the country’s population at the time, watched the entire game. 

Fun Hockey Facts for Kids

17. How many time-outs are there in ice hockey?

During a hockey game, each side is allowed only one timeout of 30 seconds. Accordingly, the players and coaches must use the brief half a minute to make game-changing choices.

18. A hockey team was named after a Disney movie.

The Anaheim Ducks from California were named after the popular 1992 Disney movie The Mighty Ducks, in which an ice hockey team of young players makes it through difficult situations to win the game.

The team, which was owned by Disney, was initially named the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim; however, after it was sold in 2005, the name was shortened to the Anaheim Ducks.

Related: Is ice hockey among the hardest sports in the world?

19. Fans of the Detroit Red Wings often throw octopuses onto the ice at games.

This weird custom started in 1952 when two brothers and fish store owners, Pete and Jerry Cusimano, threw an octopus onto the rink for good luck.

At the time, an NHL team required eight wins to get the Stanley Cup and the octopus, with its eight tentacles, perfectly symbolised the needed wins. Sure enough, the Red Wings won the game, starting a tradition that has lasted to this very day. 

20. Hockey is one of the most fast-paced sports.

Not only is hockey one of the hardest sports, but it also features incredibly fast players who make even faster shots.

In fact, in ice hockey, players blast shots that can go 100 miles per hour or even more. Currently, Zdeno Chara holds the NHL record for the fastest shot with 108.8 km/h.

21. Which is the most common shot in hockey?

The most common shot in hockey is the wrist shot. The most accurate of the five shots in ice hockey, and the first one taught to kids, is the wrist shot.

Facts About Hockey Players

22. Bob Orr was the first hockey player to sign a million-dollar contract.

Even though the contract paid $200,000 spread over five years, plus endorsements, it was still the first seven-figure deal in the League. 

Technically, the first million-dollar contract was signed by Bobby Hull, who received the money in 1972 as part of a ten-year $2.75 million deal. 

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23. Who is the all-time leading scorer in NHL?

Wayne Gretzky is the all-time leading scorer with 61 NHL records. When he retired in 1999, the Great One had 61 NHL records, 40 regular-season records, 6 All-star records and 15 playoff records. No wonder he has been called the best hockey player of all time by the media, professional coaches and the NHL itself. 

24. Who was the shortest player in NHL?

At 160 cm, Roy Woters was the shortest player in the NHL. Nicknamed “Shrimp”, Woters was a goalkeeper in the 1920s and 30s.

Despite his height, he was a very successful player, appearing in 484 games and getting a place in the Hockey Hall of Fame. By contrast, Zdeno Chara was the tallest player.

25. Two NHL players were traded for one dollar.

The first trade happened in 1990 between the New York Rangers and the Buffalo Sabres and involved right winger Ray Sheppard. Despite the fact that the Rangers got Sheppard for one dollar, he had a reasonably successful career, scoring 24 goals and 47 points in 59 games before moving to Detroit. 

The second trade-off took place three years later when the Detroit Red Wings got Kris Draper for one dollar. Draper, however, went on to be one of the team’s best players, helping Detroit win the Stanley Cup four times. 

26. Who is the highest-paid player in NHL?

Toronto Maple Leafs Auston Matthews was the highest-paid in the latest NHL season. Making a total of $16 million from salary and endorsements, Auston Matthews was the highest-paid player in the 2020/2021 season.

Since hockey is one of the highest-paid sports today, these figures come as no surprise.

27.  Only 43 players have scored five or more goals during a single ice hockey game.

Scoring five or more goals during an NHL game is a great accomplishment that has been achieved a total of 59 times in the history of the League. Actually, only one player, Joe Malone, managed to score a record of seven goals in a single game.

Facts About Hockey Pucks

28. Some of the earliest hockey pucks were made from cow dung.

In the early days of hockey, players would use frozen cow dung patties as a puck. Sometimes stones or wood pieces would be used. Later, pucks were made of cut-up rubber balls or tire rubber, but these were short-lived because they kept splitting in two.

The modern-day hockey puck is made of vulcanised rubber. It has a diameter of three inches (7.2 cm) and is about 5.5 ounces heavy

29. The hockey puck celebrates its birthday on February 7th.

The hockey puck has been present in the game practically from its inception. The word puck, on the other hand, was not.

This word was introduced for the first time on February 7, 1876, in the Montreal Gazette. Thus, the NHL considers this date to be the hockey puck’s birthday.

30. How many pucks are used in one NHL game?

Although twelve is the average number of pucks used in a game, matches with as many as 22 have been played. There are also games where only one puck was used—the last match was in 1979, and the puck from the game proudly sits on display in the Hockey Hall of Fame. 

This is because the pre-frozen hockey pucks melt quickly and must be replaced throughout the match.

Facts About Hockey Sticks

31. Hockey sticks date back to the 1830s.

The oldest hockey stick is traced back to the mid-1830s. It was made from sugar maple wood by William “Dilly” Moffatt. However, there is evidence to suggest that the first stick was actually made by the Mi’kmaq people of Nova Scotia, who are believed to have played hockey as early as the start of the 19th century.

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32. Carbon fibre is the most commonly used material for hockey sticks.

Carbon fibre is the most common material used for the manufacturing of hockey sticks. This material is considered ideal due to its light weight and good mechanical features. Other materials used for hockey sticks include fibreglass, wood and aluminium.

33. Back in the day, hockey sticks were not curved.

Hockey sticks were flat for at least 130 years before the curved blade was introduced. Legend has it that it was Chicago Blackhawks player Stan Mikita who first came up with the curved blade.

Facts and Stats on the Stanley Cup

35. The Stanley Cup was first awarded in 1893.

The Stanley Cup was commissioned in 1892 and awarded a year later to the Montreal Hockey Club. It was actually named after the Canadian Governor-General, Lord Stanley of Preston, who donated the trophy to the country’s best amateur hockey club. 

The Stanley Cup is the oldest trophy given to the winner of a professional sports franchise in the US and Canada and one of the most important championships in the world of hockey. 

36. 15 women have had their names engraved on the Stanley Cup.

The first woman to get her name engraved on the famous Stanley Cup was Marguerite Norris in 1955 as the President of the Detroit Red Wings.

The most recent woman to receive this honour was Colorado Avalanche’s Senior Director of Hockey Administration, Charlotte Grahame, whose name was added in 2001.

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37. Who has the highest number of Stanley Cups?

One of the oldest teams in the world of hockey, the Montreal Canadiens have more Stanley Cup wins than any other team.

The Canadiens have won the Cup 24 times, including five times in a row between 1956 and 1960. Their biggest competition, the Toronto Maple Leafs, have the second-highest number of wins—a total of 13.

Final Words

Hockey is an incredibly dynamic sport, both for those who play it, the fans that follow it and the punters who love to place bets on this fast-paced game.

But as the stats and facts about hockey above show, it is also a sport with a long history, quirky traditions and committed players that is guaranteed to win the hearts of sports fans everywhere for many years to come. 

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