7 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Hockey
Hockey players are on the ice for only one minute shifts. The workout of the game is one of the most intense in professional sports. Players say that the time on the ice is spent holding their breath. They are pushing and shoving so much that they feel they exhale almost the whole time they are on the ice.
Players don’t have time off in the off-season like they used to, either. The sport is so demanding that they do everything possible to stay in shape. Players can lose from 5 to 8 pounds in a single game. Of course most of the loss is water weight, but it causes the players to be very conscious of the amount of their fluid intake.
Goalies don’t make it to the bench as much as other players and can lose as much weight as a forward or defenseman. They began putting water bottles on top of the goals. Sometimes, the water bottles move when goals are made, and judges and announcers have actually used this more than once to determine if a goal counted or not!
Although modern ice hockey originated in Canada, it only has 6 teams in the NHL.
Though there have been several franchises lost and gained over the decades, the mid-90s may have been hardest on Canadian hockey fans. In consecutive years, two of Canada’s hockey franchises relocated to America: the Quebec Nordiques became the Colorado Avalanche in 1995 and the Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix to become the Coyotes the following year. This left only 6 teams in Canada: Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver - comprising just one-fifth of the entire league!
Any hockey fans in the house? Well just in case some of you aren’t, The Toronto Maple Leafs (yes Leafs, not Leaves ) is the name of a professional hockey team based in Toronto, Canada. Founded in 1917, the team is one of the original six league members. When the team was first established, it was christened the Toronto St.Patricks.
The franchise was sold in in 1929, and renamed the Toronto Maple Leaf Hockey Club (Toronto Maple Leafs for short), and given the team colors blue and white. The name was chosen to honor the Maple Leaf Regiment from World War 1. As the regiment is a proper noun, its plural is Maple Leafs (not Maple Leaves). Take that grammar Nazis.
Wayne Gretzky, nicknamed “The Great One”, is almost unanimously accepted as the greatest hockey player to every play the game, but have you ever wondered just how good Gretzky was? Gretzky first joined the NHL in 1979 and played for the Edmonton Oilers. Throughout his twenty-year career, Gretzky would play for four different teams and shatter nearly every record set before.
He remains the leading point-scorer in NHL history with 894 goals throughout his career. He finished with a total of 2,857 points, which is over 1000 more than Mark Messier who holds second place.
Amazingly, even if all of the nearly 900 goals he scored throughout his career were removed from his statistics, he would still hold first place for most points. He still holds the record of having more assists than any other player has points, and remains the only hockey player to total over 200 points in a single season!
We all know Wayne Gretzky, but his little brother Brent Gretzky was also played hockey for the Tampa Bay Lightning. During his 13-game career with Tampa Bay, Brent played against Wayne only once.
In the 15 times they faced off, Brent won once. Even though his career didn’t reach the success of his brother’s, Brent Gretzky went on to play for a variety of other leagues in Canada, USA, and Austria. He contributed 4 points to Wayne’s 2857 points, making them the highest scoring pair of brothers in the NHL. Brent had some success in the minor leagues, until he retired in 2008.
There was a woman in the NHL!
Manon Rhéaume played for the Tampa Bay Lightning in exhibition games: one against the St. Louis Blues during the 1992 preseason, and another against the Boston Bruins in the 1993 preseason. Though she only played for two games, this makes her the first and only woman ever to play for the NHL. For most of her career, this goaltender has played in the minor leagues, though she has also won silver medals for the Canadian Olympic women’s hockey team.