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Misc. Trivia

Game equipment

What is the puck made of?
The puck is made of vulcanized rubber, weighing in at six ounces and is three inches in diameter. Pucks are frozen before entering play to make them bounce resistant.

Jerseys/Sweaters
The jersey is sometimes called a sweater because, during hockey's early years, players actually wore sweaters and not the mesh-like jerseys of today.


The ice surface

How thick is the ice?
Ice is approximately 3/4" of an inch thick and is usually chilled at 16 degrees fahrenheit. The thicker the ice, the softer and slower it becomes.

How are the markings applied to the ice?
The markings (lines, circles, creases, etc.) are painted onto a half-inch thick sheet of ice, which is sprayed onto a concrete floor that has frozen pipes imbedded. An additional coating is applied to secure the markings and build the ice up to the prescribed thickness.

Why is the red line broken?
In the days of black and white television it was difficult to differentiate between the red and blue lines, hence the broken red line.


Nicknames

The Canadiens / The "Habs"
In 1924, Madison Square Garden owner Tex Rickard was falsely told by someone that the "H" stood for "habitant", a French word that in those days was used to denote the farmers of Quebec.

Rickard was told that the French players on the team came from the farms and that they were therefore "habitants" or "habs". At the time, the Canadiens were recognized as the French team of Montreal as opposed to the Montreal Maroons, the English team.

On a side note, the Montreal logo of the C wrapped around the H stands for Club de Hockey Canadien. In 1917, at the founding of the NHL, the Canadiens changed their name to that from the previous Club Athletique Canadien.

"Original Six"
The survivors of a league that had grown at times to as many as 10 franchises, and had seen teams change names and cities with regularity in the 1920's and 30's, would settle in an era of stability, known as the age of the "Original Six." The Red Wings, the Blackhawks, the Rangers, the Canadiens, the Bruins, and the Leafs; these few teams would symbolize hockey for fans across North America.


NHL firsts and lasts

50 goal scorer
Maurice Richard was the first player to score fifty goals in one season. He reached the 50 goal mark in 50 games in the 1944-45 season.

Games in the NHL
The first NHL games were played on December 19, 1917. The Montreal Wanderers defeated the Toronto Arenas, 10-9, and the Montreal Canadiens defeated the Ottawa Senators, 7-4.

Goalie to score
On November 28, 1979, Billy Smith became the first goaltender in NHL history to be credited with a goal.

Goaltender scoring
Goalie Date Opponent Final Score
Billy Smith, NYI Nov 28, 1979 @ Colorado NYI 4, COL 7
Ron Hextall, PHI Dec 8, 1987 vs Boston BOS 2, PHI 5
Ron Hextall, PHI Apr 11, 1989 * @ Washington PHI 8, WAS 5
Chris Osgood, DET Mar 6, 1996 @ Hartford DET 4, HFD 2
Martin Brodeur, NJD Apr 17, 1997 * vs Montreal MTL 2, NJD 5
Damian Rhodes, OTT Jan 2, 1999 vs New Jersey NJD 0, OTT 6
Martin Brodeur, NJD Feb 15, 2000 vs Philadelphia PHI 2, NJD 4
Jose Theodore, MTL Jan 2, 2001 @ NY Islanders MTL 3, NYI 0
Evgeni Nabokov, SJS Mar 10, 2002 @ Vancouver SJS 7, VAN 4
Mika Noronen, BUF Feb 14, 2004 @ Toronto BUF 6, TOR 4
Chris Mason, NAS Apr 15, 2006 vs Phoenix NAS 5, PHX 1
* denotes Playoff game

Goalie with a mask
Clint Benedict was the first goalie to ever wear a mask, after a shot by Howie Mornez knocked him unconscious back in 1927. The mask was made out of leather, but when wearing it he could not see low shots, so it didn't last.

It wasn't until November 1, 1959, when Jaques Plante of the Montreal Canadians became the second goalie to put on a mask. Plante had been using his self made creations during practice but knew it wasn't an accepted idea to use one in a real game. However, when Andy Bathgate's shot clipped him in the head, Plante refused to go back on the ice without a mask. After a long fight Toe Blake, the Canadians' coach, let him wear it and the rest is history.

Goalie without a mask
Andy Brown, then with the Pittsburgh Penguins, 1973-74.

Goalie and team captain to win the Cup
Charlie Gardiner, Chicago Black Hawks, 1933-34.

Player from the U.S.A.
The first United States-born NHL player was Billy Burch, who was born in Yonkers, NY, on November 20, 1900. He played for the Hamilton Tigers, the New York Americans,the Boston Bruins, and the Chicago Blackhawks.

Pulling the goalie
It was the New York Rangers who first pulled their goaltender for an extra skater, either 1939-40 or 1940-41. Frank Boucher, the club's coach at the time is generally credited with the innovation.

Sudden death overtime
Sudden death OT was a regular feature of the NHL going back as far as the 1930s. Because of wartime restrictions on train travel, it was discontinued in 1942. Modern day overtime was re-introduced for the 1983-84 season.

Woman to play an NHL game
On Wednesday, September 23rd, 1992, Manon Rheaume made sports history by being the first woman to play in one of the four major sports leagues in the United States. She goaltended for the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League in a pre-season game against the St. Louis Blues.


Other trivia

The Detroit octopus
The octopus first made its appearance on April 15, 1952, during the Red Wings' Stanley Cup playoff run.

Two Detroit brothers, Pete and Jerry Cusimano, who were fishmongers in the Eastern Market, threw one on the ice at Olympia Stadium. Each tentacle of the octopus was symbolic of a win in the playoffs. Back then, the NHL consisted of just the original six teams, and eight wins (two best-of-seven series) were needed to win the Stanley Cup. The Red Wings swept the series that year, and the octopus has come to be the good luck charm ever since.

The tradition carried over to Joe Louis Arena on opening night in 1979 when several of the cephalopods found their way onto the ice.

During the 1995 playoffs, Bob Dubisky and Larry Shotwell, co-workers at a meat and seafood retail company near Detroit, tossed a 38-pound octopus onto the ice during the National Anthem prior to Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. The year after, the duo struck again with a 50-pounder in the Conference Finals. Although the feat received no air time on the nationally broadcast game, the octopus was proudly displayed on the hood of the Zamboni between periods.

Hat trick
When a player scores his third goal of a game, fans usually throw hats on the ice. Rumor has it that a Toronto haberdasher gave players in the 1940s free hats if they would score three goals in a game. The term however, probably evolved from cricket. In 1858 a cricket player in England took three wickets with consecutive balls, an incredible trick. As a reward, his club gave the bowler a new hat, hence the name "hat trick". A natural hat trick is when a player scores three goals in a game, in a row. That is to say that no other player on either team scores in between.

The Stanley Cup
The Stanley Cup, the oldest trophy which professional athletes in North America vie for, is hockey's crown jewel, and some say, the Holy Grail of sports. It contains the names of every team -- and most of the players -- who have won since 1893. The Cup weighs 36 pounds and stands 35 1/4 inches high.



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