(From left to right) IIHF President René Fasel, Canadiens President Pierre Boivin, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay and Senator Michael Fortier.
MONTREAL -- There’s no denying Montreal’s impact on the game of hockey and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and Canadian government made that official by unveiling commemorative plaques celebrating the city’s role in the origins of the game.
On Thursday afternoon, Montreal Canadiens President Pierre Boivin welcomed Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay, IIHF President René Fasel and Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson to the Bell Centre to reveal the special plaques honoring both hockey pioneer James Creighton and the famed Victoria Skating Rink. The joint initiative is a fitting salute to the man widely regarded as the “Founding Father of Hockey” and the site heralded as the birthplace of hockey.
Creighton is credited with organizing the world’s first indoor hockey game at Montreal’s Victoria Skating Rink on March 3, 1875. He went on to captain a team that played regularly, inspiring others to do the same, and thus laying foundations for the rapid development and popularization of organized hockey.
“The evolution of hockey, like any sport, was – and is – an incremental process, and James Creighton deserves recognition because he formalized the game, bringing it indoors, establishing fixed teams (originally nine players a side) and helping create the first written code, from which today’s rulebook is descended,” said Prime Minister Harper. “The plaque we’re unveiling today will ensure that his contributions to hockey are known to future generations of Canadians.”
In 2002, the IIHF officially recognized the Victoria Skating Rink as the birthplace of organized hockey and the world governing body pursued the opportunity to follow up the recognition with the unveiling of the plaque as part of the IIHF’s 100th Anniversary celebrations.