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On March 3, 1875, indoor ice hockey makes its public debut in Montreal, Quebec. After weeks of training at the Victoria Skating Rink with his friends, Montreal resident James Creighton advertised in the March 3 edition of the Montreal Gazette that “A game of hockey will be played in the Victoria Skating Rink this evening between two nines chosen from among the members.” Prior to the move indoors, ice hockey was a casual outdoor game, with no set dimensions for the ice and no rules regarding the number of players per side. The Victoria Skating Rink was snug, so Creighton limited the teams to nine players each.

Ice hockey was initially thought too dangerous a game to play, as the ball was difficult to control on the ice. For the 1875 Montreal game, the ball was replaced with a wooden disc, now known as a puck. The disc was less likely to fly off the ice, and was less dangerous to both players and spectators. Creighton also instituted an early off-sides rule, mandating that there be no forward passing ahead of the player with the puck. The Montreal Gazette reported the next day that the first ice hockey game at Victoria Skating Rink attracted 40 spectators. Ice hockey then caught fire in Montreal, and in 1877 Creighton published rules to the game, known as Montreal Rules. Canada’s now legendary national passion for ice hockey was ignited, and the new sport began to spread across the country.

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Jon

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