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The word ‘Hockey’ is thought to have evolved from the Middle French word ‘hoquet’, meaning a shepherd’s stave...

Hockey 101

Hockey has been around for over 4,000 years, and variations of the sport can be seen in many diverse cultures around the world. Carvings have been found depicting hockey-like games from ancient Egypt and Greece.

The modern forms of Hockey that we know and love today really only began to grow from the English public school system of the 19th Century. The first recognised Hockey Club began in 1849 in London and it was only a matter of time until Wales became involved, with hockey introduced around the 1890s.

Over the years, hockey became a popular and successful sport in British schools and universities, both with males and females. 

 

A marble relief from Athens showing Ancient Greeks participating in a version of Hockey

Etymology

The word ‘Hockey’ is thought to have evolved from the Middle French word ‘hoquet’, meaning a shepherd’s stave. Because these had curved or hooked ends, the name likely came from the appearance resembling these staves.

The first recorded use of the modern word is from a Royal Proclamation by King Edward III of England in 1363. This document actually banned several sports, including hockey.

Where

As mentioned, hockey has been a sport that cultures all across the world have taken an interest in: 

  • Derivatives of hockey could be found in 13th Century Ireland.
  • Greece would often play games using horn-like sticks around 600 BC.
  • The Daur people of Mongolia have been playing a game similar to hockey for at least 1000 years.
  • Field hockey is one of the most enduring and popular forms in the world, played everywhere from South Africa to the UK.

Interesting things you might not know about Field Hockey

  • At the 2012 Olympic Games, field hockey was the third most watched sport.
  • Men’s field hockey produces the fastest swing speed in any sport, anywhere - 103 miles per hour.
  • Heath Ledger, Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Watson played field hockey growing up.
  • Only one side of the stick may be used during play. Also, there are no left handed sticks available in field hockey.