The world's first photo of a hockey team:  the McGill University team in 1881 at the Crystal Palace Rink in Montreal.

 

Structured Ice Hockey originated in the mid-1800's in the eastern parts of Canada.  James G Creighton, from Nova Scotia, is generally credited with having take the do called "Halifax-Rules" to montreal in the 1870's where they eventually were altered to the McGill-rules".  Creighton was instrumental in organising what today is considered as the first organised game of hockey.

On March 3rd, 1875, Captain Crighton's McGill defeated Fred Torrence's Vistoria team 2 "games" (i.e. goals) to 1.  It was the first known game which wae pre-announced, where two named teams played on a confined ice arena (a rink), where allnames of the players were recorded as well as the score and the game was played with "a flat circular piece of wood", a puck.  The game was played at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal.

The evolution of the puck.........

1800 - Hurley Ball, called 'Sliotar' used as Ice Hurley began in Windsor the Hurley Ball was used as Ice Hurley began in Nova Scotia but, because a ball is largely unmanageable on ice, it was soon replaced with a flat wooden puck as the game evolved into Ice Hockey. Ice Hockey is the only game that uses a "puck". There is documented evidence that Nova Scotians used wooden pucks from at least the 1860s and likely before. As Nova Scotia's game of Ice Hockey was adopted in Montreal in 1875, a wooden puck was used in the earliest games.

Although wooden pucks were free and easily obtained, young Nova Scotia boys often used other objects as substitutes, including heels from their boots, compressed tin cans, lumps of coal, and frozen horse droppings which they referred to as 'horse puckies', or 'horse apples'. With horses being commonly used for transortation of goods in Canada's towns and cities well into the 1950s, horse puckies were easy for young hockeyists to find on the main streets and fields all across the nation.

 

Hard 'vulcanized' rubber was available since its invention in 1839 by Charles Goodyear, but was not considered for use as a puck material until the late 1880s.

Kingston's Rubber Puck 

The first one generally known to be used was in Kingston, Ontario as teams from the Royal Military College and Queen's University took up the game in 1886.

 

Whereas regulation rubber pucks measure three inches in diameter and one inch in thickness, children's smaller pucks were common in the 1920s-50s and measured 2 1/2" x 3/4".

 All pucks were not regulation size and shape in the early part of the 1900s. Photos of teams taken as the seasons ended often revealed the type of sticks, protective equipment, uniforms and pucks used by the players. Several such photos show pucks with rolled edges.

An Oddity - A Rolled Edge Puck

Two years later, on January 31st 1877, the McGill University in Montreal formed the first organised hockey team an on February 27th, the Montreal Gazette published the first Ice Hockey Rules - seven in all.

The first ice hockey games in Europe were played at the Prince's skating club in Knoghtsbridge England, in 1902.  In 1905, Belgium an France played two international games on March 4th.  Three years later, the LIHG (later became the IIHF) was founded in Paris, France.

The Society for International Hockey Research (SIHR) has the following definition for Ice Hockey:  Hockey is a game played on an Ice rinkin which two opposing teams of skaters, using curved sticks, trying to drive a small isc into or through the oppositions's goals.