Origins of Hockey in BC

Posted by Daniel on Nov 15, 2009

Chuck Davis writes:


The days are getting colder now, but you may find some solace in knowing that on January 9, 1862 the Fraser River froze over from Lulu Island to Hope. You could walk from one side of the river to the other. In fact, the first reference to hockey being played in British Columbia notes the game was played on the frozen surface of the Fraser during this brutal cold snap. “Hockey sticks were fashioned from cedar,” wrote John Cherrington in The Fraser Valley: A History, “and the male portion of the population—bureaucrats, parsons, storekeepers, woodsmen and Indians alike were all engaged in this exciting game upon the broad river.” The local native people said it was the coldest winter in their history.


“Cattle and horses died along the upper river,” Cherrington tells us, “and some settlers starved to death.”


In his memoirs, the Reverend John Sheepshanks—who had taken part in that hockey game—wrote: "I cannot easily comb my hair, for it is frozen together. All the bed clothes near my mouth are stiff with ice. When one proceeds to breakfast, the cups and saucers are stuck hard to the cupboard. The bread is frozen, and must be put into the oven before it can be eaten."


Feel warmer now?