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Sports Then and Now



A History of Outdoor Hockey 1

Posted on December 09, 2013 by Scott Huntington

The sport of Hockey has its roots on the frozen ponds and lakes of North America, and many of today’s top players grew up learning the sport on local canals and other outdoor rinks. Invented by Canadians in the late 1700’s, and first referenced in print in 1799, the game had always been an outdoor sport. It wasn’t for almost another hundred years that Ice Hockey would first move inside, where it has largely remained ever since.

The first indoor game was held on March 3rd, 1875 in Montreal, Quebec at Victoria Skating Center, and was viewed as a novelty event. However, the indoor version of the game took off, and by 1920, Olympic Hockey was inside, although the 1924 Games were once again outdoors. International Championships would range between indoor and outdoor until the mid 1950’s, including an outdoor Gold Medal game in 1957 between Sweden and the Soviet Union, which boasted 55,000 people in attendance, a record that stood for 40 years.

The NHL has always been a strictly indoor league, but there have been a few notable exceptions. The first such game is probably the most curious, as the 1954 Detroit Red Wings accepted an invitation to play the inmates of the Marquette State Prison in a friendly scrimmage on a rink built by Warden’s mate Oakie Brumm. The Wings defeated the Marquette Prison Pirates soundly. So soundly no one remembers the final score, although it was 18-0 after the 1st period. The Wings even swapped a few players with the inmates to even it up a bit.

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Winter Walkoff: Bruins Have Classic Comeback At Fenway 3

Posted on January 02, 2010 by Joe Gill

Marco Sturm etched his name in Boston Sports lore with his Winter Classic clincher.

The Winter Classic lived up to all the hype and then some. It truly was a spectacle and made hockey relevant in this country again. It was a needed shot in the arm for a sport that has been taking up the rear behind baseball, football, and basketball for years.

Personally, I was very excited just to WATCH this game. I watched the Winter Classics in Chicago and snowy Buffalo, but now it was in my backyard at Fenway Park.

I was down at Mohegan Sun and MGM at Foxwoods for New Years. My whole departure was planned around this game.

One of the cashiers at the MGM said to me after seeing my Bruins cap, “I hope you make it home before the game.”

Me too, but those one armed bandits put their magical spell even over the most die hard Bruins fan.

My girlfriend said, “It’s 11:30am.” I told her to give my version of the two hour warning, but I didn’t listen.

I was going to miss some of the game!

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Bill Freehan: Michigan Man
      May 12, 2018 | 6:21 pm

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was an 11-time American League All-Star at one of the most demanding positions in baseball, yet outside of Detroit his exploits have been largely forgotten.

      For more than a decade, Bill Freehan was the rock behind home plate for the Detroit Tigers. In addition to earning All-Star honors 10 straight years and 11 times overall, Freehan was a five-time Gold Glove winner and in 1968 finished second in the American League in the MVP voting.

      A true “Michigan Man”, Freehan played his entire sports career representing teams from Michigan.

      Read more »

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