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This detailed account of an 1877 match in Montréal includes hockey’s earliest written rules. Except for the use of the word “ice” in Rule 5, the rules were identical to those of field hockey.
Yesterday afternoon eight gentlemen of the St. James' and eight of the Metropolitan Clubs took part in a Hockey match at the Victoria Skating Rink for the above object.
The names of the St. James' men were Messrs. E. A. Whitehead (Captain), Fred. Hart (Goal-keeper), J. A. Gordon, F. M. David, Lutherland, G. T. Galt, George Hope and Frank Bond.
Metropolitan Club: Messrs. J. G. A. Creighton (Captain), R. S. Esdaile (Goal-keeper), W. Barnston, J. B. Abbott, Hy. Joseph, G. G. Geddes and C. Gilder. It will be noted this Club played one man short.
Umpires: For the St. James' Col. Hutton; For the Metropolitan Mr. D. H. Andrews.
Referee: -- Mr. C. E. Torrance.
Colors: St. James' blue and white; Metropolitan, red and black.
1. The game shall be commenced and renewed by a Bully in the centre of the ground. Goals shall be changed after each game.
2. When a player hits the ball, any one of the same side who at such a moment of hitting is nearer to the opponents' goal line is out of play and may not touch the ball himself, or in any way whatever prevent any other player from doing so, until the ball has been played. A player must always be on his own side of the ball.
3. The ball may be stopped, but not carried or knocked on by any part of the body. No player shall raise his stick above his shoulder. Charging from behind, tripping, collaring, kicking or shinning shall not be allowed.
4. When the ball is hit behind the goal line by the attacking side, it shall be brought out straight 15 yards, and started again by a Bully; but, if hit behind by any of the side whose goal line it is, a player of the opposite side shall it out from within one yard of the nearest corner, no player of the attacking side at that time shall be within 20 yards of the goal line, and the defenders, with the exception of the goal-keeper, must be behind their goal line.
5. When the ball goes off at the side, a player of the opposite side to that which hit it out shall roll it out from the point on the boundary line at which it went off at right angles with the boundary line, and it shall not be in play until it has touched the ice, and the player rolling it in shall not play it until it has been played by another player, every player being then behind the ball.
6. On the infringement of any of the above rules, the ball shall be brought back and a Bully shall take place.
7. All disputes shall be settled by the Umpires, or in the event of their disagreement, by the Referee.
commenced at 4:30 and continued for three-quarters of an hour at a stretch, the total result of the games to be called at the termination of the second three-quarters of an hour. The ice was soft and the general condition of the rink was not favorable for good play. Probably in no game is there to be seen so much "bullying" as in this. Indeed, the "bully" is indispensable, for without, hockey is a thing of naught. However, the term, although not euphonious, is merely a technical one, with which every hockey player is familiar.
The St. James' men soon distinguished themselves through their captain, who turned a complete somersault, which, doubtless, under other circumstances, he would never have thought it possible he could achieve. Even a professional acrobat would have envied that well formed body describing a circle through space and alighting with an ominous thump on the wet and soft ice. Galt, on the same side, was the next to fall, and he fell nobly, while his stick got between another man's legs in the most extraordinary manner. And then came the fun. To an outsider the falls seemed to be an important part of the game. It was soon seen that the St. James' men were not sound on their legs, although the sound on their sticks could be heard all over the building. It was a good moral sight to see the disappointment which several shaky gentlemen experienced in falling to get at the ball. The interest soon became concentrated at the west end goals (the St. James'), and fruitless efforts were made to get the ball through, but thanks to the energy of the St. James' goalkeeper, and the length of his body, he kept it at a safe distance from the flags. Here Joseph made some fine play, and Whitehead distinguished himself by knocking the ball, and we were about to add a player too, almost out of time. Geddes soon came to the rescue, and toying with the ball in his peculiar and graceful way, succeeded in putting it through the goal and scoring the first game for the Metropolitans. Time, 15 minutes.
The St.James' men looked disappointed but hopeful, and went to work with a will. But their legs were "onreliable" and went under, leaving them deposited on the ice while the ball was -- somewhere else. During several of these melees, Hart saved the game by his elongated stopping, but unfortunately for the St. James' men, Creighton made some admirable play into Geddes' hands, who put the ball through in a twinkling, thus scoring the second game for the Metropolitans. Time, 3 minutes.
Whitehead now changed places with Hart, and kept goal, the former playing forward. Gordon, of the St. James', here showed some good play, but alas for the frailty of the human understanding! down he went, and remained there for a minute. He got up and looked regretfully at the ball at the other end of the rink, and bided his time. David and Whitehead next got hold of it, but it again slipped through their fingers. Hart saved the goal several times and the contest became hot and keen, the St. James' men showing that they were on their metal, but the Metropolitans were too many for them, and Geddes again took the ball from their men and sent it through the goal for the third time, making the third game for his side. Time, 7 minutes.
was long and earnest. The goals were changed, and the St. James' men resolved either "to do or die". Hart proved to be the saviour of his side on half a dozen occasions, when by really clever playing he saved the ball passing the flag by purely physical exertion. "We haven't had a single chance of a goal yet," he remarked mournfully, and by way of reviving the energies of his side he issued stentorian instructions, but the energy of the St. James' men had become a thing of the past. Falls were frequent, and several unavoidable blows were exchanged instead of cards, with no other unpleasant results than a few bruises and much wet clothing. But fate seemed against the St. James' men and "time" was called at 6 o'clock when the Referee decided that the St. James' men had lost the match. In point of superiority the Metropolitans had decidedly the advantage as they were more active, better skaters, and played with some show of science. However, the next interesting point will be the dinner, which no doubt will be a good one and about which we presume there will not be two opinions.