From frozen cow poop to trophy typos and octopus throwing, you probably have no idea there's more to hockey than gliding across the ice wielding hockey sticks. The origins of the fast-paced hockey game may not be clear, but there are plenty of fascinating tidbits in its shadow.
Here are some fun facts about hockey:
1. Octopus Throwing
During the 1952 playoff games, two American fishmonger brothers brought a live octopus – complete with its 8 tentacles – to the Detroit arena, and threw it onto the ice. Interestingly, The Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup, and the octopus has been a good luck charm for the Red Wings ever since.
2. Frozen Cow Poop
Necessity, as they say, is the mother of all inventions. It couldn't have been further from the truth when, in the early days, players used a frozen patty of cow poop as a puck. They may have needed several of them in a single game because cow poop isn't exactly the best material for a puck, disintegrating every now and then under hits from the improvised hockey sticks of the time.
3. Slapshot Pete – Penguin in the Mix
The Pittsburgh Penguins could have gone into overdrive when they decided to live up to their name. It's said the team once had a live penguin as their mascot, appropriately named Slapshot Pete. You can imagine fan reaction when a breathing penguin waddles across the ice before a match.
4. When Winners Forgot the Trophy
As unbelievable as it sounds, the Montreal Canadiens players once drove to their Stanley Cup victory party without the trophy in 1924. The jubilant players had the Cup in the trunk of their car, alright, but somewhere along the way, the vehicle got a flat. They stopped to change the tire, but had to remove the trophy before getting the spare tire.
After changing the tires, the players jumped back into the car, forgetting the trophy on a snowbank. It was not until later that night that they realized their mistake, and rushed back to get the Cup. Luckily, it was still there!
5. Typos on the Trophy
Typos occur anywhere, but no one expects them on a trophy cup! As it turns out, the engravings on the Stanley Cup have a few glaring misspellings. It isn't clear why the engraver wrote "Leaes" instead of "Leafs", and "Bqstqn" in the place of "Boston". What's even more baffling is that no one bothered to correct the obvious typos.
6. The Origin of Puck Drop
You probably have no idea what prompted referees to start dropping the puck between players' sticks for face-offs. The practice began in 1906, and before then, referees would place the puck on the ice between the players' sticks. The first few moments of the game would turn into a raw war, resulting in cuts and bruises to the players. The rules had to be changed to prevent such injuries, and the puck drop era began.
7. Grasshopper Invasion
The first outdoor hockey game in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1991 wasn't without a hitch. Hundreds of grasshoppers joined the fray during the third period. The match continued, and in the last five minutes of the game, players noticed the bugs had begun to swarm the ice.
8. Fan on the Ice
Have you ever asked yourself what would happen if a team's two goalies got injured during the game? The rules of the game say that anybody can play that position – including fans from inside the arena.
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