BlackFacts Details

The Coloured Hockey League of the Maritimes (1890s-1920s)

Nova Scotia is considered the place of origin of modern icehockey. The quantity of natural ponds ideal for skating, combined with theBritish gaming tradition helped facilitate the geographic and social conditionsnecessary for the development and creation of the game now known as Canadianhockey.

The roots of Canadian hockey originated with the NorthAmerican Indians but early African-Canadian players also helped shape thesport. By the mid-1890s, in an era when many believed blacks could not endurethe cold, these African-Canadian athletes defied myths and developed arevolutionary style of hockey that was fast moving, tough, acrobatic, exciting,and entertaining.

During the late 1890s games between black club teams inNova Scotian towns and cities were arranged by formal invitation. By 1900,however, the Coloured Hockey League of the Maritimes was created and washeadquartered in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The Colored Hockey League produced players and athletescomparable to any in Canada. These Black Nova Scotians changed this winter gamefrom the primitive gentlemans past-time of the nineteenth century to themodern fast moving game of today. Led by skilled and educated leadership, theColoured League emerged as a premier force in Canadian hockey and supplied theresilience necessary to preserve a unique sports culture that still exists.Unfortunately, their contributions were ignored as hockey players copiedelements of the black style and often took credit for black hockey innovations.

Some of these innovations important to the modern game ofice hockey included the slap-shot and the practice of goalies going down onthe ice in order to stop the puck. Despite these and other importantcontributions to todays game of hockey, there are no monuments to the ColouredHockey League of the Maritimes. 

Although the League continued to be prominent until themid-1920s, racism, World War I, and dramatic changes in the Nova Scotianeconomy all played a part in the Leagues demise. Nonetheless the ColouredHockey League of the Maritimes