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Diaspora - 3 March 2019

Playing with Sticks

As the designated "Tom Boy" in the family, I did sit with my Dad when he watched ice hockey on his old black and white TV.  I cannot say I ever understood the rules.  Very much like rugby, I was never sure what was going on.  (Really... why do they climb on another player's back...).

Fast forward about 40 years, and I had an opportunity to learn more about ice hockey when the company I worked for, Thomson Reuters, took my group to Toronto, Ontario for a work meeting.  Now let me paint a picture for you:  2 large commercial bus loads of women, all educated with law degrees, all law school teachers, all "girly-girls."  There were perhaps 2 men in "upper management" from our group who had decided that for our closing cocktail party meeting, we should all go to the Ice Hockey Hall of Fame.  Yeah, 2 bus loads of women - Ice Hockey Hall of Fame.  I was only slightly amused.  My work mates were saying less than lady-like things about the venue.  But as I looked in the gift store for something to redeem this horrible idea, I did find a red ball cap to give to my dad with the Swiss Ice Hockey team logo sewed onto the front that would honor my Dad's heritage.  I also noted many, many different ball caps from countries around the globe, including Scotland.

And so now the point of this blog entry:  Scotland and the game of Ice Hockey.  According to Wiki, ice hockey was officially introduced to Scotland in the 20th century.   Fellow Canadians call it "Shinty" or "Hurling."  Shinty is the national stick game in Scotland.  So there appears to be a connection between Shinty - a Scottish team game played with sticks and a ball and ice hockey (wait for it, I am getting to it).  Shinty is similar to our field hockey, but also very different because in Shinty, the stick can be raised into the air, and both sides of the stick can be used to manipulate the ball.  If you are an American, think field hockey vs. lacrosse, and more bruises about the shoulders and head with the raised stick.  (I have my own personal experience with this, which is why I went back to soccer.)

Shinty was played primarily in the Highlands.  The Irish version, hurling, as well as the Welsh version, bando all have their own rules.  Similar, and yet not.  But there is a ruling Camanachd Association that has combined rules for both Hurling as well as Shinty that allows Irish and Scottish teams to play each other.

Now for ice hockey.  In Scotland, there was another game played - Bandy.  Similar to Shinty, but played on ice, the word Bandy is Scottish Gaelic for "Ice Shinty." So there you have it.  The Scots might have actually invented the game of ice hockey.

And are there differences?  Yes.  Hockey plays with a flat puck.  Bandy uses a ball.  Bandy uses 11 players for a team and hockey only has 6 players on the ice.

Wiki is conflicted on the origins.  The Russians claim it.  The Scots claim it.  As for me, I'll go with the Scots.  

And now for a list of Scottish ice hockey teams:

Aberdeen Lynx
Dundee Comets
Dundee Tigers
Kilmarnock Thunder
Kirkcaldy Kestrels
Murrayfield Racers
North Ayrshire Wild
Paisley Pirates
Solway Stingrays.


For more information on Scottish Ice Hockey, start here:

Photo below from Wiki




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