"Last evening in all the storm, the lovers of hockey could be seen on Quidi Vidi Lake enjoying the "roarin' game". If there was a storm in town there was nothing less than a hurricane raging with a blinding snow-drift on the pond. Several received some nasty hits and falls, but none were seriously injured, and everyone seemed to have enjoyed himself immensely" [Evening Telegram - December 30, 1896]
Newfoundland & Labrador (NL) hockey has over a century of heritage since our first organized games on Quidi Vidi Lake in the Capital city of St. John's beginning in 1896. Our hockey pioneers were resilient hockeyists who had a passion for the game. Many of these hockeyists were Canadians from Montreal and Halifax. A group of these pioneers formed our first hockey club in the fall of 1895, arranged the first NL hockey games the following winter and the island's first hockey association by 1898. In the decades that followed many challenges were faced, including economic and geographic, but the game continued to advance.
The completion of a trans-island railway in 1898, construction of airports and completion of the trans-Canada highway across the island in 1965 connected our communities and led to island-wide organization of hockey. NL's first league was formed less than three years after those the first outdoor games on Quidi Vidi Lake. The newly formed seven-team league debuted inside the new Prince of Wales Rink in early February 1899. Within a few years hockey's popularity spread into Conception Bay at Brigus, Bay Roberts and Harbour Grace and on Bell Island. In 1912 hockey was organized in Grand Falls and, in the late 1920s, at Corner Brook and Buchans.
Another boost to Newfoundland and Labrador hockey development was the opening of a number of RCAF and American bases during the second World War. Bases in Goose Bay, and on the island in a number of communities from Port-aux-Basques to St. John's, brought an influx of personnel who built rinks and organized hockey leagues, In the following decades the game spread to southern and northern regions of the island and into Labrador. Today more than 9,000 of our youth play in 45 minor hockey associations and thousands more NLers play in men's, women's and junior leagues.