History Of Ice Hockey Sports

No one knows exactly when ice hockey originated, but there are plenty of fascinating facts about the sport that shed more light on it. It has come a long way since its earliest beginnings to the Olympic sport it is today.

  1. The Edinburgh Skating Club was founded in Scotland more than 350 years ago, and is thought to be the earliest example of such a club in the whole world.
  2. The ice hockey we play today is thought to have originated in Canada in the 19th century. Stick and ball games have always been popular (they’ve been played for many centuries) but the Canadians adapted them so they could play them throughout winter on the frozen waters there.
  3. The first official ice hockey game took place in Montreal way back in the 1880s. Montreal was also responsible for the first set of rules governing the game, and the first proper club organised for ice hockey players in the area.
  4. The first official set of rules was called the Montreal Rules, as they too were created in Montreal. These introduced a standard size for the ice rink the sport was played on.
  5. However the first ice rink that was artificially created for the sport happened a long way from Montreal. In fact it was created in London, England, in Chelsea. The first one in the US was in Baltimore.
  6. Women’s ice hockey became a serious concern early on in the late 1880s or early 1890s. Again this occurred in Canada.
  7. Ice hockey travelled over the seas from Canada and America to make a dedicated appearance in Europe from the 1900s onwards. This was really the beginning of the modern game and its progression to a sport that is played in many countries worldwide.
  8. The early years of the 20th century saw professional ice hockey make its debut. Before this the players were largely amateur and were not paid for the efforts they put in on the ice. But the popularity of the game and the fact it had fans in high places, such as Lord Stanley (The Stanley Cup is presented to the winners of the NHL players each year) for example, inevitably led to the development of the professional game.
  9. Ice hockey became a part of the Olympic Games in 1920, cementing its place as a popular sport in many countries. Ironically it was part of the Summer Olympics that year, only being transferred into the Winter Olympics four years later in 1924. However in the inaugural games in Antwerp, Canada took the gold medal, with the US in the silver medal position.
  10. The first leg pads worn by ice hockey players were actually cricket pads. Over the years they were developed and designed to provide more protection specifically for ice hockey players.
  11. While today’s players wear hockey jocks, no such protection was available for the earliest players. Instead, players in the early days started to wear hockey shorts with cane in the front to protect against a direct hit from a puck or hockey stick.
  12. It would not be until the 1930s that the first few helmets began to be worn on the ice, although they were few and far between. Far from being the type seen today, they were typically made of padded leather.

The Amazing History of NASCAR Racing

Did you know that NASCAR racing has an amazing history filled with bootleggers moonshiners, rednecks moguls, heroes losers, tragedy triumph? Frankly, it makes any other sport look dull.

NASCAR or the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing was officially founded in December 1947, but people had been racing for a long time before then. In fact, some say that the seeds of NASCAR racing were first planted way back in 1794 (yes, thats even before the car was invented).

To avoid taxes, pioneers started making their own whiskey and distributing it in secret. When the law finally crack down on this in the 1920s, the making of moonshine was big business. The bootleggers that distributed it all had to race across the countryside at high speeds, often at night, and usually with the law in pursuit.

Before long, the drivers began to challenge each other to see whos car was fastest. This was the start of motor racing, and the spectators werent far behind. In 1938, at Daytona Beach, Florida a race was held with a first prize of motor oil, cigars and rum. The organizer, a race fan by the name of Bill France, would later become the founder of NASCAR racing.

The first NASCAR race, as we know it today, was in 1949 at the Charlotte (N.C.) Fairgrounds. The winner was Glenn Dunnaway driving a 47 Ford, but he was later disqualified due to a shock wedge (an unauthorized part) which had been used earlier that week to increase the speed of the car on a bootleg run. The official winner of the first ever NASCAR race was Jim Roper, in a 49 Lincoln.

In 1950, the first superspeedway was built at Darlington, South Carolina and the first Southern 500 race was held there in the same year. Popularity increased and soon car manufacturers, oil and sparkplug companies realized that motor racing would help develop and sell their products – so the sponsorship money started pouring in.

Then in 1957, spectators were injured by crash debris and the sport was nearly stopped. But by the following year a hero had emerged in the form of Glenn Fireball Roberts, whose career boasted 32 race wins. An ex-baseball player, his nickname proved unfortunate, because thats exactly how Roberts was tragically killed. He died from burns caused by an explosion after a crash at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1964.

The turning point for NASCAR was the opening of the Daytona International Speedway in 1959. Again, the man behind it all was Bill France. Facing a mountain of criticism and risking everything he owned, he built a track twice as long as any track before it. Even better was the stadium he built around it, which meant that every person could see every part of the 2.5 mile circuit.

That year, the first Daytona 500 was a huge success. After five hundred miles, at breakneck speed and with fierce competition, Johnny Beauchamp driving a Ford was beaten by Lee Pettys Oldsmobile in a photo finish.

The race fans were hooked and the rest is NASCAR racing history.

Sport Sunglasses

You’ll find sunglasses for virtually every sport. Is that a good thing or a lot of marketing hooey? Are sunglasses for running really much different from sunglasses for volleyball? Well, if you love a sport and you value your eyes, you want targeted eyewear. The fact that sunglass manufacturers have dialed in exactly what you need for so many different sports really is good news.

But let’s be real about it. The trick is to understand what you REALLY need for your favorite sport, and then make an intelligent decision about wearing them for crossover use.

We’ll try to help. When we review sunglasses in any particular category, we’ll always cross-reference them. Chances are, those road-biking shades will do just fine for road-running as well.

What to look for in sport sunglasses:

UV protection. Duh. 100% UVA and UVB, aka 400-nanometer protection.

Plenty of wrap—8-base or 10-base for peripheral protection.

Impact-resistant lenses. That means polycarbonate, SR-91, or NXT (see THE QUICK GUIDE for the scoop on lens materials). Definitely NOT glass. Even good lenses can pop out of bad frames. Stick with major makers, like the ones reviewed on this site. If the maker states that the shades pass the ANSI Z-97.1 standards for high-mass and high-velocity impact, excellent. That means they’ve survived rigorous testing.

Lens clarity. You and your sport shades are likely to get cozy for some long stints. They better be sharp—for at least two reasons: a.) Crummy shades will strain your eyes, make you feel fatigued and headachey, and you may not even know why. You just won’t have as much fun as you should. b.) Clarity could be critical. Whether you’re skiing, playing golf, mountain biking, or fly-fishing, you need to read details. If the shades don’t impress you at a glance, they’ll be worse later. How else can you judge clarity? It’s tricky. Price is a fairly good indicator, but not always. Read up or ask salespeople about the lenses—do they use “decentered” technology? That means each lens is subtly thicker in the middle and tapered to the outside so that incoming light waves reach your eye at the same time. The result: no eyestrain, and a crystal-sharp image. Makers of cheap shades don’t bother.

QUICK FIELD TEST FOR LENS CLARITY: Stand outside and stare at a stop sign. Switch between glasses. See how the white is affected by the lens tint. How crisp is the “P”? Is there a blur inside the “O”? Hold the glasses at arm’s length and look at a distant vertical line. Move the glasses up and down and side to side. Does the line stay straight? Most important, though, is how the view looks to you. Try lots of shades. One will stand out, bring the world into crisp focus. That’s the one you want.

Comfort and fit. Sport shades have to remain securely on your face. Move your face around, emulating your sport if possible. The temples need to squeeze your mandibles without causing pain. Nonslip rubber on the temple ends are a worthy bonus. Nonslip rubber on the nosepiece is indispensable. The frame needs to flex readily, with much more give than you’d want in street shades.

The tint you want. There’s no “right” tint for sport shades. I favor brown, copper, or rose for sports such as cycling when I might start out in low light. Those tints are bright and contrasty. But for a long day in bright sunshine, I favor a relaxing gray or green.

The right light. Don’t get lenses too light or too dark for the job. The sweet spot for visible light transmission (VLT) is right around 12% for most sports. Darker than 10% is for intense conditions like glacier travel. Lighter then 25% is for special situations like fly-fishing in mottled shade or mountain biking in the woods. Of course, interchangeable lenses can carry you through any situation, and photochromic lenses can carry you through most. Read on….

Interchangeable lenses. Good old-fashioned sport shields with interchangeable lenses give you a lens for every situation. A typical shield comes with three lenses: a gray for bright sun, yellow or copper for low light, and clear for cloudy days or nighttime. Will you really take the time to switch them out? A question worth asking. And how easy are they to swap? Most require a Tab A into Slot B process that can be tough on the fumble-fingered or vision-impaired, and you’ll smear grubby fingerprints all over the lens. Still, it’s the best way to guarantee that you’ll have exactly the right lens when you need it.

Photochromic lenses. Lenses that darken in bright light are gradually overtaking interchangeables. Start out early in the morning and the lens might permit, for example, 25% visible light transmission, and darken to 10% when the sun comes out. Not as much range as interchangeables, but a lot more convenient. Don’t look for miracles from photochromics. They can take several minutes to lighten, meaning you might feel Mr. Magooish when you mountain bike from sun to woods. Their range is limited. Don’t expect them to swing from clear to glacier-glass dark. Typical visible light transmission ranges are 16% at the dark end to 40% at the light end, or 13% to 30% or 10% to 25%—fine for normal circumstances, but too dark for, say, bike riding at dusk. The greater the range the better—but lens reaction time will be slower. And no matter what, you pay a premium for the convenience of photochromics.

Polarized lenses. Glare-cutting polarization is seldom a necessity for sport shades, but why not have it? Its main benefit is subduing stabbing glare off water, but it’s also comforting on a long road-bike ride or a cross-country ski jaunt across a sunlit meadow. It’s becoming more common on less-expensive shades, but be warned: Cheap polarization is a pale imitation of the real deal.