The road to the Stanley Cup began here
DELINE - THE BIRTHPLACE OF HOCKEY
As the National Hockey League playoffs begin maybe its time your group plans a visit to Deline, Northwest Territories, Canada. Our small remote aboriginal community situated on the shores of Great Bear Lake in the middle of the Northwest Territories, claims its place in the Hockey Hall of Fame as the place of the first recorded ice hockey game in North America.
“In the winter of 1825/26, Sir John Franklin wintered at a Hudson’s Bay post, named Fort Franklin in his honour. His well-equipped crew would have brought ice skates and a passion for field hockey, both popular pastimes in that era. As winter set in, Franklin mentioned in his diary that his men were playing games of hockey on the ice. Ice hockey is now Canada’s National Game. Sir John Franklin made three trips to Northern Canada, and on his first and second trips by land he wintered in the Northwest Territories. Today, remnants of Franklin’s winter home are still visible at Deline, formerly known as Fort Franklin. Deline is home to some 550 people, and ice hockey is still a very popular sport. Teams of all ages compete at the community arena through the long winters, and travel to other northern communities for tournaments” – Northwest Territories Tourism
In an interview with the Toronto Star, Morris Neyelle, an elder in Deline, says there’s an oral tradition in the community that lends credence that Franklin’s men were, indeed, skating while they spent the winter on Great Bear Lake.
“The elders we knew . . . they didn’t say hockey or skating, they didn’t know what it was. But they said they saw these guys flying across the ice like they were floating. That’s how they would express it,” says Neyelle.
So as you watch the NHL 2014 playoffs, keep in mind that the road to the Stanley Cup began on a frozen lake in a little place called Deline Northwest Territories.