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James George Aylwin Creighton (June 12, 1850 – June 27, 1930) was a Canadian lawyer, engineer, journalist and athlete. He is credited with organizing the first recorded indoor ice hockey match at Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1875,. He helped popularize the sport in Montreal and later in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada after he moved to Ottawa in 1882 where he served for 48 years as the law clerk to the Canadian Senate.
Role in ice hockey developmentEdit
James Creighton is considered the "father of ice hockey," although he never claimed that honour. After moving to Montreal from Halifax to study and to work in engineering, Creighton sometimes acted as a figure skating judge at the Victoria Skating Club's Victoria Skating Rink. As a member of the Club, he organized early morning sessions of informal hockey at the rink with his friends from McGill University and members of the Club. It was here that Creighton captained of one of the two teams that participated in the first recorded indoor game of organized ice hockey on March 3, 1875. His nine-man team won two "games" (goals) to one over the opposition led by Charles Torrance. According to team-mate Henry Joseph, Mr. Creighton also organized the game. "It was this exhibition which aroused city-wide interest and gave rise to the formation of other ice hockey teams and to the rapid development of the game," McGill's physical education director Emanuel M. Orlick would write in The Gazette in 1943. In 1877, Mr. Creighton became the captain of the first known organized ice hockey team, the McGill University club.
Mr. Creighton had played sports during his boyhood in Halifax, where a free-wheeling, stick-ball game called "ricket", "shinny" or occasionally "hockey", was played on ice outdoors with any number of players. It is believed that Creighton developed rules for the organized indoor game from the style of play of those games in Halifax, where (according to some historians) they had developed out of a Scottish game called shinty. However, ice hockey also has its roots in the aboriginal game of lacrosse, the English game of field hockey, the Irish game of hurling and the northern European game of bandy. Mr. Creighton is thought to be the person responsible for publishing the first rules for ice hockey in the February 27, 1877 edition of The Gazette (although the rules were virtually identical to previously published field hockey rules).
While living and working in Ottawa, Creighton continued his interest in ice hockey and joined with young parliamentarians and government 'aides de camp' to form a team called the Rideau Hall Rebels, after the residence of the Governor General of Canada, in Ottawa. That team played games in and around Ottawa and became well known. Creighton befriended teammates William Stanley and Arthur Stanley, sons of then Canadian Governor General Lord Stanley. It was because of these circumstances that Lord Stanley became thrilled with the game and presented a trophy—the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, known today as the Stanley Cup -- to designate the amateur ice hockey championship of Canada.
Mr. Creighton was inducted into the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame in 1993 as the "father of organized hockey."
On May 22, 2008, Mr. Creighton was honoured with a plaque at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, the home rink of the Montreal Canadiens. The plaque was unveiled by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Centre Bell is located near the site of the old Victoria Skating Rink.
- Boswell, Randy. "PM honours hockey's 'founding father' with new gravestone", The Calgary Herald, Calgary, Alberta, October 24, 2009.
- Fitsell, J.W. (1987). Hockey's captains, colonels and kings, 30–39.
- McKinley, Michael (2000). Putting a roof on winter: hockey's rise from sport to spectacle.
- Miroy, Nevill (1986). The history of hockey.
- Patton, B. M. (1936). Ice-hockey.
- James Creighton Memorial Fund. SIHR. Retrieved on 2008-05-20.
- Jenish, D'Arcy (2008-01-18). Hockey’s Forgotten Pioneer. Legion Magazine. Retrieved on 2008-05-26.
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