Editor's Note: The following is a verbatim transcription of a chapter from Spalding's Winter Sports by James A. Cruikshank, published in 1917 and part of the Ray Ruge Collection at the Hudson River Maritime Museum. Many thanks to volunteer Adam Kaplan for transcribing this booklet.
Hockey, played on ice, is one of the most fascinating and spectacular games so far devised by the sport loving people of the north. It owes its origin to the Canadians, and was probably a development of Indian games played between Indians and white men. Perhaps no winter sport of the day draws such crowds of spectators or rouses such enthusiasm as a Hockey match between two rival teams from nearby Canadian cities, and the beauty of the game lies largely in the fact that even without technical understanding of the rules, the spectators fully appreciate the spirited play. Hockey may be regarded as the Canadian national game, and it is spreading very rapidly throughout the northern parts of the United States and among many of the winter sport centers of Europe.
A hockey field should be 112 feet in length by 58 feet wide. At the ends of this field goal posts, 4 feet in height and 6 feet apart, are erected. Teams consist of seven players each. The necessary implements for the sport are hockey sticks with long handles and flat curved blades, disks of vulcanized rubber called the “puck,” 1 inch thick and 3 inches in diameter. The game is divided into halves of twenty minutes’ duration each, with an intermission. The positions of the seven players are indicated by the names goal-tend, point, cover-point, rover, center, and right and left wings. The rules are very simple. Minor changes in them occur from season to season, and the latest, as published in the Spalding Athletic Library on Ice Hockey, should be consulted. There is penalty for offside play, as in foot ball. Roughness which characterized the early history of the game has been almost entirely eliminated. Speed, endurance, judgement, and skill are now placed above strength, body checking, or interference. The best players of the day are the cleanest players, and are rarely injured or penalized. The game becomes faster and more scientific every season, and team play increases over former individual play. Teams made up of women are organized among skating enthusiasts and there is increasing interest in active participation in this fine sport by the skilled women skaters of the Dominion and of American and Swiss skating centers.
The roarin’ Scotch game of Curling seems steadily to hold its own in spite of its age, the competition of many new forms of winter entertainment and the fact that it is far from spectacular. Among experts, it is claimed that the game is actually increasing in popularity throughout the northern climes where winter means good ice and steady cold. There are over twenty-five affiliated clubs in the Grand National Curling Club of the United States, and in Canada there are many hundreds of clubs, some under royal patronage. The Royal Caledonian Curling Club, with King George V as its patron, is the leading organization.
A field of ice, which must be very smooth and 42 yards in length by 10 yards in width, forms the curling ground. Concentric rings, 3 in number, being 2 feet, 4 feet and 7 feet from the center or tee, are drawn on the ice 38 yards from each other. A central line is drawn from tee to tee, also cross lines known as “hog scores,” “sweeping scores,” “back score” and “middle score.” The “hog score” is placed one-sixth of the entire length of the playing field. The stones are of granite, highly polished, not over 44 pounds in weight, nor over 36 inches in circumference. There are two teams of four men each in a game and the absolute dictator of the play is the “skip,” or leader, of each team. The “besom,” or broom, plays a most important part in the game, for with it the speed of the stone may be increased or checked, and to a certain measure even the direction may be altered. With every stone played, a “head” is said to be completed, and an agreed number of “heads” constitutes a game.
To the young people of this day, whose lives have not brought them into contact with this ancient and quaint Scottish game, with a written history running back nearly a thousand years, Curling may seem to lack the elements of physical activity and athletic movement, but it makes up fully in the charming humors of the game, merry sallies of wit and picturesque turns of speech. Nor is the handling of 40-pound stones the child’s play which the uninitiated may think.
The latest rules and records of the game will be found in the Spalding Athletic Library volume devoted to the game of Curling.
There are a number of interesting and sprightly games which can be played on an ice field in addition to Hockey and Curling. Every ocean traveler is familiar with the fun of shuffleboard as played on the Atlantic liners, and merely the suggestion of its usefulness as a winter sport is needed to bring it into its rightful place in winter sport programs. There are certain general customs in regard to playing the game which may or may not be followed. The very elasticity of the methods of play renders the game especially suited to those places where some sort of impromptu sport can be arranged in which everybody can take part.
Shuffleboard, as played on the ice, would best please everybody taking part in the game if made simple as to rules and equipment. The only necessary equipment consists of a set of wooden disks, about 4 inches in diameter and at least 1 inch thick, and the sticks for shoving the disks, which should be about 5 feet in length and furnished with a Y-shaped or half round end which may be part of the stick or fastened to it securely. The disks are shoved, not struck, from a standing position at each tee, toward the concentric circles marked on the ice at the other tee, or into one of nine squares marked out as a tee. These squares may be numbered with reference to the difficulty of their achievement with the disk. Squares of penalty, or “minus” squares are often placed in front. Two, four or more persons may play the game, partners may be chosen, and so tees should be anywhere from 25 to 50 feet apart, the distance being determined by the condition of the ice. Women become very expert at this thoroughly interesting winter pastime.
James A. Cruikshank was an expert on outdoors sports during the first half of the 20th century. Born in Scotland but spending most of his life in New York, he was the editor of The American Angler magazine, Field and Stream, and wrote numerous articles for a wide variety of other magazines and newspapers throughout his career, including the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. He also published at least three books: Spalding’s Winter Sports (1913, 1917), Canoeing and Camping (1915), and Figure Skating for Women (1921, 1922). He also contributed a chapter on artificial lures to The Basses: Freshwater and Marine (1905). In addition to his writing, Cruikshank was involved in public speaking, doing talks on outdoor sports sometimes illustrated by motion pictures. An avid photographer, Cruikshank’s photos often featured in his illustrated lectures, his articles, and his books, as he encouraged readers to take their own cameras out-of-doors. He had a home in the Catskills as well as a home and offices in New York City, and in the 1930s he helped found the Hudson River Yachting Association. At one point, he managed the Rockefeller Center ice skating rink, and another in Rye, NY. His wife Alice was also an avid camper and hiker, and they often traveled together. In 1909, Alice went “viral” in newspapers around the country by being the first person to blaze a trail between Mount Field and Mount Wiley in the White Mountains of New Hampshire (James brought up the rear). James and Alice eventually moved to Drexel, PA and were vacationing in Lake Placid in July of 1957 when James died unexpectedly at the age of 88.
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