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Philadelphia Area Hockey Timeline

james laverance

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Hi I thought I'd provide some interesting links I found about Hockey in the Philadelphia area.
The earliest reference I have dates back to the 1600's.
The Seneca tribe used to play shinny on skates during the time of the white settlement in Philadelphia.
Reading Eagle - Google News Archive Search
This is from a book written in 1836 referring to Salem NJ in 1685...

" When the gay groups had finished their rounds in the village, the ice in front on the river was seen all alive with the small-fry of Elsingburgh, gambolling and skating, sliding and tumbling, helter-skelter, and making the frost-bit ears of winter glad with the sounds of mirth and revelry. In one place was a group playing at hurley, with crooked sticks, with which they sometimes hit the ball, and sometimes each other's shins. In another, a knot of slidersy following in a row, so that if the foremost fell, the rest were sure to tumble over him. A little farther might be seen a few, that had the good fortune to possess a pair of skates, luxuriating in that most graceful of all exercises, and emulated by some half a dozen little urchins, with smooth bones fastened to their feet, in imitation of the others, skating away with a gravity and perseverance worthy of better implements. All was fun, laughter, revelry, and happiness ; and that day, the icy mirror of the noble Delaware reflected as light hearts as ever beat together in the new world.
Such are supposed to have been the juvenile sports of New-year's day, in the Middle States, one hundred and fifty years ago."
From the The memoirs of U.S Naval Hero Stephen Decatur as early as 1785.
"During the winter, when the glassy surface of the Schuylkill invited the boys to skim over it on the swift skates, no one excelled him in hurly, prisoner's base, and the other games of the season."
Life of Stephen Decatur, a Commodore in the Navy of the United States - Alexander Slidell Mackenzie - Google Books
At Princeton in 1786.
Hockey being played at Princeton in 1786 when it was called Shinny Hawkey or Hurley.
"Princeton, however, was more fond of "shinny," known also as "hawkey" and
hurley," played with a hard ball and sticks having curved ends. The goals
consisted of North College and the fence on the south side of the "campus."
"The diary of 1786 contains several valuable allusions to College sports " hockey on Stony Brook in winter, shinny, quoits, ' ' baste ball, ' ' and *' prison baste " on the campus in the spring and summer.''
"In the winter when the weather was cold and the ice firm the student might tuck his skates under his arm and set out for Stony Brook or the Millstone River.*If he were from the north and so at home on the ice, he often joined the other boys in a game played with a ball, *possibly hockey."
1786, Princeton Library.
The Deke Quarterly - Volume 51, Issue 2 - Page 73
1933 - ‎Snippet view - ‎
p.206-7. Princeton - Forgotten Books
Princeton, 1746-1896 [by] Thomas Jefferson Wertenbaker - Page 194
This is referring to Field Hockey in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  in 1831...
This must have occurred in the early 1840's on the Schuylkill River, Pa...
"There was the red ear at the husking bee, the apple-butter stirrings, the candy pullings, skating and sledding during the winter and the game of "shinny" on skates, on the ice. Is it any wonder that the girls and boys of the olden days say, "there are no times like the old times."
Children Playing Shinny on the ice in Morristown NJ 1850.(First Painting)
I believe that this was from Centre Hall, Pennsylvania in 1871.(Second Image)
Little Corporal - Google Books
Then an image of floor hockey from NJ in 1888.(Based on the third image)
Finally the first hockey team from u penn in 1897 when the west ice palace aka quaker city rink opened.
If u have any other information about the topic let me know thank you.
skating-pond-at-morristown-new-jersey.jp    large.Screenshot_20160816-184043.pnglarge.FL1888P413667.jpg large.normal.png 
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@james laverance


Thanks for sharing that compilation for us.  Nice work.  I really enjoyed the read.


I had no idea that the University of Penn had such a long history with hockey as a club sport but never developing to be a NCAA division 1 program like a Boston College.  With the success of the Ed Snider Foundation one has to wonder if the growth of hockey in the Philadelphia area can open up the opportunity for further growth of the hockey program at Penn. 

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I think this was recorded in 1777-1778.

At the time the British possessed Philadelphia, in the winter of '77 and '78, the woods were so freely taken for the use of the army, that it was deemed most politic in the agent to cut them down and sell them. This was the business of one Adam Poth, a German of much self-consequence, well known to the city lads as a vigilant frustrater of many of their schemes to cut saplings, shinny-clubs, &c., in his woody domains. 
Annals of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, in the olden time

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The West Park Ice Palace AKA the Quaker City Rink opened in December of 1897 on 52nd and Jefferson streets.


A Philadelphia game from December 12, 1900, between home team Quaker City Hockey Club and the Princeton University team. Game finished 6-0 in favor of the Quaker City hockey clubbers. The arena burned down later the same season, in one of the earlier months of 1901.

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