The Jazz Age Women’s Hockey Craze

According to the Canadian Hockey Association, the first recorded women’s hockey game was played in Barrie, Ontario during the cold, cold winter of 1892. The history of women’s ice hockey in the United States can be traced back to the early 20th century. Other sources place the first game in Ottawa, where the Government House team defeated the Rideau ladies team in 1889. By the turn of the century, women’s hockey teams were playing across Canada. Although some old photos suggest that standard uniforms included long wool skirts and turtleneck sweaters, the Minneapolis enthusiasts, pictured here, rocked it in one piece bathing suits. In 1916, the United States hosted an international hockey tournament in Cleveland, Ohio, that featured Canadian and American women’s hockey teams.This first women’s hockey craze took off in the 1920′s with teams, leagues and tournaments in almost every Canadian province and a few areas of the United States. During this time some women students at the University of Minnesota became interested in hockey and organized teams and a league. Some of the men’s frat players acted as coaches for the women’s teams. The best Canadian teams met every year in an East-West tournament to declare a national champion. The Rivulettes from Preston, Ontario became the first dynasty of women’s hockey. Between 1930 and 1940, the team played an estimated 350 games.They lost only two and tied three. The Rivulettes were inducted into the Cambridge Sports Hall of Fame in 1996.