Lords of the Rinks: The Emergence of the National Hockey League, 1875-1936

Lords of the Rinks: The Emergence of the National Hockey League, 1875-1936

Weight 0.00 lbs
By John Chi-Kit Wong
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2005
World Rights
330 Pages
ISBN 9780802085207
Published Sep 2005
Online discount: 25%
 $43.95    $32.96
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442659582
Published Feb 2015
Online discount: 24%
Full purchase $40.95

No sport is as important to Canadians as hockey. Though there may be a great many things that divide the country, the love of hockey is perhaps its single greatest unifier. Before the latest labour unrest in the National Hockey League (NHL), however, it was easy to forget that hockey is also a multi-million dollar business run, not by the athletes or coaches, but by corporate boards and businessmen. The Lords of the Rinks documents the early years of hockey?s professionalization and commercialization and the emergence of a fledgling NHL, from 1875 to 1936.

As the popularity of hockey grew in Canada in the late nineteenth century, so too did its commercial aspects, and players, club directors, rink owners, fans, and media had developed deep emotional, economic, and ideological interests in the sport. Disagreement came in the ways and means of how organized hockey, especially at the elite level, should be managed. Hence, some coordination, by way of governing bodies, was required to maintain a semblance of order. These early administrative bodies tried to maintain a structure that would help to coordinate the various interests, set up standards of behaviour, and impose mechanisms to detect and punish violators of governance. In 1917, the NHL held its first games and by 1936 had become the dominant governing body in professional hockey.

Having performed extensive research in the NHL archives ? including league meeting minutes, letters, memos, telegrams, as well as gate receipt reports ? John Chi-Kit Wong traces the commercial roots of hockey and argues that, in its organized form, the sport was rarely if ever without some commercial aspects despite labels such as amateur and professional. The Lords of the Rinks is the only truly comprehensive and scholarly history of the league and the business of hockey.

Disclaimer: The image on page 22 has been removed at the request of the rights holder.

John Chi-Kit Wong is an assistant professor in the Sport Management Program at Washington State University.

1 Introduction
2 From Fraternal Hockey Clubs to Closed Corporation
3 The Hockey Front in the Athletic War
4 Leagues of Their Own
5 In Search of Hockey Order
6 An Inglorious End and an Inauspicious Beginning
7 Going South, Part 1
8 Going South, Part 2
9 Birth of the Minor-League System
10 Decline of the Ottawa Empire
11 The Rebellion
12 In the Best Interests of Hockey
13 Overtime
Appendix A: Rules of Hockey, 1877
Appendix B: Stanley Cup Regulations
Appendix C: National Hockey Association Constitution, 1910
Appendix D: Binding Agreement of 1926
Appendix E: Ottawa Gate Receipts, 1927-35
Appendix F: Detroit Gate Receipts, 1927-35
Appendix G: NHL Club Net Average Revenues by Year
Brief Biographies of Hockey Personalities

‘With Lords of the Rinks, John Chi-Kit Wong has uncovered a wealth of hitherto unexamined records and correspondence to re-examine the beginnings of professional hockey. His thoughtful analysis raises provocative questions about the rise and consolidation of the National Hockey League.’

Bruce Kidd, Professor and Dean of Physical Education and Health, University of Toronto

‘Clearly written and impressively researched, The Lords of the Rinks adds significantly to our knowledge of the early history of pro hockey and the National Hockey League. This is one of the most important books in Canadian sports history.’

Morris Mott, Department of History, Brandon University

Lords of the Rinks is a great book for any hockey historian, a superb contribution to the hockey world, and a very interesting read for any hockey fan who wants to know more about the beginnings of the game.’

Frank Mahovlich, Member of the Senate of Canada and former forward with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, and Detroit Red Wings