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Often likened to “soccer on ice,” hockey is a much more contact-driven variant of the game with a very distinct history and following. Since its inception and its debut at Montreal’s Victoria Skating Rink in 1875, Ice hockey has flourished in areas that get very cold for extended periods of time, such as Canada, Russia, Austria, and some areas in the United States. Hockey is said to have either derived from a game that was played with a more curved version of the modern hockey stick, popular in Belgium and the Netherlands, or a pastime of British soldiers that adapted the sport after relocating to Canada. England’s early versions of field hockey is also a candidate, along with several other European games that migrated west.
The clubs, assoications and divisions of Ice Hockey very depending on the legal and orgazniation. The National Hockey League or NHL, which is the first and most prevalent overseeing entity of the sport, sponsors the world famous Stanley Cup. Also, the KHL or Kontinental Hockey League, formed in Eurasia, dates back to the great World War II-era Russian leagues. Great Britain and Asia have the Elite Ice Hockey League and the Asia League Ice Hockey, respectively. Some of the best teams are the Detroit Red Wings, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Metallurg Magnitogorsk, and the Montreal Canadiens. Besides the Stanley Cup, which is often hailed as the most important title in hockey, there is the annually held Ice Hockey World Championships. This tournament draws more attention from European teams and fans because it is usually played at the same time of the Stanley Cup. Hockey has also been a regular feature of the Winter Olympic games since the 20s, when Canada and Russia began their reigns over the sport, followed soon after by the United States.