Zurich, Switzerland, July 2, 2002
"The IIHF will actively pursue the idea to acknowledge the site of the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal, Canada with a physical means of recognition, a commemorative plaque or other historical site marker to remind the passers by of the existence of the Victoria Skating Rink, the birthplace of organized hockey", says IIHF President René Fasel.
The International Ice Hockey Federation has for some time held internal discussions regarding the recognition and official acknowledgement of the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal as the birthplace of organized ice hockey. The discussions within the IIHF coincided with the submission of the 18-page report by the Society for International Hockey Research on June 12, 2002.
"We were happy to see that the SIHR report identifies the March 3, 1875 game at the Victoria Skating Rink as the earliest eyewitness account of a specific game of hockey. The circumstances that surround that event, fulfil the IIHFs criteria for what can be recognized as the site of the first game of hockey", says René Fasel.
No other cities or places, which might claim to be the birthplace of hockey, can produce this following accurate evidence and proximity to the game of ice hockey as we know it today.
- The site of the game can be precisely identified.
- The game was played on a confined area called a rink with a size (202 feet by 85 feet), which basically defined the game as we know it today.
- The game was pre-announced to the general public and played between two uniformed and identified teams, under a pre-written set of rules, with a recorded score.
- The game was played with a wooden puck, the first time such was used instead of a lacrosse ball.
"For the preservation of the heritage of our game, for hockey fans all over the world and for the world governing body of ice hockey it is important to finally and officially recognize the site where the Victoria Skating Rink once stood. Not many sports can as precisely as hockey, identify the origins of its game. This is of great historical value to us", says René Fasel.
The IIHF is committed to be an active partner in the campaign and also in the process that would see a historical site marker to be placed on the site between the Stanley and Drummond streets in Montreal.