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101 Fascinating Hockey Facts


Hockey has a fascinating history. And although Canada is the birthplace of the game, over the past century the sport has been adopted by countries all over the world. As a founding member of the Society for International Hockey Research, I’m one of many who diligently dig into hockey’s past, and I am constantly surprised by the stories we uncover: Tales of triumph and tragedy, victory and defeat, camaraderie and conflict, and lots of crazy shenanigans, both on and off the ice.

Read on to hear more about the player who stole the Stanley Cup and took it home for the day. The teenage goal-tender who travelled more than 4,000 miles to play for the Stanley Cup. And the player who led his NHL team in scoring — with a mere 13 points. And then there’s the female netminder who once told me how she secretly kept her goals-against average down: “It was the long-skirt era and I wore a skirt that was extra long. I put buckshot in the hem … When I bent over in goal, I’d spread my skirt out. That hem stopped a lot of pucks!”


25-year-old Montrealer saw his name and photo splashed across the sports pages of North America. Was it because he won the Cup? No, it was because he stole it!

Ironically, the event happened on April Fool’s Day. But it was no joke. At the Chicago Stadium, with the Black Hawks almost certain to win the semi final series and the Cup, one diehard Canadiens fan named Ken Kilander sprang into action. Here is how he described what happened:

“In the ’60s, I’d follow the Habs around all the time. I’d finance my road trips by playing piano in bars. I knew the Stanley Cup was locked up in a showcase in the lobby of the Chicago Stadium. So I said to some reporters, ‘What would you fellows do if I went and got the Cup?
“One of them laughed and said, ‘Well, it is April Fool’s Day. If you go and steal the Cup, I guarantee I’ll put your picture in the paper.’
“So, when I saw my beloved Habs getting clobbered that night, I couldn’t take any more of that. I ran down to the lobby and I pushed in on this glass showcase and the lock gave way.
“I grabbed the Cup and walked away fast … an usher spotted me and started yelling, ‘Stop him! Help! Some guy’s stealing the Cup!’ His screams brought some policemen running and they arrested me. It’s hard to run fast when you’re lugging the Stanley Cup.
“The next morning I appeared before a judge, who took pity on me. He said, ‘You can go back to the Stadium tomorrow night and cheer for your Canadiens. But the Cup stays here unless the Black Hawks lose, which they will not.’ Then he smiled at me and let me go.
“The judge was right. Chicago won the series, but lost to Toronto in the Cup finals. And I was lucky not to be fined or thrown in jail.”

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