Learning hockey history in Nova Scotia
by Ameeta Vohra|24 DEC 2022
Long Pond, Nova Scotia, where it all began.
photo: The Birthplace of Hockey Museum
As many hockey fans will be arriving in the coming days to Nova Scotia for the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship, they will be looking for places to discover.

Nova Scotia is rich in hockey history and has some must-see places. We have included a hockey tour of a few places to map during your stay.

Halifax Forum

Located in the city's north end, the Halifax Forum has been a popular venue enriched in historical and architectural importance. It was built on the former grounds of the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition building, destroyed to ruins after the Halifax Explosion.  

Officially opening on 26 December 1927, the Forum was the first artificial ice surface in Canada located East of Montreal. Not only was it an ice area, but the complex also housed a horse track with an accompanying horse barn, cattle shed and industrial building.

The city took over ownership of the Forum in 1948, purchasing it from King George VI. 

One of the building's most exciting historical hockey moments was when the late Guy Lafleur scored his first professional hockey goal at the Forum. Nova Scotia's first professional team, the Nova Scotia Voyageurs, an affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, called the Forum home. The Voyageurs, which included hockey greats Ken Dryden, Guy Carbonneau, coach Al MacNeil, Yvonne Lambert, and Larry Robinson, were the first Canadian team to win the Calder Cup in 1972. They won two back-to-back championships in 1976 and 1977.

In 1988, the Forum underwent an expansion and is now a multi-purpose complex. However, hockey still plays a significant role in the identity of the building as it has hosted Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) team Halifax Mooseheads and the university teams of Dalhousie Tigers and Saint Mary's Huskies.
The Halifax Forum
photo: Halifax Forum

Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame

The Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame is an excellent starting point for visitors to learn the history of hockey in the province. They have loads of educational information as well as interactive displays.  

Despite not having a physical location during the World Junior Championship, the Sports Hall of Fame will be ringing in 2023, preparing to return to its former space next to the Scotiabank Centre in downtown Halifax.

However, visitors should take in an exhibit the Sports Hall of Fame will host during the tournament. "Hockey – Whose Game Is It?” looks at the province's hockey roots, influences and origins. Diversity is a central theme of this exhibit as it celebrates the contributions to the sport from women, African Nova Scotians and Mi'kmaq people.
Hockey exhibit
photo: Nova Scotia's Sports Hall of Fame
An exciting part of the exhibit is the Starr Skates' display which showcases the province's influence on developing hockey equipment. It also tells the story of hockey through different eras through its interrelation with media, society and industry.

The Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame hosts this exhibit, curated and developed by the Museum of Industry on the Scotiabank Centre mezzanine.

As visitors view the exhibit, the Museum of Industry would like them to view it this way - As you view these stories of Nova Scotia's hockey players, fans and supporters, consider the question: 'Whose game is it?' The answer may well be: 'It's my game.'"
Hockey exhibit
photo: Nova Scotia's Sports Hall of Fame

Birthplace of Hockey Museum

Nestled about 45 minutes away from Halifax is Windsor. This small community is celebrated as the birthplace of hockey. It all began in 1800 when boys from King's College (Canada's first college) organized a group of players and played on a frozen pond – Long Pond.

Windsor has also been recognized as a contributor to the growth and evolution of the game.

Within the town, the Birthplace of Hockey Museum is within the Haliburton House Museum.  

Once visitors enter the museum, they will see pictures and newspapers of players and teams from the early years of ice hockey. Furthermore, there are artifact pieces such as equipment from when the sport started including protective gear, one-piece hockey sticks crafted by Mi'kmaq natives, pucks made of wood, Stock skates and Starr skates. 

The museum has different areas, including the Hotstove Room, Diversity Room, Locker Room, trophy room and hockey attic.

The museum might be closed for the winter months; however, the museum showcases displays at the nearby West Hants Sports Complex.
The Birthplace of Hockey Museum
photo: Birthplace of Hockey Museum

Stannus Street Rink

Also known as Windsor Rink, the Stannus Street Rink was constructed in 1897. Initially erected as a place to store lumber after the city was destroyed by fire, an indoor ice rink was created and is a place full of history.

Two teams called Stannus Street Rink their home – the Nova Scotia Senior Hockey League's Windsor Maple Leafs from 1959-64 and Windsor Swastikas from 1905-1916.

The Strannus Street Rink is considered Canada's oldest hockey rink.
Stannus Street Rink
photo: Birthplace of Hockey Museum