So you think you know all about the Penguins and hockey?
Or maybe, you don’t know anything about sliding a disk on ice and bumping into people. No problem.
This quiz will interest, surprise and amuse you.
- Before there was ice hockey there was ice polo. In 1895, Canadian college polo players took the ice here, but first they demonstrated what the game would be like with a puck rather than a ball. The smooth skills and strategies displayed had the audience smitten. The Pittsburgh students playing against them stood helplessly with their mouths agape. No one kept score
- In the beginning, “hockey” had nothing to do with ice. Also called “hookey” or “hawkey,” it was a centuries-old field game in England, played one-handed with a short stick that had a hooked end; the object was to move a ball through an opponent’s goal posts.
- Balls made of solid Indian rubber had a tendency to skitter around uncontrollably on ice, so Canadian hockey players cut them in half and slid them around on the flat side. Eventually, they cut off two sides, leaving a flat disk.
- Just after Phipps Conservatory was built, and just before the Carnegie Library and Museum opened, an opulent multi-purpose facility and the first indoor ice skating rink in North America opened at the entrance to Schenley Park. It was called the Casino. It blew up and burned to the ground . . . I mean ice . . . after operating only 18 months.
- Streetcar barons and their investors were always dreaming up places for people to go on trolleys. They were behind Kennywood Park, Luna Park in Oakland and the burned-down Casino. They jumped on the opportunity to turn a sprawling boarded-up barn once used to store horse drawn trolleys into an entertainment/ice palace. They spent more than $450,000 on the effort. That’s the equivalent of about $11 million today. It opened in 1899. Pittsburgh remained the only place in North America with an indoor rink for another dozen years.
- The Yellow Jacket’s title made the second page of the Pittsburgh Press sports section, below coverage of a marbles tournament.
- Pittsburgh Plate Glass provided shatterproof panels, the first to smush player faces anywhere. It was an improvement over the standard chicken wire.
- Canadian talent came south in the offseason to stay in playing condition and to accept good-paying jobs arranged by teams with local companies. I presume they were ghost jobs for which they did little or no work.
- Sonja Henie dazzled Pittsburgh hockey fans. Her success prompted John Harris to create the Ice Capades, a traveling troupe of rink performers, often former Olympic champions. It thrived for 50 years before the popularity of such things faded and it went out of business in the mid 1990s. Harris was smart enough to sell it for $5.5 million in 1963.
- The Hornets kept Duquesne Garden, commonly referred to as the ”Arena” buzzing for 26 years, affiliated as minor league teams for the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. It won the 1967 AHL title in the 8-year-old Civic Arena. The NHL finally expanded to include Pittsburgh, Penguins waddled into the city and Hornets buzzed off.
If you got three correct, congratulations! You’ve gotten a hat-trick. That term is applied to anyone scoring three goals in a single game. It’s origins are disputed, but you can read about it here. Surprisingly, no one claims it originated in Pittsburgh. If you find out otherwise, keep it . . . well, keep it under your hat.
If you got four correct, that’s pretty amazing. But, surprisingly, lots of hockey players have scored four goals in a game.
You say you got five? Now you’re in the ranks of people like Wayne Gretzky and someone named Mario Lemieux. Forty different players in the NHL have done that over the past century, some more than once.
Six? Now that’s been done only six times, mostly in the 1920s.
If you got more than six, you have bested everyone who has swung a stick in the NHL, and are hereby inducted into the Now Then, Pittsburgh Hall of Fame.
WANT MORE INFORMATION?
- The Casino at Schenley Park.
- When polo and hockey were one.