The origins of field hockey can be traced back to the earliest civilizations of the world, but the modern game was developed in England during the nineteenth century. Many rules and concepts changed during the early years as the game spread throughout the British Empire. From these origins sprung not only the formidable field hockey nations of India, Pakistan and Australia, but the development of the game in over 100 countries.
While the game developed across the globe during this time, so too did field hockey in Canada. Both men’s and women’s field hockey was established and flourishing in British Columbia before the end of the nineteenth century. Records show that as early as 1896 clubs in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island were enjoying regular competitions. In the early twentieth century records show games being played by schools and clubs in Calgary, Toronto, Halifax, and St. John’s.
Field hockey began to organize at a national level in 1961 with the creation of the Canadian Field Hockey Association. The Canadian Women’s Field Hockey Association was formed a year later. In 1991 both the men’s and women’s associations merged to become Field Hockey Canada (FHC). FHC has been the national governing body responsible, in conjunction with our Provincial Associations, for the development of the game ever since.
Today, the game of field hockey is played virtually everywhere in the world and is the second largest team sport by participants after soccer. In Canada both the indoor and outdoor versions of field hockey remain a popular family-oriented sport played in every province. The sport is played most abundantly by girls in the high school system however male and female competitive and recreational leagues can be found in urban centres from coast to coast.
The men’s and women’s national teams regularly compete in international competitions held around the globe. Both genders have represented their country in major contests such as the World Cup, Commonwealth Games, Pan American Games, and Olympics. At any given time throughout the year Canadian athletes, coaches, officials, or volunteers can be found participating in their sport at various competitive levels in places such as Europe, Asia, and Oceania.