Memorable Moments in Hockey History

These moments have helped shape the game of hockey that we know today and many of these historic moments are still in play in today's modern game. The Senators were one of the founding members of the National Hockey League and helped establish hockey as a professional sport in North America.

First goal net

From earliest times until the end of the 1890s, arguments (even fights) broke out over whether a goal had been scored. The main reason was that there were no goal nets to trap the puck. The goal consisted of nothing more than two posts, four feet high and six feet apart, imbedded in the ice. There wasn't even a goal line. Finally, on Jan. 6, 1899, the problem was addressed in games played at Halifax, N. S., and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.. The Nova Scotia goal was a wire mesh box, while the Ontario goal had some fish netting draped loosely over the posts. By 1901, an improved goal net had become standard equipment in all leagues of any consequence.

First game of three-period hockey

From the earliest times of formal hockey, games were played in two 30-minute halves, with a 10-minute intermission. Players were on the ice for the full 60 minutes because substitutions were not allowed. Skaters got tired and the game slowed down. Deep thinkers in the National Hockey Association addressed the problem by dividing play into three 20-minute sessions, thus giving teams extra time to rest up. The first game under the new rule was played on Dec. 31, 1910, when the Senators defeated the Montreal Canadiens at the Montreal Arena.

The fattened-up goal stick

If you look at the oldest depictions of hockey, you will see that the goalkeeper's stick was the same as that of the other players. It wasn't thicker. Eventually an extra piece was added along the top of the blade and part way up the shaft. Ottawa's Percy LeSueur had one of those sticks, which held up for several years. As players' shots became harder and more frequent, goalies felt they needed a more effective implement. Responding in 1914, Ozias McNiece of Montreal invented and patented a better stick, which added another section riveted along the underside of the shaft. The goal stick we know today had come into play.

Senators were a founding member of National Hockey League

Probably because big-time hockey was absent from the capital for many years, people are surprised to learn that the Ottawa Hockey Club was a founding member of the National Hockey League. The Senators had been in the professional game from the beginning, right up to the demise of the National Hockey Association in 1917. At a meeting in Montreal's Windsor Hotel on Nov. 26 that year, a successor league, the NHL, was created. Senators' executive Martin Rosenthal took a seat on the new league's board, joining representatives from Montreal (Canadiens and Wanderers), Toronto and Quebec City. Though on the board, Quebec did not enter a team until 1919.

Introduction of six-player hockey

A long time ago, hockey was played with seven men on the ice. The extra was the rover, who skated everywhere chasing the puck and defending. At the start of the National Hockey Association's 1912 season, however, the rover was dropped. Some owners favoured the idea because one less player meant a reduced payroll. Senators goaltender Percy LeSueur, a keen observer of the sport, also liked the new rule. "It will make these old fellows who have been loafing get off the ice," he said, "and give way to younger and faster men." Ottawa's first game of six-man hockey was played Jan. 3, 1912, at Dey's Arena when the Sens downed Quebec 5-4.

Senators' first game in National Hockey League

The Senators played their first game as a member of the newly-formed National Hockey League on Dec. 19, 1917 at Dey's Arena. It was not an auspicious occasion for the Sens. Not only did they lose the game 7-4 to the Canadiens, a minor revolt in the Ottawa dressing room delayed the start of the contest by 15 minutes. Players refused to go on the ice, some because they had not signed contracts, others because they were only going to be paid for 20 games while the schedule had been expanded to 24. On the positive side, Cy Denneny recorded the league's first hat trick that night, while Eddie Gerard is credited with scoring the first goal by a Senator in the new league.