What Were the First Hockey Pucks Made Of?

were-first-hockey-pucks-made Credit: Mike Harrington/Stone/Getty Images

Some historians speculate that the first hockey pucks were made something quite unpleasant: frozen cow dung. That story originates from when the game was played outdoors when it was first invented, and it's not the only material that was used to form a hockey puck during the sport's early days.

One of the first records of hockey was a game called rickets, played by Micmac Indians in Nova Scotia in the 1600s. At that time, many tribes had already been playing a version of field hockey that used a ball and sticks. In the winter, they would use a frozen apple or a carved piece of cherrywood.

Much later, in Canada, men played a game called "Shinney," which used a ball or a square piece of leftover wood taken from local woodshops. They would set up lacrosse nets, frozen into the ice, and try to score on the nets. The rubber puck would be adopted years later in the 1880s by the Victoria Hockey Club of Montreal.

Today, professional hockey pucks are made of vulcanized rubber and manufactured worldwide - mostly in Canada, Russia, the Czech Republic, and China. They are produced in factories that can now make close to 5,000 pucks per week (if not more).

The history of the word "puck" is also a bit foggy. Some historians believe that it comes from the term "puc" or "poc" in Gaelic, which means "to poke or punch" in hurling. A puck can also be colloquially referred to as a "biscuit."