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Who doesn’t love hockey? Ice, field – it doesn’t matter, so long as the puck is in play. For decades, hockey has dominated the globe as a treasured, intense athletic pastime. Hockey games are physical, intense, and riveting – a goal or on-ice struggle can happen at any moment and fire up fans and players alike. But many people don’t know that hockey is as intense and occasionally as unbelieveable on the field as it is off. The history of the sport is peppered with incredible happenings, from the existence of hockey-playing Russian bears to Keanu Reeves goaltending on the ice.

And above all other factoids, one truth stands clear: Canadians will forever dominate the ice hockey milieu.

Read on for a few sport highlights!

  1. A circus in the USSR trained bears to play ice hockey in the 1960s.
  2. Pucks are frozen before a game to prevent the rubber from bouncing the puck out of play.
  3. Surgeons in British Columbia are expressly forbidden from discussing hockey during surgical procedures.
  4. Canadian $5 bills contain a printed excerpt of a short story about hockey, with accompanying illustrations of people playing hockey.
  5. The majority of American players are right-handed shooters, while most Canadian players are left-handed.
  6. 80% of Canada’s population tuned in to watch the 2010 Olympic gold finals.
  7. Matrix star Keanu Reeves was an adept goaltender until he was injured and forced to quit the sport.
  8. The average professional hockey player can lose up to 8 pounds in water weight over the course of a match, making it imperative for them to stay hydrated before and during games.
  9. Forward Tiger William currently holds the record for most time spent in the penalty box. Over the course of his career, he spent an approximate total of two and a half days (3966 minutes) in the box.
  10. According to national rules, in the case that both NHL goalies are unable to play during a game, the team can select any available goalie to fill in – including players from the stands.
  11. Field hockey is the 3rd-most popular sport in the world, and has approximately 2 billion fans worldwide. Football holds the first spot, and cricket the second.
  12. The Canadian ice hockey team was so dominant in 1930 that the World Ice Championship for that year did not ask it to participate in the knock-out round, and instead invited it to enter into the final round. The Canadian team beat their opponent handily, and left with the championship trophy.
  13. The first NHL goal was recorded in December of 1917.
  14. The National Hockey League refers to Canada, not the United States, as its “Nation.”