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OUR GAME – A HISTORY OF HOCKEY IN THE NICOLA VALLEY

Long before the Centennials moved to Merritt in January of 1974, hockey has been a part of the Nicola Valley.

From the first games played on frozen lakes and ponds to the opening of the original Nicola Valley Memorial Arena, this section of the Centennials website is proud to focus on “Our Game – A History of Hockey in the Nicola Valley”.

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Hockey in the Nicola Valley (1900-1920)

Ice skating on frozen lakes and ponds was a popular winter recreation for the early settlers. Hockey games were played whenever there was a suitable ice surface and enough players to have an opposing team. The freeze up was eagerly awaited by many young people. Communities such as Nicola and Quilchena had teams of their own and the games played between them created a good deal of excitement among the spectators and friendly rivalry between players.

THE NICOLA HERALD – FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 1909
FOR HADDAD CUP

A three-team league to be known as the Nicola Valley Hockey Association was formed at a meeting held in Armstrong’s Store between Nicola, Merritt and Middlesboro. Representatives were: Nicola; Curtin and Charlton, Middlesboro; Murray and Neil, Merritt; Armstrong and Richardson.

1911
Merritt hockey team won the championship of the Nicola Valley, defeating Nicola. The professional plan of playing four quarters of fifteen minutes each was followed and worked most successfully.

A skating rink is to be provided for the people of Middlesboro. A start has already been made with the work of banking the sides. When complete, the rink will provide a square acre of ice.

A meeting was called for the purpose of erecting a skating and curling rink at Merritt.

1914
Merritt Arena opens – the rink building itself is drawing most complimentary remarks from all who enter it, particularly those visitors to our city who had no idea Merritt possessed such a handsome and useful structure. The rink management are daily receiving compliments and good wishes for the success of the undertaking and Merritt may well be proud of the Merritt Arena.

Source:
(Spring 2005). Sports in the Nicola Valley 1900-1920. Nicola Valley Historical Quarterly. Vol. 19, No. 3.