by Veronica Forand and Susan Scott Shelley
The hero of Flirting on Ice is a professional hockey player, and because we are both fans of the sport (Veronica’s favorite team is the Boston Bruins and Susan’s is the New York Rangers), we thought it would be fun to share some fun facts about the sport we love.
Ten Fun Facts About Hockey
- The National Hockey League (NHL) was founded on November 22, 1917, but the origins of the sport are a bit vague, with some claims going back to the 1700s.
- Before 1914, referees used to place the puck on the ice between the players’ sticks for faceoffs. This led to many cuts, bruises and even broken hands for the referees. Starting in 1914, the referees were allowed to drop the puck between the players’ sticks.
- Let’s talk height: The shortest player who has played in the NHL was Roy Woters (goaltender from 1925-1937) who measured 5 feet, 3 inches tall. The tallest player in the NHL is defenseman Zdeno Chara. He currently plays for the Boston Bruins. Chara measures 6 feet, 9 inches and in skates is close to 7 feet tall.
- Before games, hockey pucks are frozen to prevent them from bouncing during play. These tend to thaw quickly, and are constantly replaced by officials. An average of 12 come into play per game.
- In 1992, goalie Manon Rhéaume became the first, and only, woman to play in the NHL, suiting up for the Tampa Bay Lightning during an exhibition game.
- Former Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ron Hextall was the first goaltender to score a goal by shooting the puck into the other team’s net.
- The original Stanley Cup was only seven inches high. The names of every player from each winning team is etched on the base of the Cup. The cup and base now stands more than 35 inches high. There are five main bands on the body of the cup where the more recent names have been engraved. The oldest of the five is retired when a new ring is added to make room for new names. The retired rings are displayed in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada. Road trip, anyone?
- Goalies played without masks until 1959, when Montreal Canadiens goalie Jacques Plante wore face protection at a game after he had taken a puck in the cheekbone. Other goaltenders eventually followed suit, with the last unmasked goalie appearing in a game in 1973. Other players began wearing helmets the early 1970s (with an official rule coming down before the 1979-80 season, grandfathering in “newcomers must wear helmets.”); prior to that the only helmet-wearers were guys recovering from a head injury, or, as was the case of one former Chicago Blackhawk forward, because they were embarrassed about being bald.
- The standard North American ice rink is 200 feet long and 85 feet wide.
- The Stanley Cup has had many adventures since its creation in 1893. Through the years, it has been used as a cereal bowl, accidentally left by the side of the road, tossed into a swimming pool and even lost, like luggage, on a 2010 flight from New Jersey to Vancouver. It was later recovered by an Air Canada employee. (This is why the Cup is now always accompanied by a Hockey Hall of Fame representative.)
There are so many stats and facts that come to mind, whether it’s a player’s goals, assists, total points, penalty minutes, slap shot speed, etc., that this list could go on and on. Feel free to post your favorite stat, fact, player, or team, or favorite athlete/book boyfriend in the comments below!
She’s lived in Boston, London, Paris, Geneva, and Washington, DC and currently resides near Philadelphia. An avid traveler, she loves to roam across continents with her husband and kids in pursuit of skiing, scuba diving, and finding the perfect piece of chocolate.
Susan Scott Shelley
She currently resides outside Philadelphia with her very own Superhero and spends her days writing about tough heroes, smart heroines, and love being the strongest magic there is.
In addition to writing romances, she is also a professional voiceover artist. Her favorite things include running, sports, hard rock and old Hollywood movies. An unapologetic optimist, she believes life should be lived with laughter and a sense of wonder.
FLIRTING ON ICE
Mr. Perfect has found his kind of trouble…
Professional hockey player Zac Elliott is in top form. He’s having the best season of his career, the local fans can’t get enough of him, and he’s in the middle of the most successful contract negotiations of his career. When the sexy little spark between Zac and the team owner’s daughter blazes to life, no matter how forbidden, he can’t resist.
Philanthropist Heather Ryan can’t keep her hands off of Zac. If her father finds out, it could end Zac’s career and ruin her reputation. What they share is deeply passionate and intensely private…until the press exposes their illicit relationship.
Now the fans have viciously turned against Heather, Zac’s game is faltering, and even his team has deserted him. The only way out of the penalty box is for Zac to play hockey like life—and love—depends on it…