Great Britain and France are the origins of Ice Hockey. The first evidence of ice hockey goes back to 500 years. Many people believe that, field hockey players made some adjustments in field hockey, so that they could play during cold and icy winter months. The origin of the word hockey is perhaps the French word ?hoquet? denoting a ?bent stick?.Ice hockey was first introduced in North America by British sailors, who arrived at Nova Scotia. At almost the same time, students at McGill University in Montreal also began playing ice hockey. In due course of time, a small ice hockey club, with four teams, was formed in Ontario. It gradually began growing, and in a short time, clubs from different cities started playing against each other. Lord Stanley of Preston, an English Governor General, recognized the ability of these early players and teams created a unique silver bowl, to give as an award to the best amateur ice hockey team. This was the commencement of the Stanley Cup.Earlier, an ice hockey team used to have nine players, but later the number was reduced to seven. Each team would have two defensive players, a goalie, and a ?rover?, who played the whole rink. The first professional ice hockey league was formed in 1904, in Michigan. It broke up three years later. Then, three years after that, the National Hockey Association (NHA) and the Pacific Coast League (PCL) were established. At the end of First World War in 1917, NHA became the National Hockey League and in late 1920s, Pacific Coast league was disbanded. Initially, there were only ten teams.An ice hockey stick is little less curved than a routine hockey stick, and may be made of wood or a modern composite material. Ice hockey players use a solid, vulcanized rubber disc, called puck, which is to be hit with a stick towards the goal net. They also use unique skates that have blade grips for facilitating contact with ice. With thirty teams in six divisions, all over the U.S. and Canada, ice hockey has become to be a well-liked sport.