This Day in History (18-Jan-1886) – Modern field hockey is born with the formation of The Hockey Association in England

A game called hockey was played in English public schools in the early 19th century.  A version of the game played in south-east London was rougher than the modern version, played on a very large field (247m by 64m), and used a cube of black rubber and rough sticks. The modern game was developed on the other side of London by Middlesex cricket clubs. In 1870, members of the Teddington cricket club, experimented with a ‘stick’ game, on the smooth outfield of their cricket pitch and used a cricket ball, so allowing smooth and predictable motion. By 1874 they had begun to draw up rules for their game, including banning the raising of the stick above shoulder height and stipulating that a shot at goal must take place within the circle in front of it. An association was formed in 1875, which dissolved after seven years, but in 1886 the Hockey Association was formed by seven London clubs and representatives from Trinity College, Cambridge.

In the late 19th century, largely due to the British Army, the game spread throughout the British Empire. The International Rules Board was founded in 1895, and hockey first appeared at the Olympic Games at 1908 Olympic Games in London, with only three teams: England, Ireland and Scotland. The first step towards an international structuring occurred in 1909, when England and Belgium agreed to recognize each other for international competitions. In 1924, the International Hockey Federation (FIH, Fédération Internationale de Hockey) was founded in Paris, under the initiative of the French man, Paul Léautey, as a response to hockey’s omission from the 1924 Paris Game.

Hockey became a permanent fixture at the Olympics at the 1928 Olympic Games, at Amsterdam, where India made its Olympic debut. Indian hockey team cruised home to its first Olympic gold, without conceding a single goal. The hallmark of this ruthless domination was the wizardry of Indian hockey legend – Dhyan Chand. From 1928 to 1956, the Indian hockey juggernaut won six straight Olympic gold medals, while winning 24 consecutive matches. During this time, India scored 178 goals conceding only 7 in the process. The record created by India is likely to stand strong through ages.
Reference:

http://www.historyorb.com/day/january/18

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_field_hockey

http://www.iloveindia.com/sports/hockey/history.html

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