Strange But True: Icing

Hockey is a fast game with a lot of body contact and shots on goal. At least that is how the game should be played. Nearly always, it is. But not on December 8, 1931, and January 3, 1932.

The Boston Bruins and New York Americans both were weak teams that season. Neither of them took part in the Stanley Cup playoffs. They played each other on the dates mentioned above in two of the dullest games in the history of hockey.

In the first game, the Americans slammed the puck away into the Boston zone every time it came near their goal. There was no rule against this kind of play, which was called “icing the puck.” So the Bruins had to chase the puck into their own zone and come back up the ice with it. The Americans shot the puck away a total of 61 times.

The next time the two teams played against each other, the Bruins decided to turn the tables. They they poked the puck into the Americans’ zone, a total of 87 times. In both games the fans booed the teams all night.

Luckily, the foolishness was not repeated. Just to make sure, the league introduced a new rule against “icing” in 1937.

From The Giant Book of Strange But True Sports Stories by Howard Liss. Illustrations by Joe Mathieu.

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