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Hockey is a game whereby two teams contest by trying to pass the puck right through the opponent’s post. There are many forms in which this sport can be played but the most popular are ground and also ice hockey. Rules of the two are similar but difference comes in appliances used by players and the field’s make. Standard ice hockey can be dated back to early 1900s when the very first recognized ice hockey tournament was held in Michigan. Ever since, the sport has slowly gained popularity in other major countries like Ukraine, Great Britain and Switzerland.
In Canada, the sport sprouted out of existing amateur leagues. When American based IPHL was formulated the very first Canadian professional ice hockey team (Canadian Soo) was invited to participate. Up to the recent past IPHL league continued to hire various amateur players all across the country. By doing so, many amateur leagues found in the interior parts of Canada were transformed to professional status that can aptly compete with other top players; soon after Canada saw the need to form its own major league association (ECHA). As the game garnered popularity demand for players increased and ECHA raised salaries allotted to them thus bundling out other league competitors such as MPHL, OPHL and IPHL which soon experienced player shortages and loss of fans.
However, wrangles within this organization led to its split with members either inclined towards the Canadian Hockey or National Hockey associates both found in the country; the latter further hiked salaries given to players consequently locking out CHA. Nowadays, country hockey association is the only professionally recognized ice-hockey regulator in the country.
In Finland, the main professional league for ice hockey is known as SM-liiga. It was put in place in the late 70s to substitute SM-sarja that was just a rookie league. SM is the short form of ‘Suomen mestaruus’ which denotes ‘Finnish championship.’ Nowadays, SM liiga has only 14 teams after the board passed a resolution in 2000 that not a single team would be relegated. Teams from low level leagues cannot be promoted to join these fourteen certain standards imposed by the organization’s board are met.
In Soviet Union, the Russian Championship League was the top most hockey league found at around 1946. However, Soviet players were despised in other countries because they were conscripted into military service. They were paid as military army instead of professional players and therefore considered as amateurs by the global Olympic committee. Despite their challenges Russian players won 32 of the overall 46 contester seasons. Ever since communism’s fall Soviet league talent has been severely dented as many players continue to sign up for NHL searching for better pay.
British sport ice-hockey advanced rapidly with formation of new rinks of ice and a surge of Canadian hockey-players seeking to expand their reputation in Canada’s sister country, United Kingdom. However, lack of suitable venues and increasing competition from other major sports like soccer are making the sport less popular in this region