When the NHL opens the new season in London this weekend, it will mark a fitting return to its roots, reports Randy Boswell.
With the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings set to open the NHL season this weekend in London -- a match billed as a historic step in the ongoing globalization of our national sport -- Canada's leading hockey historian says the game is actually just going home.
It might surprise pro hockey's North American officialdom, its millions of fans in Canada and the U.S. and the millionaire skaters from California who will face off Saturday to launch the 2007-08 NHL schedule, but the sport, in fact, began in the rustic surrounds of the British countryside.
"This is really a return to its roots, to its embryo stage," says Bill Fitsell, the Kingston-based author of the 2006 book, How Hockey Happened, and founding president of the Society for International Hockey Research.
Much has been made of the fact that the Stanley Cup itself was created by a British silversmith in the 1890s at the request of Canada's then-governor general, Lord Stanley.
Jolly good show, ol' chaps!