Society for International Hockey Research

Society for International Hockey Research

The Society for International Hockey Research (SIHR), a network of writers, statisticians, collectors, broadcasters, academics and hockey buffs, was formed in 1991. A group of 17 members attending the Canadian Association of Sports Heritage meeting at Kingston, Ontario, met in a special session with the aim of founding an organization dedicated to promoting, developing and encouraging the study of hockey, to establish an accurate historical account of the game, and to assist in the dissemination of the findings and studies derived from member research.

Under the leadership of founding president Bill Fitsell, a retired journalist with the Kingston Whig-Standard, SIHR’s general objectives were: "To encourage and cultivate the study of ice hockey as an important athletic and social institution in Canada and other countries in which it was played."

Among the charter members, also known as the "Kingston 17," were representatives from three provinces (New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario) and two states (Illinois and New York). In its fledgling year, the society membership grew to 29 and in its second year the roster of 52 could be typed on one page. Today it stands at more than 380, with members in all ten Canadian provinces and 27 U.S. states, plus Austria, England, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Scotland, Slovakia and Sweden.

A six-page, 25-article Constitution, written by secretary Ed Grenda, was adopted at Montreal on May 22, 1993.

The organization holds two formal meetings a year. The 2008 fall session is slated for mid-October in Providence, Rhode Island, while the 2009 AGM will be held in Montreal, Quebec.

SIHR counts among its members the current Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper.

Brian McFarlane Award

In 1995 the society created the Brian McFarlane Award, named in honour of its honorary president in appreciation of his support for SIHR and his ongoing contribution to the preservation of hockey history. The award recognizes outstanding research and writing by SIHR members. It is presented at the annual general membership meeting each spring.

Origins of Hockey Report

At its 2001 annual meeting, SIHR struck a committee to examine the claim of Windsor, Nova Scotia, to be the birthplace of hockey. The committee's report, released in May 2002, that the Windsor proponents had not offered credible evidence that the town was the birthplace of hockey. The report expressed no opinion on when or where hockey originated.


* [ Society for International Hockey Research official website]
* [ Backcheck: A Hockey Retrospective] at Library and Archives Canada
* [ Windsor Journal; Heretics Upset the Cradle of Hockey] by Clifford Krauss, "New York Times", July 5, 2002 (discusses Origins of Hockey Report)

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