Printed in 1897, the 1898 Spalding Ice Hockey and Ice Polo Guide is probably ice hockey’s earliest guidebook, predating any similar Canadian guidebook by two years. The Canadian guide, published in 1899, is also digitized and available on the National Library of Canada website.
The Spalding guide includes rich descriptions of the then-emerging game of hockey (“all the rapidity and great variety of action to be seen in lacrosse and polo [on horseback] without the roughness of the former or danger of the latter”), rules, and team photos, statistics and standings. A review of amateur hockey around the country proclaims Baltimore to be the nation’s most enthusiastic hockey city, and advertisements at the end of the guide offer hockey sticks ($.75), pucks ($.50), skates ($5), and miscellaneous sports equipment ranging from cycling saddles to boxing gloves.
The guide is part of the Charles E. Holt Hockey Archives. It was digitized thanks to a generous loan from the US Hockey Hall of Fame.
Questions about the digital version of the guide should be directed to Eleta Exline, Scholarly Communication Coordinator.