How to Read an 1895 Hockey Boxscore!


Peterborough Examiner, March 8th, 1895.

The regular “This Week in Peterborough” post, in which we are to look at 1895, will be mildly delayed this time around – you will see it either tomorrow or more likely on Friday.  Back to the usual schedule next week.  In the meantime, a mildly educational piece – click on!

We are just now at the point in the “This Week” series where hockey can be said to have joined curling atop the roster of popular winter sports in Peterborough.  By the mid-1890s, frequent matches were being organized between various teams in town and squads from other places, as well as between teams in Peterborough itself, and virtually all of them were written up at length in the next day’s papers.

The above image relates to a game between the Peterborough “Volts” (i.e. the team of the Edison General Electric works) and the village team from Norwood, played on March 7 of 1895 at the rink on Charlotte Street.  And what can we decipher from it?  Well, here are few minor notes:

  • First off, an admission: that is a composite image.  In the actual newspaper, there was some descriptive text between the name of the referee and “The summary of the games…”  The two halves, however, are parts of a whole, and so I have taken the liberty of joining them.
  • The team rosters are at the top.  “Point” and “cover point” were the terms for defensemen in those early days, while each team deployed four forwards rather than today’s three (the position of “rover” was still in use).  Everybody played the entire game, barring injuries or penalties — there were no substitutes allowed.
  • The “umpires” were what we would today call “goal judges.”
  • On to the bottom half of the boxscore!  Under the terminology of the time, an ice hockey match was divided into “games,” each of which was “won” when one team scored a goal.  So we can see that Norwood won the first game of this match, taking a 1-0 lead on a goal by Hendren half a minute in.
  • The time given in the third column is the time of that particular “game” — i.e. the time since the previous goal.  Wilgar’s tying goal for the Volts, therefore, came half a minute after Hendren had given Norwood the lead.  Two minutes later, Wilgar scored again, and the General Electric team had the lead.
  • Note that penalties are not listed.  This omission was actually standard practice in newspaper boxscores, although the actual accounts of the games would probably mention any player who drew the referee’s ire.  As it happened, there do not seem to have been any penalties in this game, or at least none that the reporter felt like including in his story.
  • And that’s about all there is to it!  The teams played two halves of just under 30 minutes each, with the intermission not marked in the boxscore (for the record, in our game it came after Hendren scored his second of the match for Norwood to make the score 6-3 for the Volts).

It does appear to have been a close encounter.  Following the boxscore, we see that after Norwood had taken that early lead, the Volts sprinted off to a 6-1 advantage.  Back came Norwood, making the score 6-5; the last “game” of that stretch was a tight one, with neither team able to score for 14 minutes.  The Volts then took a 7-5 lead, but Norwood replied twice to tie it.  The table was all set for a fine finish, and it came from Moore and then McIntosh of the Volts, who scored late to give the home side a 9-7 victory!  The next day’s Examiner singled out several of the Peterborough players for special praise:

“For the Volts, Wilgar, McIntosh and Moore played most brilliantly on the forward line, as did Thorne at cover point.”

And now you know how to read a hockey boxscore from 1895!  Use this power wisely…


The Toronto Granites junior hockey team, 1895-96. The Granites were among Peterborough’s fierce hockey and curling rivals, and we will certainly hear more of them, possibly very soon… (Image Source)




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3 Responses to How to Read an 1895 Hockey Boxscore!

  1. Pingback: This Week in Peterborough: 1895 | Peterboriana

  2. Dave Barry says:

    Did you know, Kelly in goal for the Volts was James Patrick Joseph Kelly the father of the famed dancer and movie star Gene Kelly. Kelly had his middle son Gene on skates as a very young boy who went on to some renown as a Pittsburgh high school hockey star before returning to dancing and the rest is history.

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