1. Some pro players call their mothers for a few words of encouragement, but not Sidney Crosby; Sid the Kid has a strict rule about not speaking with his mom on game days. He has broken this rule three times, and each time has been injured during the game.
2. Hockey players’ superstitions aren’t just about pregame phonecalls and making sure their stick is taped perfectly; many pregame rituals are all about food. For instance, former NHL player Joe Nieuwendyk ate the same meal before each game: Two pieces of toast with peanut butter. And rumour has it that longtime hockey star Jaromir Jagr enjoyed milk and cookies the night before each game. Whatever Wayne Gretzky’s pregame meal was, he made sure to wash it down with plenty of liquids. Following warmups, The Great One used to drink several beverages in the same order: water and Gatorade, sandwiched between two Diet Cokes.
3. The NHL has grown a lot since its inception in 1917. Here’s a neat video to show you how much the league–and its logos–have evolved over the years:
4. Legendary goaltender Patrick Roy used to carry on a conversation with his goalposts during games, to keep them on his side. The goalpost’s most common response? “Ping!”
5. Winning the Stanley Cup may be a once-in-a-lifetime moment, but there are actually three Stanley Cups: the original Cup from 1892, which is on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame; the “Presentation Cup,” which is the one that you see the players skate around with; and an official replica of the Presentation Cup, which is displayed at the Hockey Hall of Fame when the Presentation Cup isn’t available.
6. The Stanley Cup has a Twitter account. Well, sort of. It’s actually the account of Stanley Cup’s keeper and official chaperone, Philip Pritchard. He often posts photos (like this one, from the time Stanley met Disney characters Baloo and Flounder!) so fans can follow along Stanley’s many cross-continental journeys.
7. Before hockey pucks were invented, the earliest hockey games were played outside on frozen ponds with chunks of frozen patties of cow poop. (Ew!)
8. The zamboni was invented in 1949 by a man named…Frank Zamboni.
9. Ever wonder what it’s like to be on the ice with hockey’s biggest stars? Check out this GoPro video for an up-close look at just how fast these guys are moving:
10. Canadian goaltender Manon Rhéaume was the first–and only–woman to play in the NHL. She played in two exhibition games with the Tampa Bay Lightning. (Want to know more about Rhéaume? Watch this great video.)