My great-grandfather Adam Kowalsky arrived from Poland in 1905, and hockey had already been well established in Canada. The early 1800’s saw the first primitive version of ice hockey in Canada and the game believed to have spread throughout Canada via Scottish and Irish Immigrants and the British army. Many presume ice hockey is derived from field hockey that was being playing in Britain at the time. However, the name hockey has been attributed to the French word hoquet (shepherd’s stick); and the game itself has a long and rich heritage in Canada.
My fourth great grandfather James Stapleton arrived in Canada around the early 1800's from Ireland, (his granddaughter would marry Adam Kowalsky). Is it possible that he was among one of these early immigrants to bring this sport to Canada? Is it possible that the Kowalsky hockey gene all began with a young boy from Ireland?
Even before Kowalsky’s were being born in Canada the rules for the game of hockey had already been established by students at McGill University in Montreal Canada and by 1879 several amateur clubs and leagues were established in Canada by the late 1880’s.
My Dad and my uncle Bob will also claim a small piece of history for coaching two young hockey players named Rob Blake and Dwayne Roloson, who undoubtedly go on to hockey fame.