Houghton: The Birthplace of Professional Hockey
...a book for all hockeyists, puckeys, rooters, hockey enthusiasts, and historians...
THE STORY OF HOW A CANADIAN-BORN DENTIST and Houghton entrepreneur changed hockey by openly paying players to come to Michigan's Copper Country to play hockey. In the early days of hockey it was a game for amateurs, however there were rumors that some players were secretly paid. It was not until 1903 that Jack "Doc" Gibson and James R. Dee decided to recruit the best players from Canada and pay them to play for the Portage Lake (Houghton) hockey team. The team won the 1904 U.S. Championship and defeated a team from Montreal for what was billed as the World's Championship. Following this successful season, Gibson and Dee began promoting the idea of a professional hockey league and in December 1904 play began in the International Hockey League (IHL). The league had five teams - Calumet, Pittsburgh, Portage Lake, Sault Ste. Marie Michigan, and Sault Ste. Marie Ontario - and although the league lasted only three seasons it was the start of professional hockey.
William J. (Bill) Sproule is a Professor Emeritus, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI, where he taught in transportation engineering, public transit, airport design, and hockey history. He is a member of several associations including the Historical Society of Michigan, the Houghton County Historical Society, and the Society for International Hockey Research.
paperback, 134 pages, 10 x 8 inches