Hockey Night in Délı̨nę

In 1825, John Franklin was on his second expedition to the Arctic Ocean. Temperatures were dropping, and it was getting too cold to continue, so Franklin and his men stayed in what is now the community of Délı̨nę (‘where the water flows’). Délı̨nę had been a gathering place because of its rich supply of fish for at least 6,000 years at that point. Franklin built a fort on the ruins of a North West Company trading post and named it in his own honour.

While at the new fort, Franklin recorded a game of hockey in a letter he wrote in November of 1825; “till the snow fell, the game of hockey played on the ice was the morning’s sport.”  Local Dene oral history recounts seeing people “flying around” on the ice and playing a game.  Franklin’s letter is the earliest recorded mention of hockey in North America, leading to the claim that Délı̨nę is “The Birthplace of Hockey.”