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Fun Fact about Pittsburgh and Professional Hockey  

Professional, paid to play, hockey in Pittsburgh happened in 1904. Back in the early 1900's, Americans first caught the hockey fever and their zealousness for the game turned it pro few seasons before Eastern Canada followed suit.

At the turn of 20th century, when the game of hockey was spreading like wildfire across Canada, the concept of amateurism reigned supreme. An athlete played a game, and it was felt that his honor should not be tainted by the stains of monetary gain. Professionalism was greatly frowned upon, especially by OHL founder John Ross Robertson, who promised to ban all the dirty "professionals" who sought pay for their employ.

Soon, the demands of the paying customer, the pride of the players, and the requirements of ownership would all converge, and follow the game of baseball into the ranks of professionalism.
In the case of pro hockey, it all began because of a gentleman named Jack Gibson, a dentist, and hockey player with an entrepreneurial spirit. Canadian by birth, Gibson missed competitive hockey greatly, and in that, saw a window of opportunity present itself in the early 1900's.

For hockey origins in the city of Pittsburgh itself, the love affair goes back even further, with a deep and rich history traceable back to 1893 when the father of hockey in the city, James Conant sought to place the game inside the Schenley Park Casino. Conant continued his association with the game after Casino burned to the ground and later formed the Pittsburgh Hockey League in 1900.

Want to Know More? Check out the 10 part series, Hockey: A People's History on Youtube.

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