For more than 100 years, hockey has been the main winter sport in Newfoundland and Labrador. While it didn't reach some areas of the province until the mid-1900s, hockey began its important and worthwhile impact on the Avalon Peninsula population in the 1890s.
Overcoming major obstacles to become a permanent aspect of life, hockey expanded from its St. John's beginning into other areas of the Avalon Peninsula, especially Conception Bay and Bell Island, and followed industry and transportation into every section of the province. The expansion went across the island with Grand Falls, Buchans and Corner Brook leading the way.
Around the time of the World War I, hockey was an annual winter activity in a wide range of smaller communities, played often on frozen harbours and on ponds and rivers close to the communities.
In many cases, the manner in which harbours faced the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of St. Lawrence was a prime consideration in when and how often hockey was played. Winds and tides were often main influences on where and when hockey was played.
There was no great abundance of equipment in the early stages and, because of tough economic times, cash was often not available for skates, sticks and the like. In fact, in many towns, frozen horse or cow droppings were used as pucks, and catalogues and magazines were used as leg pads.
Overall, as in many Canadian locations, hockey was played under the best conditions possible and, despite the obvious drawbacks, it was played.
The crash of Newfoundland banks in 1894 caused banks from mainland Canada to move into Newfoundland, mainly in the immediate St. John's area. These banks transferred employees from Canada to work in their branches.