International Ice Hockey Federation

Monumental moments

Monumental moments

France’s place in hockey history

Published 05.05.2017 17:40 GMT+2 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Monumental moments
Goalie Cristobal Huet was the first Frenchman to win the Stanley Cup, with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010. Photo: Catherine Steenkeste
As Paris gets set to host the World Championship for the first time since 1951, we look back at the ten greatest moments French hockey has given the world.

1908—LIHG founded

Frenchman Louis Magnus hosted a meeting on 15 May 1908, at his Paris office, 34 rue de Provence. He was joined by representatives from France, Bohemia, Great Britain, and Switzerland, and together they established the Ligue internationale de hockey sur glace (which changed its name in 1946 to International Ice Hockey Federation).

1920—France plays its first Olympics game

Although the LIHG/IIHF was established in 1908, it wasn’t until 1920 that first true international tournament was played. Including teams from Canada and the United States, seven nations played hockey at the Summer Olympics in Antwerp. France played its first game on April 25, losing to Sweden, 4-0.

1924—Chamonix hosts first Olympic Winter Games

The success of hockey in 1920 led the IOC to create a separate event for winter sports. The first Winter Olympics was hosted by Chamonix. Alfred de Rauch, captain in 1920, was captain again in 1924.

1951—Paris hosts 1951 World Championship

France did not participate in the last two pre-World War II World Championships (1938, 1939) or the first three after (1947 and 1949, and the 1948 Olympics), but after returning in 1950 it was awarded the 1951 Worlds. Paris hosted both A and B pools.

1974—Andre Peloffy plays in the NHL

Born in tiny Sete, France, Andre Peloffy made history on 9 October 1974, when he became the first Frenchman to play in the NHL. He made his debut with Washington, playing nine games with the Caps that season.

1995—France defeats Canada

In the long and friendly history of France-Canada relations, one sore point was Canada’s lengthy winning streak “sur glace” against France. Canada was 3-0 in Olympics history and 5-0 in World Championship play, but on 25 April 1995, in Gavle, Sweden, the French beat Canada, 4-1. 

2008—Bozon inducted into IIHF Hall of Fame

Peloffy might have made NHL history, but his career was short-lived. Still, he paved the way for Philippe Bozon to make a more significant mark on the game, both in the NHL (144 games) and Europe (four Olympics, eight World Championships). On May 16, 2008, in Quebec City, Bozon was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in the 100th anniversary of the organization.

2010—Cristobal Huet wins the Stanley Cup

Of course, goaltender Cristobal Huet is living a dream playing a World Championship at home this year at age 41, but in 2010 he made history by helping the Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup. Huet became the first Frenchman to get his name engraved on hockey’s sacred trophy.

2016—France’s women make it to the top

Although France’s hockey history spans the full 109 years of the IIHF’s existence, the women’s program is younger and has not been as successful. The senior women have never made it to the top pool, but in 2015 the U18 team won Division I to earn an historic berth in the top pool for 2016. 

2017—Laurent Meunier captains a record 10th Worlds

Dave Henderson started coaching the men’s senior team in 2005, and three years later he took the team back to the top level, where it has been ever since. This consistency has been the main reason for France’s hosting this year, and Henderson has been with the team ever since. His captain in 2005 was Laurent Meunier, and, incredibly, Meunier has worn the “C” every year since. No other player at the top level has ever captained his team for ten successive years.


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