International Ice Hockey Federation

Happy birthday, IIHF!

Happy birthday, IIHF!

LIHG was born 109 years ago in Paris

Published 15.05.2017 21:11 GMT+2 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Happy birthday, IIHF!
The address the IIHF was founded on this day in 1908: 34 rue de Provence. Photo: Storie Serres
International hockey came into being exactly 109 years ago today, at 34, rue de Provence in Paris. Today, we visit the location and celebrate.

The early days of hockey in Europe were marked by huge inconsistencies in rules and interpretations of rules from one country to another. That was enough for Louis Magnus.

Magnus was a Jamaican-born Frenchman who moved to Paris in 1889 at age eight and later became the driving force behind CP Paris (officially called Club de Patineurs de Paris) and the development of international ice hockey in the years before World War I. 

In a 1905 column in the Bulletin du Club des Patineurs de Paris, he wrote: "It would be wise to find a solution for the unification of the rules of hockey. The question is being studied and we hope to bring a solution this year." 

Initially, the proposals to improve the situation were addressed to the International Ice Skating Union, but that organization was not interested in Magnus’s issue, and no resolution to the problem seemed imminent.

As a result, Magnus decided to form an independent federation devoted specifically to ice hockey. La Ligue Internationale de Hockey sur Glace (LIHG), precursor to the IIHF, was born. 

The first Congress of the LIHG was organized by Magnus on 15-16 May 1908, at the offices of l'USFSA (Union des Sociétés Françaises des Sports Athlétiques) in Paris.

Participating delegates included the executives of the French CPP (Magnus, Robert Planque and Robert van der Hoeven), representatives of Belgium (Eddie De Clercq and Eduard Malaret), Switzerland (Eduard Mellor and Louis Dufour), and Great Britain (represented by E.E. Mavrogodato of the National Skating Association). The LIHG, with Magnus as president and Planque as general secretary, also added Bohemia to its list of members at the first meeting.

Today, the building remains active on this quiet, busy street in the 9th arrondissement, but the offices are no longer connected to the IIHF. Click here for a video from the place. And now, 109 years after its founding, the IIHF boasts 76 member national associations, and a program that not only includes the Olympics and World Championships but also junior events, women’s events, and inline hockey tournaments. 

Hockey is played and watched by hundreds of millions of people worldwide, but its international genesis can be traced to a modest meeting in a small Paris office organized by Frenchman Louis Magnus.


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Video from 34 rue de Provence