From a CBC media release:
Epic five-part series traces Canada’s first steps on the ice
Hockey: A People’s History launches this Sunday, September 17th at 8 p.m. on CBC Television with back-to-back episodes.
In the premiere episode, A Simple Game, the origins of hockey are traced back to the ancient pyramids and seen in different forms throughout the world. When the puck is dropped in 1875 one winter’s night in Montreal, a young country has a new passion that explodes across class and gender, creating Canada’s most honoured game.
The episode traces the remarkable evolution of the game and introduces the men and women from all across Canada who will make it their own. It’s the story of visionaries, of a Renaissance man such as James Creighton, the unlikely candidate to be this country’s founding father of hockey, Lord Stanley of Preston, who gives the sport its Holy Grail and the Mic Mac Indians who emerged as the first manufacturers of hockey equipment.
In the second episode, The Money Game, millionaires and mercenaries team up to create professional hockey. For the first time, young men from the working class will make a living playing hockey. The creation of the Montreal Canadians and advancement of hockey’s first super stars, like Fred “Cyclone” Taylor, the highest paid athlete of the day, leads to the creation of the NHL. The structure of hockey as we know it today is formed when the Patrick brothers build Canada’s first artificial ice arenas in Vancouver and Victoria and conceive rule changes that are still in use in today’s game. Among them, the introduction of the blue line, line substitutions, post schedule playoffs, points for assists and forward passing – the key innovation that leads to hockey becoming the fastest game on two feet.
Hockey: A People’s History will air every Sunday at 8 p.m. until October 15 with two one-hour episodes each evening. Series narrator Paul Gross is accompanied by hockey “philosophers” (experts in the field) Wayne Gretzky, Ken Dryden, Michael McKinley, Alison Griffiths, Jean Beliveau, Stephen Brunt, Don Cherry, Daniele Sauvageau, and Bruce Dowbiggin, among others. Hockey: A People’s History is a collaboration between CBC Television and Société Radio-Canada and is produced by the award-winning team who created the nationally acclaimed series Canada: A People’s History.