My dad (Martin Jones) had taught me, early on, that his grandfather, Frank Martin (who lived to be 100), always told him that Lake Banook was the birthplace of hockey and that he should know, considering he played hockey on the Dartmouth lakes as early as the 1890s and grew up around the old timers who would have played in some of the earliest games of hockey ever. With this tradition in mind, Dad and I were always frustrated when a different community would be touted as the birthplace of hockey (Windsor or Montreal, for example). He started to take matters in his own hands and conducted thorough research on the topic. Luckily, Dr. John P. Martin, the brother of Frank Martin, wrote heavily on the subject in both our beloved Story of Dartmouth and small booklets. My father wrote the newspapers and went on the radio, taking on the claims of cities like Montreal (Quebec) and Kingston (Ontario) and the little community of Windsor (Nova Scotia). Suddenly, Dad started to receive a lot of support for his campaign to promote (and verify) Dartmouth as the genuine birthplace of hockey. He even received an extremely helpful call from Norman Ferguson, the elderly brother of the late C. Bruce Ferguson, former Provincial Archivist for Nova Scotia. He told my dad that his brother had written an extensive paper on the topic of Dartmouth/Halifax as the birthplace of hockey and that he had it ready to show him. It turned out to be a rich source of highly useable information and arguments for the large amount of work that Dad decided he was about to take on... It was now the right time to write a book on Dartmouth's substantial claim. Nimbus, the famous Atlantic Canadian book publisher, decided to support the project and, after a year of covering our dining room table with hundreds and hundreds of pages of research and writing on the van dashboard during family road trips, the book, Hockey's Home: The Origin of Canada's Game was printed and sold throughout Canada. The Hockey News declared Hockey's Home to be one of the top three presents to give a hockey fan for Christmas! The book is also a National Bestseller, with over 5000 copies sold. From the Hockey's Home website:
Dartmouth lawyer Martin Jones provides the true facts concerning the origin of our national game in his new book, Hockey's Home: Halifax - Dartmouth - The Origin of Canada's Game (Nimbus Publishing ISBN 1-55109-408-8). Hockey great Paul Henderson writes in the foreword: "Martin Jones has provided a compelling case that ice hockey originated in Dartmouth and Halifax...Hockey's Home is a great read that every hockey enthusiast will thoroughly enjoy."
Here is the link to the book's informative website:
Here is the link to the new edition of the book on Nimbus' website:
Here is the link to the first edition of the book on Nimbus' website:
|Martin Jones clearing the Dartmouth Skating Oval on Lake Banook. Photo: David Jones.|
When I was in grade two at Hawthorn Elementary School, I entered a sports trivia contest in the student newspaper. If I remember correctly, the quiz was created by my 'reading buddy' David Burns. One of the questions: Where is the birthplace of hockey? I immediately wrote down Lake Banook. Even at that early age, I knew enough to know that Canada's national winter sport was first played only a few hundred metres away from my house and from my school, in the heart of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. I recall being rather annoyed at not winning the competition (I was a very strong-willed nine year old). "He must wrongfully think it was invented in Windsor or Montreal," I said.