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Wednesday, February 7, 2001
Updated: February 12, 11:04 AM ET
Who came up with "puck"?

ESPN The Magazine

Joy Kalfus, publicist, NHL: There's no good answer for that. Yet. Try calling In Glas. They make pucks for us. Cindy, receptionist, In Glas, Inc.: Pucks come from Slovakia. And? And that's all I can tell you. Why? Because that's all I know. Fair enough. Earl Zuckerman, sports information director, McGill University, Montreal: The French word is les rondelles, which means rings, as in les rondelles d'oignons. That's good eatin'. Of course, most Quebecois simply say "le puck." Mais oui. They also use the word "puck" in hurling. I believe that's "puke," Earl. No, no, hurling. It's a sport in Ireland. You're telling me. Brendan Walsh, Answer Guy's Irish friend: Hurling is like lacrosse, only savage. Grrr. But the ball's not a puck, it's a sliotar. Och! There is something called a "puck out," though. And what's that? It's when the goalie has the ball and he pucks it out. Glad we cleared that up. Dan Diamond, editor, Total Hockey: Some people like to think it derives from the devilish fairy, Puck, in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. You know, because the puck can be tricky to deal with. Lord, what fools these mortals be. Quite. Ice hockey was first played outside British garrisons in what is now Nova Scotia and Ontario. With ya. Many soldiers were of Irish decent. In fact, the game was sometimes called "hurling on ice." Yeesh. Soldiers would play with whatever they found, an old boot heel, a piece of wood, even frozen dung. What a game. In Gaelic, "puck" means to strike or hit, as in "Do ya want a puck in the puss?" Yipe! They may simply have transferred the action onto the object. Puck the puck! Exactly.

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