Precursor games of ice hockey are known to have been played in Ottawa. The 1850s medal pictured was presented to a shinny tournament champion. The illustration on the medal depicts two players. The sticks are field hockey sticks and the game was played with a ball. The medal is in the collection of the City of Ottawa archives.
James Creighton, the organizer of the first recorded organized game in 1875 moved to Ottawa and helped develop the game. He worked as a law clerk for the Senate chamber of the Parliament of Canada. Another important figure in the development of the game in Ottawa was P. D. Ross, the publisher of the Ottawa Journal, and later trustee of the Stanley Cup.
The Ottawa Hockey Club, formed in 1883. The club played its first competitive matches in the Montreal Winter Carnival tournament of 1884, and helped form the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada in 1886. The team went into hiatus from 1887 until 1889, when the new Rideau Skating Rink opened, and P. D. Ross helped to rebuild the hockey club. They would re-enter play in 1890, in the Ontario Hockey Association. Ottawa HC were the first winners in the OHA, from 1890 to 1893. They left the OHA after that season in a dispute over the location of playoffs for the Cosby Cup. This schism lead to today's organization of hockey in Ontario where the ODMHA is responsible for eastern Ontario rather than the OHA.
When Lord Stanley was named Governor-General to Canada, he and his sons and daughter developed a keen interest in hockey, and games were played on a natural rink at Rideau Hall. His sons played on a team called the "Rideau Hall Rebels".
On March 8, 1889, the first recorded organized women's ice hockey match took place at Rideau Skating Rink.