Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Currently in Houghton MI (Low 61 Partly Sunny High 72) 

We never knew that Houghton Michigan was the birthplace of professional hockey.

We toured Dee Stadium and found out the story.

The area around Houghton was known as Copper Country due the vast amount of copper mined in the area. Seeking to provide entertainment to the miners in the winter hockey teams were started in the late 1890s. Mining was booming so in the fall of 1902 a local entrepreneur named James Dee, along with other locals, funded the construction of the Amphidrome, which opened just after Christmas in 1902. The Amphidrome burned to the ground in 1927 so we got this image from the web.

James Dee had bigger plans and worked with a local dentist named John L. 'Doc' Gibson, who was from Canada, to recruit Canadians with the promise of payment, thus the professional International Hockey League was formed. The first league game was played on December 9, 1904 and the league lasted 3 seasons.

A recession hit driving down the price of copper which dried up the funding for the professional league. The Dee Stadium, built the year after Amphridrome burnt down on the same site and named for James Dee and is the museum for the first professional hockey league. There was a great film in the museum, which was free by the way. Along with the film there were display cases. They have a lot of artifacts from that era, we were a little surprised to see skates that had keys like we had when growing up. Here is an example of the display cases which because of the glass are hard to photograph.

Hockey is still popular in the area. A hockey player from the area, Rod Paavola, from nearby Hancock, was on the 1960 USA Hockey Team that won the gold medal in the Olympics.

A historical marker for the Amphidrome sits outside the Dee Stadium.

There is so much history in this area, another great day in the UP.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

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