If there is one bond between Ireland and Canada, it is they are as passionate about ice hockey as we are about hurling. But did the Irish have an influence on ice hockey?
In a new documentary Poc na nGael to be shown on TG4 on Wednesday nighgt, the one and only Ger Loughnane presents us with an insight into the history of ice hockey and the parallel links with hurling. It also looks at the influence that Irish immigrants had when they left Ireland for Canada and whether some of ice hockey's roots are derived from hurling.
As surreal as a Ger Loughnane travel documentary sounds, the All-Ireland winning manager travels to various parts of Canada, like Toronto and Windsor in Nova Scotia - the birthplace of hockey. He looks at how the sport helped to provide the Irish with the opportunity to mingle and grow in Canadian society.
He also examines the strong Irish heritage that is present in successful Canadian hockey teams like the Montreal Canadiens, the Ottawa Senators and the Toronto Maple Leafs who were originally known as the Toronto St. Patrick’s.
You come away from the film looking at both sports in a new light, and it may be surprising to some that it was the Irish Ulster-Scots Protestants that brought hurling across the water with them.
Loughane said that he could clearly see a connection with while watching ice hockey.
When I watch hockey, I can see the links to hurling. The passion, the skill and the stick work, the commitment of the players, it's clear to me that the sports are connected.
Poc na nGael is an Irish Language documentary and it will be broadcast on TG4 this Wednesday, Sept 6th at 9.30pm.