• Home
  • Calgary
  • In Calgary, a Hockey Exhibit Scores with Science
Telus Spark - Gear Display

In Calgary, a Hockey Exhibit Scores with Science

Telus Spark - Gear Display

Hockey jerseys and paraphernalia from current stars are among the display items at the HOCKEY: Faster Than Ever exhibit, which is at Calgary’s Telus SPARk until March 12. (Photo courtesy of TELUS Spark)

Whether you’re a die-hard hockey fan or have never even attended a game, there’s something for everyone at HOCKEY: Faster Than Ever, now open at TELUS Spark Science Centre in Calgary.

HOCKEY: Faster Than Ever is a thoroughly enjoyable indoor travelling exhibit that invites visitors to learn about the science behind Canada’s game. It presents hockey’s rules, origins and culture, and the technology, anatomy, physics and the laws of motion involved with it. Hockey artifacts and game-used gear from some of hockey’s biggest stars are also on display.

“What’s great about it, is it’s really an exhibit for all ages. It’s really for Canadians. It’s our game,” says TELUS Spark’s Director of Creative Experiences, Kyle Corner. “The exciting part about Hockey: Faster than Ever is we get a chance to peel back hockey as a layer of a spectator sport with some really technical aspects of the game. From a TELUS Spark perspective, we like to reveal the science and show there is science in everything.

“It’s a great introduction to what the game is, with some great hockey and sports history. And if you were simply visiting the science centre, with no familiarity with hockey, the hands-on activities would be fun for any personality. It’s not just for hockey insiders by any means. This highly immersive and interactive exhibit will take our guests deep into the game, like they’ve never experienced before. The best part is there is something here for everyone — from aspiring hockey players or super fans to rink parents, those new to the game, or anyone who is curious about the sport.”

A Zamboni marks the entryway to the exhibit — and then the excitement begins.

Canada is widely regarded as the birthplace of ice hockey, and the exhibit explains how science has transformed the game, making it faster and safer. Visitors also see artifacts from related sports, such as lacrosse, North America’s oldest organized sport, dating centuries, with Indigenous origins.

One of the eye-catching historic items is an outfit for female hockey players from the early 1900s: long wool dresses with stylish gold trim, along with leather boots and skates. It’s noteworthy that the first organized all-women’s hockey game took place in Barrie, Ontario, in 1892 — more than two decades before the founding of the NHL in 1917. And in 1891, Lady Isobel Stanley, one of the earliest female hockey players, helped convince her father, Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley, Lord Stanley of Preston, and Canada’s Governor General from 1888-93, to create the Stanley Cup.

Slapshot Speed - Telus SPARK - Hockey

Testing the speed and accuracy of your slap shot is among the immersive activities fans can participate in at the HOCKEY: Faster Than Ever exhibit. (Photo courtesy of TELUS Spark)

You’ll see how protective gear has evolved over the years with a display on the rink replica. Learn about sled hockey, a type of adaptive hockey, and power (powerchair) hockey. Both of those versions of the game show the diversity of the sport and its players. Explore the many scientific concepts that players need to excel. Test your ability as a referee. Then take a moment to check out the “sin bin” (penalty box). Sit in the stands, push a button and watch for your face to appear on the Jumbotron.

Learn about physics and math concepts — including angles, power, speed, friction, momentum, and force. Find out how many targets you can hit with the puck in 30 seconds. Test your slap shot speed (the average NHL is 160 kilometres an hour, about 100 mph).

Hockey Exhibit Attracts New Fans

This is surprisingly fun for someone like me who had never picked up a hockey stick before, and a memorable way to appreciate the skill, speed and strength it takes to play the sport.

Test your reflexes in arcade-style goalie simulators (also lots of fun) and try your hand at air hockey.

Another exhibit highlight are the display lockers outfitted with jerseys and gear of NHL stars, including Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, and several Calgary Flames, including Jacob Markstrom, Elias Lindholm, and Nazem Kadri, and Rebecca Johnston, who has won three Olympic gold medals with Canada’s women’s team.

TELUS Spark is only the third stop in the world for HOCKEY: Faster Than Ever, which runs through March 12 at the Calgary attraction. Entry is included with general admission to Spark and free for Spark members. HOCKEY: Faster Than Ever is produced and toured internationally by Flying Fish, in collaboration with the Montréal Science Centre and supported by the NHL and NHL Players Association, as well as Spark presenting sponsor, Tim Hortons, and Spark exhibit sponsor, the Calgary Flames Foundation.

For more information or tickets, visit the TELUS Spark website.