THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Skating Becomes World-Wide
Pastime in Last Half
STATE and LIBERTY.
By MEL ROSEN
By far the most popular of
American winter sports is skating.
The pleasures derived from this
activity are enjoyed by children,
parents, and grand-parents alike.
Here's one sport for which you are
never too young to make your
Although the skating season in
our country is short, if not non-
existant, due to our short winter,
science and engineering advances
have intervened to prQyide us with
numerous artificial rinks both in-
door and outdoor.
Today there are ice rinks in the
most unexpected places; in Rich-
mond, Virginia, in Fort Worth,
Texas, as far south as Miami,
Florida, and even in a climate as
tropical as Hollywood, California.
The reasons for Amreica's great
interest for skating are many. The
first, and not least important, is
the publicity given to figure skat-
ing in recent years by ice shows
and especially by Sonya Henie,
both in person and in the movies.
The second big factor in the
growth of skating has been the
development of artificial ice. For-
merly skating was dependent on
the weather. Synthetic ice-making
did away with this.
The third factor in the spread
of the sport in the United States
has been the development and
improvement of the shoe skate.
According to sports historian
Frank G. Menke, the first all-
steel skate was invented by E. W.
Bushnell of Philadelphia back in
1850, at a cost of $30 a pair.
Until 1910 these old-fashioned
skates, fastened to just any old
pair of shoes were generally used.
Then the perfection of a shoe de-
signed to go with it made skating
easier. Skates attached to the shoe
were soonused by experts and be-
ginners alike. With these new
models one could leap about, happy;
in the knowledge that one's skate
would not be left in mid-air. Lately
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these skates, and especially the
shoes have been improved and per-
fected. Today authorities say that
thanks to the modern skate-shoe,
no one's ankles are too weak for
All this - the streamlining of
skates which made figure skating
easier, the invention of artificial
ice, the entrance of showmanship
into exhibition--helped build up
increased interest in recent years.
But probably, if any single per-
son more than another is respon-
sible, it is Sonya Hene, the petite
Norwegian, who held the Woman's
Amateur Skating Title from 1927
until 1936, when 'she turned pro-
Sonya, with crowd lure in her
eyes, a pair of high priced skates,
and two sturdy legs grossed $700,-
000 for 29 shows in five cities on
her first cross country tour in
1938. Subsequent trips were also
very profitable. Her entrance into
motion pictures-she leaped into
the big ten of the movie world with
a single picture-helped sell the
nation on skating.
First From Bones
So far as the skate is concerned,
the first blades were made of the
small bones of animals, perhaps
with the joints cut off, or at least
hacked down in some fashion to
make the runner as smooth- as
possible. They were succeeded cen-
turies later by wooden - bladed
The first iron skates were fash-
ioned in 1572, and although pro-
gress on them was very sluggish
in comparison with that on the
modern steel bladed skates, it was
a great, improvement over the
skates of heavily waxed wooden
Today there is a great diversity
of skate blades, depending upon
what partieular use they are to be
put to. Figure skating demands a
grooved toe with an arced blade,
so that only two or three inches
of the skate touches ,the ice. For
speed skating a thin blade. is'
recommended which is about four
inches longer than the length of
the shoe. Hockey players use a
reinforced skate which has a blade,
more or less level with the ice
and extends about the length of
Skating was brought to the
United States by the Dutch in the
early seventeenth century. It has
steadily grown in popularity ever
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FOREIGN STAR-Six years ago Bill MacFarland, born and rais
in Canada, came to the University of Michigan. MacFarland we
out for hockey and became a star on the Wolverine hockey squa
eventually becoming captain in his senior year.
Canadian Hockey Star
StimulaeSpr n U.S.
will find that
Christmas begins a t
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Only the finest quality at prices that are fair
By TOM BITTKER
It seems that hockey players in'
the United States are destined to
compete in the shadow of their
Canadian contemporaries for
many future tears.-
Canadian domination over ma-
jor collegiate and professional ice
squads has never been challanged.
It is true that Canada's hockey
crews have been defeated by
squads bearing the colors of Amer-
ican cities and colleges, but the
majority of the players from these
latter teams had their background
on Canadian rinks.
North of the Border
Hockey developed north of the-
border. It was not until the game
became established in Canada,
that it reached the United States.
The game is now as important to
Canada as baseball is to the United
Hockey would have had a much
better opportunity to grow here
had it not been for climatic condi-
tions. This, above all other, is the
reason that Americans have failed
to equal Canadians at the spot.
Hockey requires ice, and all of
Canada has access to ice for at
least three months in the year.
Winters cold enough to produce
ice in the United States car
be found in the northern th
the nation. Even in these
the winter weather is erratic,
having temperatures warm ei
to melt the ice that existe
With this natural envirc
young Canadians can be con
that there will be natural rii
which'they may play hockey.
American counterparts- mu:
ways be plagued with the i
tainty that their playing si
will disappear, when the capi
Few high schools in the l
States have hockey teams,
unable to afford the cost
artificial rink. Hockey even
falls from the repitoire of the
Hockey will remain in tl
terest of America, despite th
that in most sections of the
try conditions are not satisf;
for the game to be played
It, survives, and contim
grow in popularity, as o;
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