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William Fairbrother was a Canadian ice hockey player who is credited with inventing the ice hockey net in the 1890s. During the 1880s, Fairbrother played for Beamsville, Ontario's Men's Hockey team.[1] At first, two poles or two rocks served as goals, and an official would watch to see if a puck passed through the goal.[1] However, disputes arose over goals and biased officiating.[1] Then, Fairbrother, who played as a goaltender, got a net from a local fisherman and strung it from the poles.[1] Players were immediately more satisfied with the new system.[1]

The Ontario Hockey Association soon thereafter credited Fairbrother with the idea.[1] Hockey Hall of Fame records indicate that Fairbrother's idea happened in 1897 or 1898.[1] The Jordan Historical Museum of the Twenty held an exhibit on Fairbrother.[2] In February 1997, the town Lincoln, Ontario designated Fairbrother's home a historical site.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Buckingham, Shane. "Lincoln touted as birthplace of the hockey net". St. Catharines Standard. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  2. ^ Edwards, Luke. "Lincoln's hockey history on display at museum". niagarathisweek. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  3. ^ "Lincoln Bylaw" (PDF). Town Of Lincoln. Retrieved 18 October 2016.