With the Winter Classic, the Heritage Classic, and several other outdoor games staged over the past few years, hockey is undergoing a genuine roots movement right about now. But if you want to take hockey even further back -- like, a millennium or two -- you're going to have to lose the ice, swap the puck for a wooden ball, then douse it in gasoline and light it on fire.
In Michoacán, on Mexico's west coast, they used to play a game called "Pelota Phurépecha," or fire hockey. And now they're playing it again. The game is making a comeback in Mexico, as documented in this mini-documentary for the Huffington Post.
Check out the sweet back-pass/saucer-pass combo just after the two-minute mark. It's like you're watching the ancient Mexican equivalents of Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
You'll notice that fire hockey has a lot of similarities to a basic game of road hockey. They play five a side, they use hockey sticks, and the ball represents good while night represents evil.
Plus there's even that annoying guy that simply golfs the ball into oblivion whenever he gets near it. That guy has been around for 2,000 years.
As awesome as this game is, I don't think it's going to catch on up here. To grow a game, you've got to get kids interested at the grassroots level, and any sport that requires dousing something in gasoline, setting it ablaze, and giving it to kids probably won't get past the school board.
Follow Harrison Mooney on Twitter at @HarrisonMooney
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