"Up for some shinny?"
It's a phrase that has been uttered by pretty much every Canadian at some point in their life, but have you ever stopped and wondered where the name actually comes from or what it actually means?
Let's first start off with the actual definition of the word. Shinny refers to a game of hockey that is played in the great outdoors. Essentially it's a game of pick-up on a pond or outdoor rink.
At first glance the word shinny seemingly has nothing to do with hockey, other than the fact that it also ends with the letter 'y.' It sounds more like another way of describing the pain that comes with scorching your shin bone on the corner of a coffee table than it does about the game of hockey. But when you say shinny, Canadians think hockey. So why is that? Because of the Scottish team game, "Shinty."
The game of Shinty dates back to pre-historic Scotland. Just like ice hockey, shinty is a game played with sticks in which two teams attempt to score into an opposing team's net while simultaneously defending their own. Think field hockey, but you can actually use the back part of your stick!
Before ice hockey was officially established as a sport of its own, the first iteration of the game involved players using tree branches as sticks and "road apples" as the puck. In case you're unfamiliar with what a road apple is...it's horse manure. Now there's a puck you wouldn't want to drop! Since the game closely resembled shinty, it's believed that European settlers began referring to pond hockey as shinny.
And there you have it, the etymology of the name shinny. So the next time you want to pull a Cliff Claven on your friends when you're playing puck outdoors, let them know where the term shinny actually comes from.