From the Detroit Red Wings to the New York Rangers, it’s a sport embraced by millions of fans across the world – and one worth billions to the economies of the US and Canada.
And though ice hockey may have been long overshadowed by football across Scotland, more and more people are now turning to their local ice rinks for sporting glory.
And nowhere has the rising popularity of ice hockey been felt more keenly than it has in Tayside and Fife in recent times; where the rivalry between the two Elite Ice Hockey League sides in the area is becoming increasingly intense.
And head coach and general manager of the Dundee Stars, Omar Pacha, said he feels the sport which he has played since the age of nine is soon “going to boom” in the area.
“The first thing I noticed in Dundee, which was a bit disappointing, was that people didn’t even know about the Stars,” said the 31-year-old who took on the role in 2017.
“Ice hockey is the number one indoor sport in all the UK. So it was kind of about pushing that out to the people of Dundee. Realising that we’re playing in the top league of all the UK.
“Throughout the season we grew attendance 35% so it was great to see the building jam-packed at certain games.
“We had 2,200 (people), our highest attendance, against the Fife Flyers; which was obviously jam-packed. They came in numbers in the second half of the season.
“We felt the buzz and had a lot more people showing up at the rink. So the sport really, really grew.”
Mr Pacha, who grew up just outside of the sport’s historic home of Montreal, said that much of the recent interest in the sport started with local children taking note, and families coming to games as a result.
“Football is in your culture, it’s something that you are brought up with. But, us, we’re trying to create an event,” he said.
“We want to show them there is not only football in this city, there is also ice hockey. It’s getting way, way bigger in every city that has a team. I think it’s going to boom within the next few years.”
Eliot Shaw, commercial manager of the Dundee Stars, said: “Certainly the past two years we’ve seen a steady increase in the brand, the number of fans coming through the door each week. We’ve seen a steady growth.
“I think the growth was more vocal in the first half of 2018, we started getting a lot more fans through the door. We started getting a lot more people chatting and talking about the Dundee Stars, there was a real buzz about the town.
“We’ve seen our crowds go from almost 900 at the start of the season to touching 1,500 by the end.
“I think now we’re starting to see that fan base develop, that core fan base develop, which is obviously fantastic for us; and we’re starting to see a lot more people become dedicated to the sport.”
In Kirkcaldy, the Fife Flyers have been reaping the benefits of a phenomenal season which has seen them win the Gardiner Conference title for the first time ever and earn a place in the “final four” at last weekend’s British Championship play-off finals.
Hundreds of fans set off for Nottingham last Friday to watch their side compete in the competition.
The Kirkcaldy team were eventually beaten by Cardiff Devils on Saturday. The Welsh side went on to win the play-offs.
“As far as interest levels goes in hockey in Fife, I’m telling you if you have a successful team here the place goes nuts for it,” said Flyers head coach Todd Dutiaume, speaking ahead of Saturday’s semi-final showdown.
“We see increased numbers in our junior development participation, more participation in our public skating sessions and certainly in our attendances.
“So the more competitive the Dundee Stars and the more competitive Fife Flyers and I guess the more feistiness between the two teams, (that) certainly leads to a surge of interest and we see a lot of travelling support.”
In Kirkcaldy, ice hockey has been an established sport in the community since 1938, making them the oldest professional side in the UK.
And Mr Dutiaume, who arrived in the town as a player in the 1998-99 season, said that football and ice hockey are not in competition locally.
“It is hard to walk around this building without walking in somebody’s footsteps. I feel that it’s a two-sport town here,” the 44-year-old added.
“We compete with Raith Rovers here for kind of the very similar fan base. They pretty much overlap each other.
“And if we are doing very well, which we are now, we certainly see a surge in our crowds. If the Rovers are doing well, vice-versa.”
And Mr Dutiaume said the level of competition within Scotland’s Gardiner Conference means that “no games are just a given any more”.
He added: “I love the fact that ice hockey is increasing in popularity across the country. With my coach’s hat on, we want to have the best team in Scotland, we want to be an even more successful club.
“For the best of ice hockey I think it’s important that the Dundee Stars, the Braehead Clan and the Edinburgh Capitals all have good competitive teams that can win on any given night.
“And I think we are really approaching that level. It just increases excitement.”