The first known reference to the game was in 1838, when William Holloway's General Dictionary of Provincialisms called it hawkey, a West Sussex term. The word is thought by some to be related to the hook - the stick's curved end. Another theory is that it comes from the French hocquet, a shepherd's crook or "hookey". By the 18th century the game was being played by English schoolboys and young men.
The game developed from its Gaelic cousin - hurling - in 1527. The Galway Statutes referred to the "hurling of the little ball with hockie sticks or staves", although 4,000-year-old Egyptian tomb images show games with hooked sticks. "Bullying off", the now obsolete way of starting the game, is thought to come from an Etonian term for scrimmage.Reuse content