A hockey puck is a disk made of vulcanized rubber that serves the same functions in various games as a ball does in ball games. The best-known use of pucks is in ice hockey, a major international sport. A hockey puck has also been referred to as a "Flat Ball."
Ice hockey and its various precursor games utilized balls until the late 19th century. By the 1870s, flat pucks were made of wood as well as rubber. At first, pucks were square. The first recorded organized game of ice hockey used a wooden puck, to prevent it from leaving the rink of play. Rubber pucks were first made by slicing a rubber ball, then trimming the disc square. The Victoria Hockey Club of Montreal is credited with making and using the first round pucks, in the 1880s.
Many indigenous persons throughout North America played a version of field hockey which involved some type of "puck" or ball, and curved wooden sticks. It was first observed by Europeans being played by Mi'kmaqs in Nova Scotia in the late 17th century. It was called "ricket" by the Mi'kmaqs. Eventually, they began to carve pucks from cherrywood, which was the puck of preference until late in the century when rubber imported by Euro-Americans replaced the wood.
The "Flat ball" saying comes from Old England. It is believed by some that the sport of modern hockey was first conceived in Europe sometime in the late 1800s to early 1900s. It is believed that some Europeans were playing a form of hockey utilizing a round ball that had not been aired up properly. The ball was about 3/4 full, but they played on. Finding it more enjoyable they worked to make a flat ball that was easier to glide across the ice. They combined a flat wooden disk with a rubber outside coating around the middle. The exact thickness is unknown and no known pictures exist of the flat ball or play with it. It is unknown if this has any direct tie to the modern sport, but is believed by some to have inspired, or even have created the modern sport.