|IIHF since||October 20, 1908 (founding member)|
|Top league||Ligue Magnus|
|Current champion||Rapaces de Gap|
France is a country in Western Europe. Paris is the capital and largest city.
|Ligue Magnus||1906||-||Top-level national competition|
|FFHG Division 1||1930||-||Second-level national competition|
|FFHG Division 2||1972||-||Third-level national competition|
|FFHG Division 3||1876||-||Fourth-level national competition|
|Coupe de France||1975||-||National cup competition|
|Coupe de la Ligue||2007||-||League cup competition|
|Critérium des équipes secondes||1927||1930||Defunct second-level competition|
|3e série||1933||1935||Defunct third-level competition|
|French Women's Hockey League||1986||-||Top-level women's competition|
|Coupe de France||1930||1933||Defunct women's competition|
|Women's 1re série||1933||1937||Defunct women's competition|
|French junior competitions||-||Various junior competitions|
History of hockey in France
The January 26, 1864, edition of the Otago Daily Times (printed in Dunedin, New Zealand, of all places) reported that "hockey" had been played on Le Lac de Madrid: "..the plucky emperor, despite secret assassination and political troubles, escorted Eugenie and the Child of France to the skating districts, where, accompanied by groups of gay citizens, they disported their figures in the far famed Bois de Boulogne. Penny a liners tell us how Royalty played hop scotch and hockey with rue Parisian gusto on Le Lac de Madrid; how the Empress, all dressed in velvet and gold, measured her fair length of the frozen lake; how Majesty smiled when released from this undignified position; how the modern Caesar challenged 'the talent' for a two mile spin; and how L. N. looked somewhat older than he did fifteen years ago." Napoleon III was an ice skating enthusiast who created numerous skating areas on the Bois de Bolougne.
Later on, the French Emperor and Pierre de Coubertin (the founder of the International Olympic Committee), were bandy pioneers who took up playing the sport. Some bandy was played at the Grand lac du Bois-Boulogne in 1891.
The first ice rink in France, known as the Pole Nord, opened in Paris in 1892. A year later, a circular rink, the Rond point des Champs Elysées, was erected. George Meagher, a Canadian figure skater, introduced the game of ice hockey to France in 1894, when he brought a rule book, coaching instructions, as well as hockey sticks and pucks with him and began running practices in Paris.
The first French club, Hockey Club de Paris, was also formed by Meagher this year. They staged inter-squad games and held practices. HCP took on Princes Ice Hockey Club of England in Paris in December 1897. This game was played with hockey sticks and a puck, making it one of the earliest such games to played in Europe. A series of matches were also played in Paris between local sides and the Scottish Ice Hockey Club that December. There had been talks of a Scottish team visiting Paris for several years. The December 25, 1894, edition of Le Figaro reported: "The success of Hockey (Polo) is strengthened day after day at Pôle Nord. Rumor tells that a Scottish team will soon compete in France against the members of the Hockey-Club. The match will be played at Pôle Nord."
Club des Patineurs de Paris was founded in 1902 and played their first two matches against SC Lyon in 1903. HCP merged with CdP that year. CdP played their first international game in 1904 against Princes, losing 2-0.
An ice hockey section of the Federation Francaise des Sports de Glace was created in 1907, and France was one of the founding members of the Ligue Internationale de Hockey Sur glace (LIHG; the present-day IIHF) in 1908. Frenchman Louis Magnus was the federation's first president.
The national championship was first contested in 1907. France was the second European country to establish a national championship after Great Britain (1898). Chamonix Hockey Club is the most decorated French club, having won 30 national titles. The French league had numerous names over the years, and it was re-named the Ligue Magnus in honor of Louis Magnus in 2004. Division 1-Division 3 comprise the second-fourth level French leagues. The Coupe de France has been staged as the national cup competition since 1975.
The French National Team made its international debut in 1909, playing in the first Coupe de Chamonix, in which they finished second. France was represented at the tournament by Club des Patineurs de Paris They finished third at the LIHG Championships in 1913 and 1914. France participated in the European Championships four times - in 1923, 1924, 1926, and 1932. One of the best teams in Europe at the time, they won a silver medal in 1923 and a gold medal in 1924.
In 1930, they made their debut at the World Championships, finishing in a tie for sixth place. France remained near the bottom of the top grouping until 1950 when they were relegated to the newly-created B Pool. Between 1951 and 1991, they did not make a single appearance in the top division of the World Championships, playing exclusively in the lower tiers. France's long awaited return to the top-level came in 1992, and between 1992-2000 and 2008-2015, they have played in the top division yearly. The men's national team has participated in the Olympic Games 10 times, their first appearance coming at the inaugural 1920 tournament. France has not finished higher than sixth place at the Olympics since 1928.
In recent times, some of the best French players have been Stephane Botteri, Philippe Bozon, Jacques Lacarriere, Bernard LeBlond, Jean-Philippe Lemoine, Daniel Maric Franck Pajonkowski, Andre Peloffy, Denis Perez, Serge Poudrier, Christian Pouget, Pierre Pousse, Antoine Richer, Christophe Ville, and Cristobal Huet.
The women's national team participated in the Women's European Championship Qualification in 1989, playing two games against Czechoslovakia. They played in the IIHF European Women Championships from 1991 to 1996. The French women first participated in the IIHF World Women's Championships in 1999. The women's U18 national team has played in the IIHF World Women's U18 Championships since 2009.
The junior national team first appeared at the IIHF World U20 Championships in 1979, finishing second in Pool B. They finished in 10th place in the Top Division in 2002. That remains their only appearance at the elite level to date.