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National Hockey League
|Current season or competition:|
2020–21 NHL season
|Founded||November 26, 1917,|
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
|Inaugural season||[[1917–18 in sports|1917–18]]|
|No. of teams||31 (32 in 2021)|
|Most recent champion(s)||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|Most championships||Montreal Canadiens|
(25 titles)[nb 1]
The National Hockey League or NHL, is the highest-level ice hockey league in the world. It has 31 teams - seven are from Canada and the other 24 are from the United States. The winner of the league each year wins the Stanley Cup.
The NHL began in 1917. Some of the owners in the National Hockey Association had problems with owner Edward Livingstone, so they got rid of him by creating a new league. There were five teams in 1917:
- Montreal Canadiens
- Montreal Wanderers
- Ottawa Senators (later St. Louis Eagles; not related to the current Ottawa Senators)
- Quebec Bulldogs (later Hamilton Tigers)
- Toronto Arenas (later St. Patricks, then Maple Leafs)
They played 22 games a year. The Wanderers had to stop playing in the first year because their arena burned down. Over the years some teams died out, and others were created: the Boston Bruins, New York Americans, Montreal Maroons, Pittsburgh Pirates (later Philadelphia Quakers), New York Rangers, Chicago Black Hawks and Detroit Cougars (later Falcons, then Red Wings).
Some teams folded during the Great Depression, so by 1942 there were only six teams:
- Boston Bruins
- Chicago Black Hawks
- Detroit Red Wings
- Montreal Canadiens
- New York Rangers
- Toronto Maple Leafs
There were only these six teams for 25 years, so they became known as the "Original Six".
By the 1940s, they were playing 50 games a year, but this increased slowly to 80 games by the 1970s. In 1967, the league increased to 12 teams. By 1979 it had 21 teams, and today it has 31. Some of the teams that no longer exist are the Oakland Seals, Minnesota North Stars (now the Dallas Stars), Winnipeg Jets (now the Arizona Coyotes), Kansas City Scouts (which became the Colorado Rockies and are now the New Jersey Devils), Hartford Whalers (now the Carolina Hurricanes), Quebec Nordiques (now the Colorado Avalanche) and Atlanta Thrashers (now the current Winnipeg Jets).
Today they play 82 games a year, plus four rounds of playoffs. The players make a lot of money (many make over a million dollars a year). Because they could make so much money, many Europeans came over to North America to play in the NHL. Today almost all the world's best hockey players are in the NHL.
List of teams
- An asterisk (*) denotes a franchise move. See the respective team articles for more information.
- The Edmonton Oilers, Hartford Whalers (now Carolina Hurricanes), Quebec Nordiques (now Colorado Avalanche), and original Winnipeg Jets (now Arizona Coyotes) all joined the NHL in 1979 as part of the NHL–WHA merger.
- Kreiser, John (November 25, 2017). NHL turns 100 years old. National Hockey League. https://www.nhl.com/news/nhl-celebrates-100th-anniversary-of-founding/c-293253526. Retrieved March 29, 2018. "Beginning on Nov. 24, 1917, the NHA's directors, George Kendall (better known as George Kennedy) of the Montreal Canadiens, Sam Lichtenhein of the Montreal Wanderers, Tom Gorman of Ottawa, M.J. Quinn of Quebec and NHA secretary-treasurer Frank Calder, held three days of meetings at the Windsor Hotel in Montreal and decided to start over. Gorman, seconded by Kendall, proposed, 'That the Canadiens, Wanderers, Ottawa and Quebec Hockey Clubs unite to comprise the National Hockey League.' The motion was carried, and the NHL was officially formed on Nov. 26, 1917.".
- "Teams". NHL Enterprises, L.P.. https://www.nhl.com/info/teams. Retrieved March 9, 2019.
- Coyotes to Move to Central Division in 2021-22. NHL Enterprises, L.P.. December 4, 2018. https://www.nhl.com/coyotes/news/coyotes-to-move-to-central-division-in-2021-22/c-302594896. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
- Dale, Shane (December 4, 2018). Coyotes will switch divisions when new Seattle NHL team joins league. https://www.abc15.com/sports/sports-blogs-local/coyotes-will-switch-divisions-when-new-seattle-nhl-team-joins-league. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
- While the Montreal Canadiens have won 24 Stanley Cups, this does not equal its number of NHL championships, as the Stanley Cup predates the NHL and was an inter-league championship prior to 1926. The Canadiens won a Stanley Cup championship in 1916 as a member of the National Hockey Association, and 23 as a member of the NHL. Montreal also won the NHL championship twice without winning the Stanley Cup: in 1918–19 when the Spanish flu cancelled the Stanley Cup finals against the Seattle Metropolitans of Pacific Coast Hockey Association and in 1924–25 when they lost in the Stanley Cup finals to the Western Canada Hockey League's Victoria Cougars.
- As the national rightsholder in Canada, Rogers Media sub-licensed some game broadcasts to CBC and TVA Sports.
- Beginning with the 2021–22 NHL season, when the Seattle Kraken joins the Pacific Division, the Arizona Coyotes will move to the Central Division.