National Hockey League

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National Hockey League (NHL)
Ligue nationale de hockey (French)
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2020–21 NHL season
SportIce hockey
FoundedNovember 26, 1917 (103 years ago) (1917-11-26),
Montreal, Quebec, Canada[1]
Inaugural season1917–18
CommissionerGary Bettman
No. of teams31[2] (32 in 2021)
CountriesCanada (7 teams)
United States (24 teams; 25 in 2021)
HeadquartersNew York City, New York, U.S.
ContinentNorth America
Most recent
Tampa Bay Lightning
(2nd title)
Most titlesMontreal Canadiens
(25 titles)[nb 1]
TV partner(s)

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:

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:

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[change | change source]

Division Team City Arena Capacity Founded Joined General manager Head coach Captain
Eastern Conference
Atlantic Boston Bruins Boston, Massachusetts TD Garden 17,850 1924 Don Sweeney Bruce Cassidy Zdeno Chara
Buffalo Sabres Buffalo, New York KeyBank Center 19,070 1970 Kevyn Adams Ralph Krueger Jack Eichel
Detroit Red Wings Detroit, Michigan Little Caesars Arena 19,515 1926 Steve Yzerman Jeff Blashill Vacant
Florida Panthers Sunrise, Florida BB&T Center 19,250 1993 Dale Tallon Joel Quenneville Aleksander Barkov
Montreal Canadiens Montreal, Quebec Bell Centre 21,302 1909 1917 Marc Bergevin Claude Julien Shea Weber
Ottawa Senators Ottawa, Ontario Canadian Tire Centre 18,652 1992 Pierre Dorion D. J. Smith Vacant
Tampa Bay Lightning Tampa, Florida Amalie Arena 19,092 1992 Julien BriseBois Jon Cooper Steven Stamkos
Toronto Maple Leafs Toronto, Ontario Scotiabank Arena 18,819 1917 Kyle Dubas Sheldon Keefe John Tavares
Metropolitan Carolina Hurricanes Raleigh, North Carolina PNC Arena 18,680 1972 1979* Don Waddell Rod Brind'Amour Jordan Staal
Columbus Blue Jackets Columbus, Ohio Nationwide Arena 18,144 2000 Jarmo Kekalainen John Tortorella Nick Foligno
New Jersey Devils Newark, New Jersey Prudential Center 16,514 1974* Tom Fitzgerald Lindy Ruff Vacant
New York Islanders Uniondale, New York Nassau Coliseum 13,900 1972 Lou Lamoriello Barry Trotz Anders Lee
New York Rangers New York City, New York Madison Square Garden 18,006 1926 Jeff Gorton David Quinn Vacant
Philadelphia Flyers Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Wells Fargo Center 19,500 1967 Chuck Fletcher Alain Vigneault Claude Giroux
Pittsburgh Penguins Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania PPG Paints Arena 18,387 1967 Jim Rutherford Mike Sullivan Sidney Crosby
Washington Capitals Washington, D.C. Capital One Arena 18,506 1974 Brian MacLellan Peter Laviolette Alexander Ovechkin
Western Conference
Central Chicago Blackhawks Chicago, Illinois United Center 19,717 1926 Stan Bowman Jeremy Colliton Jonathan Toews
Colorado Avalanche Denver, Colorado Ball Arena 18,007 1972 1979* Joe Sakic Jared Bednar Gabriel Landeskog
Dallas Stars Dallas, Texas American Airlines Center 18,532 1967* Jim Nill Rick Bowness Jamie Benn
Minnesota Wild Saint Paul, Minnesota Xcel Energy Center 17,954 2000 Bill Guerin Dean Evason Mikko Koivu
Nashville Predators Nashville, Tennessee Bridgestone Arena 17,113 1998 David Poile John Hynes Roman Josi
St. Louis Blues St. Louis, Missouri Enterprise Center 18,724 1967 Doug Armstrong Craig Berube Alex Pietrangelo
Winnipeg Jets Winnipeg, Manitoba Bell MTS Place 15,321 1999* Kevin Cheveldayoff Paul Maurice Blake Wheeler
Pacific Anaheim Ducks Anaheim, California Honda Center 17,174 1993 Bob Murray Dallas Eakins Ryan Getzlaf
Arizona Coyotes[nb 3] Glendale, Arizona Gila River Arena 17,125 1972 1979* Steve Sullivan Rick Tocchet Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Calgary Flames Calgary, Alberta Scotiabank Saddledome 19,289 1972* Brad Treliving Geoff Ward Mark Giordano
Edmonton Oilers Edmonton, Alberta Rogers Place 18,347 1972 1979 Ken Holland Dave Tippett Connor McDavid
Los Angeles Kings Los Angeles, California Staples Center 18,230 1967 Rob Blake Todd McLellan Anze Kopitar
San Jose Sharks San Jose, California SAP Center 17,562 1991 Doug Wilson Bob Boughner Logan Couture
Vancouver Canucks Vancouver, British Columbia Rogers Arena 18,910 1945 1970 Jim Benning Travis Green Bo Horvat
Vegas Golden Knights Paradise, Nevada T-Mobile Arena 17,356 2017 Kelly McCrimmon Peter DeBoer Vacant
  1. An asterisk (*) denotes a franchise move. See the respective team articles for more information.
  2. 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.

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Kreiser, John (November 25, 2017). "NHL turns 100 years old". National Hockey League. 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.
  2. "Teams". NHL Enterprises, L.P. Retrieved March 9, 2019.
  3. "Coyotes to Move to Central Division in 2021-22". NHL Enterprises, L.P. December 4, 2018. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  4. Dale, Shane (December 4, 2018). "Coyotes will switch divisions when new Seattle NHL team joins league". KNXV. Retrieved December 5, 2018.


  1. 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.
  2. As the national rightsholder in Canada, Rogers Media sub-licensed some game broadcasts to CBC and TVA Sports.
  3. Beginning with the 2021–22 NHL season, when the Seattle Kraken joins the Pacific Division, the Arizona Coyotes will move to the Central Division.[3][4]

Other websites[change | change source]