Few people realize that field and ice hockey are European renditions of the Native American game lacrosse. However, the frozen version of the game has far outpaced the popularity of lacrosse — resulting in the formation of the National Hockey League (NHL). The NHL is one of the four major sports organizations in America, but seven of their teams play their home games in Canada. Though this league has faced recent challenges, the NHL remains one of the most exciting games in the world.
The History of the NHL
The NHL will celebrate its centennial anniversary in 2017, prompting a closer look at the league’s rich history. Today, there are thirty franchise’s in the NHL. Each season they compete for the Stanley Cup Trophy which is the oldest sports award awarded in North America. The league is headquartered in the US city of New York, but it got its roots in Canada. Initially there were only four Canadian teams when the NHL was formed in 1917. In fact, the nation implied in the leagues title refers to Canada. America didn’t have a team until the Boston Bruins were inaugurated in 1924. Since then, warm exotic locations like Los Angeles and Miami have gone on to receive hockey teams. The two professional team in Florida are testaments to the popularity of the league, because this state doesn’t have a climate that permits sandlot ice hockey games.
It’s impossible to discuss hockey history without discussing the infamous original six. While there were already five teams in Canada, the original six refers to the first six teams to play NHL hockey in the US. After the Bruins were added in 1924, The New York Americans (Islanders) and the Pittsburgh Pirates were inaugurated the previous season. The frigid climate of the Northeast was ideal for appealing to hockey fans and the NHL took advantage early. In 1926, the New York Rangers joined the league. That same year, the NHL purchased the rights to the WCHL, inquiring the Chicago Black Hawks and the Detroit Red Wings. While the NHL remains most popular in Canada and the northeast, there are fans living in every corner of the globe.