How Long Has The NHL Been Around?

The NHL has been around for almost a century now. How long has it been since the first game was played?


The National Hockey League (NHL) is a professional ice hockey league consisting of 31 teams, 23 in the United States and 7 in Canada. Founded in 1917, the NHL is the oldest professional hockey league in the world.

Early History of the NHL

The National Hockey League (NHL) is a professional ice hockey league in North America, currently comprising 31 teams: 24 in the United States and 7 in Canada. Founded in 1917, it is the oldest of the four major professional sports leagues in North America. And it is widely considered to be the premier professional ice hockey league in the world.

The Stanley Cup, the oldest professional sports trophy in North America, was first awarding to NHL Champions in 1893. The league was founded following a meeting of the National Hockey Association (NHA), which was created by Ambrose O’Brien as a way of eliminating amateurism in hockey by creating a paying league. The NHA decided at its November 26 meeting to form a new league with six clubs from Ontario and Quebec: the Canadiens, Shamrocks, Victorias, Canadiens Amateur Athletic Association (AAA), and Ottawa Senators. However, two of these clubs – Victorias and AAA – remained amateur and so could not take part in any Stanley Cup games until 1915 when both finally turned pro.

The Montreal Wanderers and Toronto Arenas quickly joined the league for its inaugural season – which turned out to be a disaster due to rink issues and poor weather. As a result, only five teams played that first season with the Arenas going on to win the first Stanley Cup championship.

The Original Six Era

In 1942, the NHL doubled in size to 12 teams, with the addition of the Brooklyn Americans, Pittsburgh Penguins (then the Pittsburgh Hornets), New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks. The Original Six era lasted until 1967 when the league doubled in size again and added six more teams.

Expansion Era

In 1993, the NHL began a major expansion, adding nine teams in an attempt to rival the popularity of the NFL. The new teams were the Tampa Bay Lightning, Ottawa Senators, San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Mighty Ducks, Florida Panthers, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (now the Arizona Coyotes), Nashville Predators, Atlanta Thrashers (now the Winnipeg Jets) and Minnesota Wild.

The league continued to expand in 2000, when the Nashville Predators and Atlanta Thrashers became the 27th and 28th NHL franchises. In 2011, the Winnipeg Jets returned to Winnipeg after 15 years in Atlanta, while the Ottawa Senators welcomed back their original franchise name.

Modern Era

The National Hockey League was founded on November 26, 1917, with the temporary suspension of operations during World War I. The league resumed play in 1919 with five teams: the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Arenas and Quebec Bulldogs.

In 1924, the NHL began to expand rapidly into the United States, starting with the addition of the Pittsburgh Pirates. By 1926, the league had doubled in size to 10 teams with the arrival of the Boston Bruins and New York Americans. In 1942, the original six teams were joined by the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks, making it an eight-team league.

The NHL continued to grow throughout the twentieth century and is now comprised of 31 teams across Canada and the United States.


In Conclusion, the NHL has been around since 1917 and is currently comprised of 31 teams. Each team plays an 82 game regular season schedule before the playoffs begin. The playoffs are a best-of-seven series and the winner of each series advances to the next round until a champion is crowned.

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