Classic NHL logo

The National Hockey League is the largest professional hockey organization in the world. It currently has 30 teams located across the United States and Canada, and it is one of four major North American sports leagues (joining NFL, MLB, and NBA). The NHL was established in 1926 when five of the six owners of the National Hockey Association found a way to drop their sixth associate (by forming a new entity). The official season has 80 games (40 home, 40 away) between October through March of the following year during which time the NHL Seasonal Championship is tracked. Then, an official champion is established in the Stanley Cup play-offs among the top 8 teams in both conferences and the play-offs run into the month of June.

The Original Six teams are:

1967 Expansion:

  • Dallas Stars, originally Minnesota North Stars
  • Los Angeles Kings
  • Philadelphia Flyers
  • Pittsburgh Penguins
  • St. Louis Blues

1970-1980 Expansions:

  • Buffalo Sabres (1970)
  • Vancouver Canucks (1970)
  • Calgary Flames (1972), originally Atlanta Flames
  • Edmonton Oilers (1972)
  • New York Islanders (1972)
  • New Jersey Devils (1974), previously Colorado Rockies and originally Kansas City Scouts
  • Washington Capitals (1974)
  • Carolina Hurricanes (1979), originally Hartford Whalers
  • Colorado Avalanche (1979), originally Quebec Nordiques
  • Phoenix Coyotes (1979), originally Winnipeg Jets (original)

1981-1990 Expansions:

  • None

1991-2000 Expansions:

  • San Jose Sharks (1991)
  • Ottawa Senators (1992)
  • Tampa Bay Lightning (1992)
  • Anaheim Ducks (1993), originally The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
  • Florida Panthers (1993)
  • Nashville Predators (1997)
  • Winnipeg Jets (1999), originally Atlanta Thrashers
  • Columbus Blue Jackets (2000)
  • Minnesota Wild (2000)

2001-2010 Expansions:

  • None

Failed Franchises:

  • Montreal Wanderers (1918) ---> home rink burned down after a handful of NHL games forcing the team to forfeit their season and the team never resumed play.
  • Hamilton Tigers (1925) pka Quebec "Bulldogs" ---> economic downturn caused franchise to fold after one successful season in Hamilton (Quebec's mascot was never an official part of the team's name).
  • Montreal Maroons (1938) ---> the incomparable success of the Francophone team forced the new owners out of town so they transferred to Philadelphia but they never found an arena to host games.
  • New York Americans (1942) ---> renamed as Brooklyn Americans in a failed attempt to rejuvenate local interest, the success of the Rangers buried the franchise admist financial strains of World War II.
  • Philadelphia Quakers (1931) pka Pittsburgh Pirates ---> team competed concurrently with MLB team known as "Pittsburgh Pirates," but a suitable arena could not be found in Pennsylvania, which consequently forced the team to fold.
  • St. Louis Eagles (1935) pka Ottawa Senators (original) ---> franchise failed under financial burdens from traveling to Canada often since they adopted Ottawa's schedule to compete mostly against Canadian teams.
  • Cleveland Barons (1978) pka California Golden Seals pka Oakland Seals ---> franchise merged with Minnesota North Stars in 1978 (although it was mostly a buyout by the Stars franchise, so the Seals/Baron franchise is considered "failed") after 2 seasons in Ohio having come into operations in the 1967 expansion.

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