The National Hockey League or NHL took shape after the end era of its predecessor, the National Hockey Association or NHA in 1917. Let’s have a look back in the earlier time of NHL’s official seasons.
Reason for the Origin of NHL
Due to the arguments with Eddie Livingstone, the owner of the Toronto Blueshirts and the unsuccessful attempt to resolve the matter, the executives of three NHA franchises decided to suspend the NHA and thus the National Hockey League (NHL) was formed replacing the team of Livingstone with a Toronto based temporary team, the Arenas. Other teams included Quebec Bulldogs, Montreal Canadians, Ottawa Senators and Montreal Wanderers. In the earlier years of the NHL, the hockey lovers experienced the league competing against two major leagues- Western Canada Hockey League and Pacific Coast Hockey Association in its first quarter century.
First Expansion of NHL
The first expansion of NHL took place in the United States in 1924 when the Boston Bruins was founded with the league. By 1926, the league consisted of 10 teams in Quebec, Ontario, the Northeastern United States and the Great Lakes region. During this time, the popularity and expansion of NHL made it as the major league in the United States and the only competitor of the Stanley Cup. Later on, NHL succeeded to make a deal with the trustees of Stanley Cup in 1947 that declared to full control of the cup. Since the radio broadcasts of Foster Hewitt were being heard from coast to coast in America, the footprint of NHL spread across the country and in Canada in 1933.
During The Great Depression & World War II
During the time of Great Depression as well as World War II, the league was abridged t six teams which gained popularity with the name of ‘Original Six’ in 1942. During this period, Maurice Richard made a record of scoring 50 goals in a single season in 1944-45 as the first player in the NHL history. After ten years, Richard was accused for assaulting a linesman and he was suspended that led to the Richard Riot. In 1946, Gordie Howe started his career in the NHL and finally after 35 years when he retired from the league, he was considered as the all time leader in the history of NHL in respect to goals and points.
New Expansions of NHL
In 1967, the era of Original Six ended as the NHL was expanded in size with the addition of six new teams. The existing six teams made the newly formed East Division while the new expanded teams made the West Division. By 1974, another six teams were included in the league making the total 18 teams. The reason for this expansion was to compete with the World Hockey Association in terms of markets and players. Bobby Hull was considered as an important player to defect the rival league for signing a contract with Winnipeg Jets with $2.75 million. In 1989 during the fall of the Iron Curtain, the Soviet Union and Canadian players flew in the NHL giving the league international color.
In the Present Time
In 1992, the league has been expanded from 22 teams to 30. In 1998, several major changes in the rule incorporated such as losing points for overtime. In 2004-05, the shootout was introduced in order to ensure that each game should have a winner.
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Feel free to drop me any comments on games, etc. that you are analyzing. At the end of the day, all that matters is how many winning tickets you possess. Good luck to us all for the upcoming NHL season!