The NHL is officially back! The puck has officially dropped on the 2023/2024 season. Most fans know that the NHL is the preeminent hockey league in the world. However, most don’t know about the origins of the sport. The history of the sport spans over a century, and was born in the frosty heartland of America.
In the midst of World War I, on November 22, 1917, the NHL officially came into being. Comprising four Canadian teams—the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators, and Toronto Arenas—this humble league would evolve into a global phenomenon. The period from 1942 to 1967 saw the NHL’s “Original Six” teams—Boston Bruins, Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, and Toronto Maple Leafs—dominate the league. This era produced legendary players like Gordie Howe, Maurice Richard, and Bobby Hull. The 1967 expansion brought new teams into the NHL, including the Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings, and St. Louis Blues. This expansion heralded the arrival of iconic dynasties like the Montreal Canadiens, who won an unprecedented five consecutive Stanley Cups from 1956-1960. The late 1970s and 1980s were dominated by “The Great One,” Wayne Gretzky. His incredible talent and vision on the ice led the Edmonton Oilers to multiple championships, cementing his legacy as one of the greatest players in NHL history. Today, the NHL boasts 32 teams, and its reach extends far beyond North America. International players from Sweden, Russia, Finland, and many other nations have become integral to the league’s success. The introduction of the salary cap in 2005 brought parity to the league, making every season an exciting contest.
Throughout its history, the NHL has witnessed unforgettable moments. From Bobby Orr’s iconic flying goal to Wayne Gretzky’s all-time leading point total, these records and highlights remain etched in the annals of the sport. We can’t wait to see the memorable moments and players that this season brings us. Much hyped rookie Connor Bedard made his debut last night for the Chicago Blackhawks. At just 18 years old, many expect him to be the next face of the league.