29 Facts About NHL


The NHL is the fifth-wealthiest professional sport league in the world by revenue, after the National Football League, Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the English Premier League (EPL).

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The NHL immediately took the NHA's place as one of the leagues that contested for the Stanley Cup in an annual interleague competition before a series of league mergers and foldings left the NHL as the only league left competing for the Stanley Cup in 1926.

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At its inception, the NHL had four teams, all in Canada, thus the adjective "National" in the league's name.

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The NHL added six new teams to double its size at the 1967 NHL expansion.

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The Montreal Arena burned down in January 1918, causing the Wanderers to cease operations, and the NHL continued on as a three-team league until the Bulldogs returned in 1919.

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NHL replaced the NHA as one of the leagues that competed for the Stanley Cup, an interleague competition at the time.

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On March 13, 1948, Asian Canadian Larry Kwong became the first non-white player in the NHL and broke the league's colour barrier by playing for the New York Rangers.

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Seven years of battling for players and markets financially damaged both leagues, leading to a merger agreement in 1979 that saw the WHA cease operations while the NHL absorbed the Winnipeg Jets, the Edmonton Oilers, the Hartford Whalers, and the Quebec Nordiques.

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The lockout shut down the league for 310 days, making it the longest in sports history, as the NHL became the first professional sports league to lose an entire season.

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On November 25, 2013, ten former NHL players sued the league for negligence in protecting players from concussions.

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The first female referees in the NHL were hired in a test-run during the league's preseason prospect tournaments in September 2019.

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In 2016, the NHL hosted the 2016 Outdoor Women's Classic, an exhibition game between the Boston Pride of the National Women's Hockey League and the Les Canadiennes of the Canadian Women's Hockey League, as part of the 2016 NHL Winter Classic weekend festivities.

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In 2019, the NHL invited four women from the US and Canadian Olympic teams to demonstrate the events in All-Star skills competition before the All-Star Game.

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The attention led the NHL to include a 3-on-3 women's game before the 2020 All-Star Game.

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The NHL divided the 31 teams into two conferences: the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference.

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That expansion capped a period in the 1990s of rapid expansion and relocation when the NHL added nine teams to grow from 21 to 30 teams, and relocated four teams mostly from smaller, northern cities to larger, more southern metropolitan areas.

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The IIHF derived from the Canadian amateur ice hockey rules of the early 20th century, while the NHL rules evolved directly from the first organized indoor ice hockey game in Montreal in 1875, updated by subsequent leagues up to 1917, when the NHL adopted the existing NHA set of rules.

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The NHL's rules are the basis for rules governing most professional and major junior ice hockey leagues in North America.

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Early NHL drafts took place at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal.

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The NHL primarily was then only available on cable television after 1981, airing on the USA Network, SportsChannel America, and ESPN at various times.

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Outside of Canada and the United States, NHL games are broadcast across Europe, in the Middle East, in Australia, and in the Americas across Mexico, Central America, Dominican Republic, Caribbean, South America and Brazil, among others.

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The first international club competition was held in 1976, with eight NHL teams playing against the Soviet Championship League's HC CSKA Moscow, and Krylya Sovetov Moscow.

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The most recent IIHF-organized event including an NHL club was the 2009 Victoria Cup, between the Swiss National League A's ZSC Lions, and the Chicago Blackhawks.

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From 1998 to 2014, during the quadrennial Winter Olympic years, the NHL suspended its all-star game and expanded the traditional all-star break to allow NHL players to represent their countries in the Olympic ice hockey tournament.

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In 2018, an Olympic break was not scheduled by the NHL, resulting in their players not participating in that year's Olympic tournament.

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An Olympic break was not scheduled in 2022, with the NHL opting to not permit its players to participate due to a shortened NHL season that year, and concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

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NHL is considered one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, along with Major League Baseball, the National Football League, and the National Basketball Association.

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The NHL estimates that half of its fan base roots for teams in outside markets.

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Debut of the Winter Classic, an outdoor regular season NHL game held on New Year's Day 2008, was a major success for the league.

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