National Hockey League facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
National Hockey League (NHL)
Ligue nationale de hockey (French)
Sport Ice hockey
Founded November 26, 1917 (102 years ago) (1917-11-26),
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Inaugural season 1917–18 NHL season
No. of teams 31 (32 in 2021)
Continent North America
Most recent champion(s) St. Louis Blues
(1st title)
Most championships Montreal Canadiens
(25 titles)
TV partner(s)
  • Canada
  • Sportsnet
  • TVA Sports
  • United States
  • NBC/NBCSN
  • NHL Network
Official website NHL.com

The National Hockey League or NHL, is the highest-level ice hockey league in the world. It has 31 teams - seven are from Canada and the other 24 are from the United States. The winner of the league each year wins the Stanley Cup.

The NHL began in 1917. Some of the owners in the National Hockey Association had problems with owner Edward Livingstone, so they got rid of him by creating a new league. There were five teams in 1917:

They played 22 games a year. The Wanderers had to stop playing in the first year because their arena burned down. Over the years some teams died out, and others were created: the Boston Bruins, New York Americans, Montreal Maroons, Pittsburgh Pirates (later Philadelphia Quakers), New York Rangers, Chicago Black Hawks and Detroit Cougars (later Falcons, then Red Wings).

Some teams folded during the Great Depression, so by 1942 there were only six teams:

There were only these six teams for 25 years, so they became known as the "Original Six".

By the 1940s, they were playing 50 games a year, but this increased slowly to 80 games by the 1970s. In 1967, the league increased to 12 teams. By 1979 it had 21 teams, and today it has 31. Some of the teams that no longer exist are the Oakland Seals, Minnesota North Stars (now the Dallas Stars), Winnipeg Jets (now the Arizona Coyotes), Kansas City Scouts (which became the Colorado Rockies and are now the New Jersey Devils), Hartford Whalers (now the Carolina Hurricanes), Quebec Nordiques (now the Colorado Avalanche) and Atlanta Thrashers (now the current Winnipeg Jets).

Today they play 82 games a year, plus four rounds of playoffs. The players make a lot of money (many make over a million dollars a year). Because they could make so much money, many Europeans came over to North America to play in the NHL. Today almost all the world's best hockey players are in the NHL.

List of teams

  1. An asterisk (*) denotes a franchise move. See the respective team articles for more information.
  2. The Edmonton Oilers, Hartford Whalers (now Carolina Hurricanes), Quebec Nordiques (now Colorado Avalanche), and original Winnipeg Jets (now Arizona Coyotes) all joined the NHL in 1979 as part of the NHL–WHA merger.

Related pages


National Hockey League Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.