The History of NHL

The National Hockey Association (NHA) was founded in 1909, but what we know today as the National Hockey League (NHL) displaced it in 1917. Originally created in Montreal, Canada, there were four teams battling against each other.

The NHL is home to the Stanley Cup. This is North America’s longest and oldest running championship tournament. The Cup is awarded to the final winner of the playoffs which end each season, and has fittingly been won most by Montreal Canadiens. Winners of the National Hockey League, by way of the most points scored, are granted the Presidents’ Trophy.

Not wanting to be restricted to Canada and Northern US states, the NHL has ventured south and collected more teams. There are thirty in total and Commissioner Gary Bettman hopes this trend will continue. After the 2005-2006 being completely cancelled due to labour disputes, the NHL has bounced back and is rebuilding its reputation and enticing betting options again.

Bouncing back to the early days, the NHL struggled to stay afloat until 1925 when more teams joined. This was when US based teams ventured into the league such as then Boston Bruins and New York Americans. These two teams formed what was known as the Original Six and included Montreal Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Black Hawks.

It took around 25 years for others to join the league and as a milestone occasion in 1958, Willie O’Ree was hailed the first black Canadian to play in the NHL. To gain more exposure, as other sporting games were already doing, the NHL aimed for the television screens. This split the league into divisions and would allow more scope for future development. Ice hockey was and still is a very much loved spectator sport.

Once the divisions such as north, south, eastern and western began in the mid 1970’s, this led to the franchises being a lucrative source of entertainment for all of North America.

With the addition of new teams very regularly such as the Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, the league continued to grow. By the time Atlanta Thrashers, Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets arrived in 1999 and 2000, this brought the NHL total to 30 teams. Remarkably, 24 are US based and only 6 Canadian, where the sport originated.

The NHL season, much like football and baseball run a predetermined schedule. This enables teams to organize and prepare their strategies in advance. The season begins in October and runs till the middle of April.

From then the Stanley Cup is played post season. This is a hard task after such a long season playing 82 aggressive and fast paced games. The Stanley Cup is a knockout competition and should a team miss out on the NHL title, there is still the Cup to try for. The final playoffs have been played in Europe at neutral rinks and also as marketing exhibitions.

As ice hockey is played regularly in Scandinavian countries and Slovakia for example, they provide a great showcase for the sport. This has helped the sport enter the top four professional sports in North America. It now rubs shoulders with Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association and the National Football League.

Along with the Presidents’ Trophy and the Stanley Cup, there is more prestigious silverware awarded at the end of each NHL season.

The Art Ross Trophy, which is given to the player who scores the most goals and claims the most assists. The team managers of all of the NHL teams combine thoughts and award the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association trophy, and the Hart Memorial Trophy is given to the Most Valuable Player.

The National Hockey League has a long and entertaining history, one which is steeped in drama. The 2005-2006 season lockout could have ruined the game. It has bounced back with a vengeance and has started where it left off. Online and land based betting agencies are increasingly taking more bets, which is only adding to the game’s appeal.

In 2009, one year after the introduction of John Collins the Chief Operating Officer, the switch to digital TV led to record large TV viewers and paying sponsors.

Sportsbook reviews

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  • Centrebet
  • Jazz Sports
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