Teams Edit

National Hockey League team locations

The National Hockey League originated in 1917 with six teams, and through a sequence of team expansions, reductions, and relocations currently consists of 30 teams, 24 of which are based in the United States and six in Canada. The Montreal Canadiens are the most successful franchise with 24 Stanley Cup championships (23 as an NHL team, 1 as an NHA team); in the four major professional sports leagues the Montreal Canadiens are only surpassed in the number of championships by the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball, who have four more. The next most successful franchise is the Toronto Maple Leafs with 13 Stanley Cup championships, but they have not won one since 1967. The Detroit Red Wings, with 11 Stanley Cup championships, are the most successful American franchise. The longest streak of winning the Stanley Cup in consecutive years is five, held by the Montreal Canadiens from 1955–56 to 1959–60; the New York Islanders (1980–1983) and the Montreal Canadiens (1976–1979) have four-year championship streaks.[1] The 1977 edition of the Montreal Canadiens, the second of four straight Stanley Cup champions, was named by ESPN as the second greatest sports team of all-time.[2]

Of all the major leagues in North America, the NHL is the only league to field teams that play in two countries' capital cities, Ottawa, Ontario and Washington, D.C.

The current league organization divides the teams into two conferences. Each conference has three divisions, and each division has five teams. The current organization has roots in the 1998–99 season when a league realignment added two divisions to bring the total number of divisions to six; the current team alignment began with the 2000–2001 season when the Minnesota Wild and the Columbus Blue Jackets joined the league as expansion teams.

The Detroit Red Wings and the Columbus Blue Jackets are the only teams in the Western Conference that are located in the eastern time zone. This results in significantly increased travel time for both teams.

List of teamsEdit

Winnipeg JetsWinnipeg, ManitobaMTS CentreBold text

Defunct TeamsEdit

Team Years
Montreal Wanderers 1917–1918
Ottawa Senators
(original era)
Quebec Bulldogs 1919–1920
Hamilton Tigers 1920–1925
Montreal Maroons 1924–1938
New York Americans 1925–1942
Pittsburgh Pirates 1925–1930
Philadelphia Quakers 1930–1931
St. Louis Eagles 1934–1935

The New York Americans, in their final season were renamed the "Brooklyn Americans," in order to try and attract fans from Brooklyn. They continued to play in Madison Square Garden due to lack of a good sized playing facility in Brooklyn.

Except for Hamilton, the league did eventually return to cities that were abandoned. Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis gained teams in the 1967 NHL expansion, Quebec City returned though the NHL–WHA merger (though lost it again when the team moved to Denver in 1995), and Ottawa via expansion in 1992. New York City, after losing the Americans, has since added two more teams in the metro area: the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils. The closest Hamilton has come to receiving a team is the Buffalo Sabres, who play less than 50 miles east in Buffalo, New York; the presence of the Sabres has, so far, blocked efforts (most notably those by Jim Balsillie) to relocate a team to Hamilton. Though Montreal also lost the Wanderers, the city still had the Canadiens and thus did not totally lose NHL representation.

Relocated teams after 1967 expansionEdit

Team Years Became
California Golden Seals 1967–1976 Cleveland Barons
Kansas City Scouts 1974–1976 Colorado Rockies
Cleveland Barons 1976–1978 ceased operations with merger into Minnesota North Stars
(see also San Jose Sharks)
Atlanta Flames 1972–1980 Calgary Flames
Colorado Rockies 1976–1982 New Jersey Devils
Minnesota North Stars 1967–1993 Dallas Stars
Quebec Nordiques 1979–1995 Colorado Avalanche
Winnipeg Jets 1979–1996 Phoenix Coyotes
Hartford Whalers 1979–1997 Carolina Hurricanes

Map of Defunct TeamsEdit


Locations of defunct or relocated NHL teams


  1. Fitzpatrick, Jamie (2006). Stanley Cup Winners. Retrieved on 2006-06-26.
  2. ESPN (1999–12–31). The 10 greatest teams. Retrieved on 2006-06-26.

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