The National Hockey League was a North American ice hockey league which had teams playing in Canada and the United States. It was formed, November 16, 1917 in Montreal.
It was established in 1917 as a successor to the National Hockey Association and it began with four teams in 1917-18 with Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Hockey Club, Ottawa Senators, Montreal Wanderers. The first season saw the Montreal Canadiens stadium burned down which led to the withdrawal of the team as they never returned. In the first season, it was the Toronto Arenas taking the trophy. Ottawa Senators won the next three competitions after winning both halfs of the 1919-20 season and only just scraping the second half, the next year. The Stanley Cup though wasn't played during 1919 because of the Spanish Flu epidemic.
During the mid 20's the National Hockey League became the sole competition after the PCHA and the WCHL merged in 1924 but would soon only last two seasons before disbanding in 1926. The Hamilton Tigers came in the competition during the second season and in the 1924-25 as they took out the National Hockey League premiership before clinching the Stanley Cup. During that season, the NHL expanded to six teams with the Montreal Maroons and the Boston Bruins joining the league. For Boston they would struggle while Montreal Maroons, they would win the Stanley Cup in the second season which was the last before it became exclusively NHL. The Pittsburgh Pirates joined the league in 1926 but would only last two seasons as they struggled to gain attention and would drop out of the competition.
The Stanley Cup and the fall of the league
With only the National Hockey League the main ice hockey tournament in North America, the Stanley Cup for the first time was played between two teams of the same league. Three American teams joined the league in the 1926-27 season with the New York Rangers joining, Chicago Black Hawks and the Detroit Cougars joining the league. In the new nine team league, the Ottawa Senators took the Stanley Cup after they defeated the Chicago Black Hawks in the Stanley Cup final. In 1929, the first American team won the league with the Boston Bruins defeating the Ottawa Senators.
The Great Depression though stopped the progress with the Ottawa Senators and the Detroit Falcons both folding in the 1932 season which put the league under real stress with only seven teams entering the 1932-33 season. It soon became six when the Hamilton Tigers withdrew from the league. The National Hockey League was now on shaky ground with teams struggling with money issues. Another team fell in the 1935 season with the New York Rangers not being able to finish the season off. The league closing down on the April 6, 1935 with Montreal Maroons winning the final championship over the Montreal Wanderers.
Restart after World War II
After the Second World War, rumours were starting to circulate that the NHL was propsing to come back with a six-team league. The rumour would come to be true with the New York Rangers and the Detroit Red Wings (formely known as the Detroit Falcons) came back into the league at the expense of the Montreal Wanderers. The six-team started in 1947 with the Stanley Cup which hadn't been played for almost ten years being the big prize. In the first season of the new NHL, it was Toronto Maple Leaves that did take out the title after they defeated Detroit 4-0. Toronto would take the next two titles which did involve Richard Rolt who became the first player to score 500 career goals.
After Toronto won the 1951 Stanley Cup defeating fellow Canadian opponents in Montreal, the 1952 season would be the first since 1934 that a non-Canadian team would win the title with the Detroit Red Wings and the Boston Bruins knocking out the Canadian opponents in the play-off semi-finals with Detroit taking out the Stanley Cup after they brought an octopus on the ice hockey rink in hope of an eighth victory on their way to the first title. They would win the match 4-0 against Boston and the legend was born.
The 1952-53 NHL season would see the last one to be played over two years with the playoff bracket shrinking to only two teams with Detroit and Montreal making the Stanley Cup. Montreal would take out the title. Detroit would get revenge in the next season with the team winning 4-2 over six games to retake the title from Montreal.
|Boston Bruins||Boston, MA||1924|
|Chicago Black Hawks||Chicago, IL||1927|
|Detroit Red Wings||Detroit, MC||1927|
|Montreal Maroons||Montreal, QC||1924|
|New York Rangers||New York, NY||1927|
|Toronto Maples Leafs||Toronto, ON||1917|
|Hamilton Tigers||Hamilton, ON||1920||1933|
|Montreal Canadiens||Montreal, QC||1909||1917|
|Montreal Wanderers||Montreal, QC||1903||1917||1935|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||Pittsburgh, PA||1925||1926|
|Philadelphia Quakers||Philadelphia, PN||1930||1931|
|Ottawa Senators||Ottawa, ON||1883||1917||1932|
Before the Stanley Cup
|1922||Toronto St. Patricks|
|Year||Winning team||Losing team||Result|
|1927||Ottawa Senators||Chicago Black Hawks||3-1|
|1928||Montreal Maroons||New York Rangers||3-2|
|1929||Boston Bruins||Ottawa Senators||3-1|
|1930||Montreal Wanderers||Boston Bruins||3-1|
|1931||Montreal Wanderers||Chicago Black Hawks||3-1|
|1932||Toronto Maples Leafs||Boston Bruins||3-0|
|1933||New York Rangers||Toronto Maples Leafs||3-0|
|1934||Chicago Black Hawks||Toronto Maples Leafs||3-0|
|1935||Montreal Maroons||Montreal Wanderers||3-0|
|1948||Toronto Maples Leafs||Detroit Red Wings||4-0|
|1949||Toronto Maples Leafs||Detroit Red Wings||4-1|
|1950||Toronto Maples Leafs||New York Rangers||4-0|
|1951||Toronto Maples Leafs||Montreal Maroons||4-1|
|1952||Detroit Red Wings||Boston Bruins||4-0|
|1953||Montreal Maroons||Detroit Red Wings||4-1|
|1954||Detroit Red Wings||Montreal Maroons||4-2|