What is NHL?


What is NHL?

For some, NHL is a sport. For others, it is a  religion forged by bloody gladiators fiercely fighting in an icy arena! Guess which ones we are.

NHL is a short for the National Hockey League. The NHL is professional ice hockey leauge that currently consists of 31 member teams. The league is made out of teams in the USA (24) and Canada (7). By far, the NHL is considered to be the leading professional hockey league in the world. As such, it is capable of attracting the best players from around the world.

What is the ultimate prize for a team in the NHL, you ask? What is worth the daily and nightly spilling of blood and cracking of bones on ice skates you ask? Oh, well, just what is known to be the OLDEST sports trophy in North America – The Stanley Cup (as I write this, I say it with a magnificent voice of grandeur in my head – in case you were wondering).

Organized in 1917 (way before my time), the hometown of NHL is considered to be Montreal, Quebec. This was the first step of a series of league mergers, before the NHL became what we know it to be right now. The first league that was suspended in order for the NHL to be created was the NHA (National Hockey Association). After that, many small leagues followed in order to form one big and magnificent league where hockey gladiators from all over the world gathered to crack bones and teeth!

How did hockey start?

Even though the NHL was organized in Montreal, the game itself originate elsewhere (sorry, Hubs fans). However, Montreal remains the centre for the development of what we currently known as modern hockey. This is so, because the first indoor game was actually organized in Montreal on March 3rd 1875.

If you don’t know yet, besides braking bones and spilling blood, ice hockey is a game where two teams of skaters use sticks to shoot a black puck into their enemy’s net. The objective, of course, is to score more goals in order to win the game. This God-like sport is played on ice and it is not for the faint of hearts, as it is one of the roughest contact sports available. Just picture 6.4 feet tall men that weigh around 200 pounds on skates pushing and shoving each other.  Thankfully, there are some rules that prevent complete massacres on the ice arenas.

What are the most popular hockey teams?

Montreal Canadiens. Really, they are the oldest team in the league (I can hear the multiple deaths of Leafs fans around the globe), they were founded long before the NHL was founded, and they have more Stanley Cups than any other team, that is why they win the most popular vote.

Toronto Maple Leafs hold the second place for the most championship wins with 13 wins in their hand. Leafs are the most valuable team in the league at the moment. They also have the biggest fan support in North America. However, that has not prevented them from sucking and not having won the league since 1967.

Pittsburgh Penguins have been on the rise for the past 10 or so years. Especially once taking on our superstar Canadian player – Sidney Crosby (Sid the Kid). Their fan base is ever expanding, and they are a most regular participant in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Google Search Popularity is also a neat way to see how “in demand” a hockey team is, so to speak. This type of ranking is based on how many searches Google returns for a given hockey team. So, here are the top 10:

  1. Los Angeles Kings – 162,000,000
  2. Dallas Stars – 130,000,000
  3. Washington Capitals – 115,000,000
  4. New York Rangers – 97,400,000
  5. Minnesota Wild – 84,200,000
  6. Toronto Maple Leafs – 56,700,000
  7. Detroit Red Wings – 51,800,000
  8. Chicago Blackhawks – 48,800,000
  9. Florida Panthers – 48,800,000
  10. Boston Bruins – 46,800,000

No good team without good players. Let’s take a look at the best players in the world!

This, should be an article on itself. Actually, each of those players can have a book written about themselves (some of them already do). The list of legends is so long, starting with Gretzky, Lemieux, Orr, Howe… and many more. Simple Google search will return better results than I can ever compile here.

In terms of contemporary players, you have Crosby, Ovechkin, Kane, Tavares, Stamkos, and many more. All of them playing in various teams in the NHL. Again, a simple Google search will return much better results. Especially if you go through a site such as ESPN.