History of the NHL, Part One

A few of our previous posts have focused on the history of hockey and the origins of the sport we know and love. In this edition of the Mark Rivkin Hockey Review we wanted to take a look at one of the world’s top governing bodies in the sport of ice hockey and how it came to be. The National Hockey League is widely considered to be the world’s superior professional ice hockey league, although the International Ice Hockey Federation maintains worldwide authority. Headquartered in New York City, the NHL governs all play in North America, and it’s one of the top professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada.

The origins of the NHL can be found in a series of disputes that took place during professional ice hockey’s infancy. In 1909, Canadian Ambrose O’Brien founded what is recognized as being the first major league of pro hockey, the National Hockey Association (NHA), which had teams in Ontario and Quebec. But disagreements between team owners led to the suspension of league operations, and because there was no resolution in sight, a number of NHA team owners branched out and created the National Hockey League. After the permanent suspension of the NHA in 1917, the league’s rules, constitution and trophies were continued in the NHL. The National Hockey League was officially established in Montreal in November of 1917, and the original teams were the Montreal Canadians, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators and Toronto Arenas; Quebec had a franchise but didn’t participate in the inaugural season.

Today the NHL is the greatest ice hockey league in the world and it’s not only the governing body of the sport in North America, but the ultimate achievement of the top players throughout history as well; next to winning the Stanley Cup of course! But a large percentage of professionals in the NHL hail from Canada and ice hockey is a national sport of ours. In fact, when the National Hockey League was first created, the nation to which it referred was Canada, until 1924 when the league expanded into the United States. The Mark Rivkin Hockey Review proudly recognizes that our culture played an integral role in organizing the sport of ice hockey as it’s played today.