For over a 100 years, the NHL has been the premier hockey league and in Canada it is the most popular sports in the country! Did you know, the ‘National’ in NHL initially referred to Canada only? In the beginning, the National Hockey League had only four teams, all Canadian! That was even before the era of the ‘Original Six.’ Since then, NHL has undergone several expansions. As of 2021, a total of 32 teams compete in the top hockey league in the world.
Right now, 25 American teams and 7 Canadian teams compete in the prestigious play in the National Hockey League. The performance in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and ultimately winning it is basically being crowned the best hockey team in the world. The fast paced, highly skilled and grueling physical play is enjoyed by hockey fans all over the world.
1. Calgary Flames
Year Founded: The team was founded in 1972 in Atlanta as the Atlanta Flames. They later relocated to Calgary in 1980.
Arena name and capacity: Scotiabank Saddledome with a capacity of 19,289
Stanley Cup Wins: 1989
Hall of Fame players: Joe Mullen, Lanny McDonald, Grant Fuhr, Brett Hull, Al MacInnis, Sergei Makarov, Joe Nieuwendyk, Doug Gilmour, Martin St. Louis
Retired Numbers: Jarome Iginla 12, Lanny McDonald 9, Mike Vernon G
NHL Playoff appearances: 29
The number of times drafted first overall: Zero
Franchise Value – $480 million
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2. Vancouver Canucks
Year founded: 1970
Arena name and capacity: Rogers Arena with a capacity of 18,910
Stanley cup wins: None
Hall of Fame players: Mark Messier, Cam Neely, Igor Larionov, Pavel Bure, Mats Sundin
Retired numbers: Pavel Bure 10, Trevor Linden 16, Stan Smyl 12, Markus Naslund 19
NHL playoff appearances: 27
Number of times drafted first overall: Zero
Franchise value: $725 million
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3. Edmonton Oilers
Year founded: 1971
Arena name and capacity: Roger’s Place with a capacity of 18,500
Stanley cup wins: 5 (1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, and 1990)
Hall of Fame players: Glenn Anderson, Grant Fuhr, Paul Coffey, Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Mark Messier, Adam Oates, Kevin Lowe, Jacques Plante, Norm Ullman, Chris Pronger
Retired numbers: Al Hamilton 3, Glenn Anderson 9, Paul Coffey 7, Mark Messier 11, Grant Fuhr 31, Wayne Gretzky 99
NHL playoff appearances: 21
Number of times drafted first overall: 4
Franchise value: $550 million
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4. Winnipeg Jets
Year founded: It was founded in 1997 as Atlanta Thrashers, but they played their first in the 1999-2000 season. The team was renamed Winnipeg Jets in 2011.
Arena name and capacity: Bell MTS Place with a capacity of 16, 345
Stanley cup wins: None.
Hall of Fame players: None.
Retired numbers: None.
NHL playoff appearances: 4
Number of times drafted first overall: Zero
Franchise value: $420 million
5. Montreal Canadians
Year founded: It predates NHL as the team was founded in 1909 as a member of the NHA. It became a part of the NHL in 1917.
Arena name and capacity: Centre Bell with a capacity of 21, 273
Stanley Cup wins: 23
Hall of Fame players: Marty Barry, Yvan Cournoyer, Bernard Geoffrion, Jean Beliveau, Gord Drillon, Doug Gilmour, Toe Blake, Ken Dryden, George Hainsworth, Emile Bouchard, Dick Duff, Joe Hall, Harry Cameron, Bill Durnan, Doug Harvey, Guy Carbonneau, Tony Esposito, Tom Johnson, Chris Chelios, Bob Gainey, Aurele Joliat, Sprague Cleghorn, Herb Gardiner, Elmer Lach, Guy Lafleur, Joe Malone, Jacques Plante, Serge Savard, Newsy Lalonde, Sylvio Mantha, Ken Reardon, Steve Shutt, Rod Langway, Dickie Moore, Mark Recchi, Babe Siebert, Jacques Laperriere, Howie Morenz, Henri Richard, Tommy Smith, Guy Lapointe, Reg Noble, Maurice Richard, Rogatien Vachon, Buddy O’Connor, Larry Robinson, Georges Vezina, Jacques Lemaire, Bert Olmstead, Patrick Roy, Gump Worsley, Frank Mahovlich, Didier Pitre, Denis Savard, Roy Worters
Retired numbers: Jacques Plantes 1, Doug Harvey 2, Jean Beliveau 4, Emile Bouchard 3, Guy Lapointe 5, Bernie Geoffrion 5, Howie Morenz 7, Guy Lafleur 10, Maurice Richard 9, Yvan Cournoyer 12, Dickie Moore 12, Elmer Lach 16, Henri Richard 16, Serge Savard 18, Bob Gainey stead, Patrick Roy, Gump Worsley, Frank Mahovlich, Didier Pitre, Denis Savard, Roy Wort
23, Larry Robinson 19, Ken Dryden 29, Patrick Roy 33
NHL playoff appearances: 83
Number of times drafted first overall: 5
Franchise value: $1.34 billion
6. Toronto Maple Leafs
Year founded: The club was founded in 1917 as Toronto Arenas. They came to be known as Toronto St. Patricks in 1919. They were renamed Maple Leafs in 1927.
Arena name and capacity: Scotiabank Arena with a capacity of 18,819
Stanley Cup wins: 13
Hall of Fame players: Jack Adams, Glenn Anderson, Dave Andreychuk, Andy Bathgate, Max Bentley, Leo Boivin, Gerry Cheevers, King Clancy, Sprague Cleghorn, Gordie Drillon, Dick Duff, Babe Dye, Mike Gartner, Doug Gilmour, George Hainsworth, Tim Horton, Phil Housley, Syd Howe, Dave Keon, Brian Leetch, Eric Lindros, Dickie Moore, Larry Murphy, Joe Nieuwendyk, Pierre Pilote, Jacques Plante, Babe Pratt, Borje Salming, Terry Sawchuk, Sweeney Schriner, Norm Ullman, Harry Watson, Syl Apps, Ace Bailey, Ed Belfour, Johnny Bower, Turk Broda, Harry Cameron, Charlie Conacher, Rusty Crawford, Hap Day, Fernie Flaman, Ron Francis, Grant Fuhr, Hap Holmes, Red Horner, Ted Kennedy, Busher Jackson, Red Kelly, Lanny McDonald, Harry Lumley, Frank Mahovlich, Bernie Parent, Reg Noble, Bert Olmstead, Bob Pulford, Joe Primeau, Marcel Pronovost, Mats Sundin, Darryl Sittler, Allan Stanley
Retired numbers: Turk Broda 1, Red kelly 4, Johnny Bower 1, King Clancy 7, Bill Barilko 5, Tim Horton 7, Hap Day 4, Ace Bailey 6, Charlie Conacher 9, Ted Kennedy 9, George Armstrong 10, Syl Apps 10, Mats Sundin 13, Dave Keon 14, Wendel Clark 17, Borje Salming 21, Darryl Sittler 27, Frank Mahovlich 27, Doug Gilmour 93
NHL playoff appearances: 68
Number of times drafted first overall: 2
Franchise value: $1.5 billion
7. Ottawa Senators
Year founded: 1992
Arena name and capacity: Canadian Tire Centre with a capacity of 19,153
Stanley cup wins: None
Hall of Fame players: Dominik Hassek, Marian Hossa
Retired numbers: Frank Finnigan 8, Daniel Alfredsson 11, Chris Phillips 4
NHL playoff appearances: 16
Number of times drafted first overall: 3
Franchise value: $430 million
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Canadian NHL Teams that have Folded
- Montreal Wanderers:
Montreal Wanderers were one of the most successful teams in the pre-NHL era. Before playing briefly at the NHL, the team played at the Federal Amateur Hockey League (FAHL), the National Hockey Association (NHA), and the Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association (ECAHA). They won the Stanley Cup four times during their tenure. The team became defunct after their home rink burned down in 1918. The lack of players due to World War I also contributed to their disbanding.
- Quebec Bulldogs
The Quebec Bulldogs were one of the first properly organized ice hockey clubs. They started as amateurs, and went on to become professionals in 1908. The team played both in the NHA and NHL. They would later move to Hamilton and come to be known as the Hamilton Tigers.
- Hamilton Tigers
The Hamilton Tigers became first in the 1924-25 NHL season. However, the club became defunct due to a player’s strike before the playoffs. The New York Americans bought the player’s contracts.
- Ottawa Senators
The original Ottawa Senators are considered to be one of the greatest performers in the history of hockey. They were one of the founding members of the NHL, where they went on to play from 1917 to 1934. They won the Stanley Cup a total of 11 times. They were known by several nicknames, including the Generals, the Silver Seven, and the Senators. They do not have any relation with the present-day Ottawa senators.
- Montreal Maroons
The Montreal Maroons had a successful stint in the NHL from 1924 to 1938. They hold the honor of winning the Stanley Cup twice. The team featured some of the best players of this era, and eleven players from Montreal Maroons went on to be a part of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The Montreal Maroons had to stop playing due to financial difficulties resulting from the Great Depression.
- Quebec Nordiques
The Quebec Nordiques were a part of the World Hockey Association from 1972 to 1979. They also played in the NHL from 1979 to 1995. The Quebec Nordiques later relocated to Denver, Colorado, and came to be known as the Colorado Avalanche.
- Winnipeg Jets
The Winnipeg Jets started their stint in the World Hockey Association in 1972. They continued to play in the NHL following the merger of NHL and WHA in 1979. The Winnipeg Jets disbanded in 1996 due to financial troubles and later came to be known as the Arizona Coyotes.
Canada has an illustrious history with the National Hockey League, and it is home to 43% of the players in the NHL. It is the uncontested best league in the world when it comes to hockey, and Canada has millions of faithful fans across the country cheering for their respective canadian NHL team!