Ice Hockey






Colorado Avalanche

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The National Hockey League was established in 1917 as the successor to the National Hockey Association (NHA). Founded in 1909, the NHA began play in 1910 with seven teams in Ontario and Quebec, and was one of the first major leagues in professional ice hockey. 

The NHL is followed by millions and consists of 32 teams and is already a well-established national league; the Eastern Conference contained 16 teams with eight teams each, the Atlantic Division and Metropolitan Division while the Western Conference had 15 teams (seven in the Central and eight in the Pacific). 

Each team play throughout the regular season playing at home and away games, all to make it to the playoffs and the famous Stanley Cup. Each of the 32 teams plays three or four games against the seven other teams in its division, three games against the eight teams in the other division in its conference and two games against the 16 teams from the other conference.

In the Conference Final and Stanley Cup Final, home-ice advantage goes to the team that had the better regular-season record, regardless of the teams’ final standing in their respective divisions. Eleven Division Championships and three Stanley Cup Final victories make the Colorado Avalanche one of the most successful clubs overall in the league (1996, 2021 and 2022)

Stanley Cup

Awarded to the winning team of the annual NHL Stanley Cup FInals.

History of the Game

The National Hockey League was founded in 1917 as the successor to the National Hockey Association (NHA) which was founded in 1909, and began play in 1910 with seven teams in Ontario and Quebec, and was one of the first major ice hockey professional leagues. In the 1920s, the National Hockey League undertook a rapid expansion, adding the Montreal Maroons and the Boston Bruins in 192, as being the first American team to join the league. The first NHL All-Star Game was held in 1934 to benefit Ace Bailey, whose career was ended by an aggressive hit from Eddie Shore.

The NHL was reduced to six teams: the Boston Bruins, the Chicago Black Hawks, the Detroit Red Wings, the Montreal Canadiens, the New York Rangers, and the Toronto Maple Leafs, a line-up, often referred to as the “Original Six“, in the 1942–43 season which would remain constant for the next 25 years. In the 1967–68 season, the league increased in size to 12 teams with the inclusion of the Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota North Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, California Seals, and St. Louis Blues.

The Montreal Amateur Athletic Association (AAA), champions of the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada for 1893, was the first recipient of the Stanley Cup. Inscribed on the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, the trophy was first awarded to Canada’s amateur ice hockey clubs who won the trophy as the result of challenge games and league play. Then, there were 25 teams that won the cup. The Montreal Canadiens have won the Stanley Cup 24 times and made the Finals an additional eleven times.  There were two years when the Stanley Cup was not awarded: 1919, because of the Spanish flu pandemic, and 2005, because of the NHL lockout. As a result, the trophy has been won 106 times altogether since 1914 and even at the end of the 2022 season.


Team Awards

Individual Awards

NHL Plus-Minus Award

NHL Foundation Player Award

Over the years, the league has also given to some number of ephemeral awards, including:

  • NHL/Sheraton Road Performer Award – awarded to the player who accrued the most road points during the regular season. 
  • Scotiabank/NHL Fan Fav Award – awarded to a National Hockey League player based on fan voting. 
  • NHL Lifetime Achievement Award – awarded to a National Hockey League veteran in recognition of their overall contributions to the league and sport. 


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