The National Hockey League, or NHL, is on of the the most popular sports leagues in the US and Canada. It's also considered to be the world's most prominent hockey league.
NHL - The National Hockey League
The National Hockey League is widely regarded as being the most important professional ice hockey league in the world. Whilst its headquarters can be found in New York City, the NHL was founded in Montreal, Canada, in November, 1917, following the suspension of the National Hockey Association, which had been around since 1909.
How many teams in the NHL?
As its name would suggest, the National Hockey League was initially created for Canadian teams only, and there were just four teams involved. The NHL opened its doors to American teams in 1924, and over the decades the number of teams involved has grown to the current tally of 31, with 7 being Canadian and the other 24 being American.
Some of the most famous NHL teams right now are the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Philadelphia Flyers, the Boston Bruins and the Chicago Blackhawks. Big NHL names from yesteryear that you might have heard of include Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr, whilst current stars include Connor McDavid and Nikita Kucherov.
When does the NHL start?
The NHL preseason, which usually begins in September and runs through to the early part of October, allows teams to warm up by playing exhibition games. The main season then starts in October and runs through to the following April. During the main season, every team in the league plays a total of 82 games, and league standings are based on the points earned from those games.
There are two conferences in the league, with each conference being split into two divisions. The team with the most points in each division at the end of the season are named the division champions, and the team that has performed best in the whole league is awarded the Presidents' Trophy.
After the main season, 16 teams compete in an elimination tournament known as the Stanley Cup playoffs. The winner of this tournament receives the Stanley Cup and the accolade of being the league champions until the following season