National Hockey League | The Canadian Encyclopedia

National Hockey League

The National Hockey League (NHL) was established in Montréal on 26 November 1917.

NHL Hockey
  1. November 17, 1877

    Frank Calder

    National Hockey League 

    Birth of NHL’s Founding President, Frank Calder

    Frank Calder was born in Bristol, England. He served as president of the National Hockey League (NHL) from its founding in 1917 until his death in 1943. The NHL’s Rookie of the Year award (Calder Memorial Trophy) and the American Hockey League’s championship trophy (Calder Cup) are both named in his honour.

  2. November 26, 1917

    National Hockey League 

    National Hockey League Formed

    The National Hockey League was formed. The original teams were the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators and Toronto Arenas.

  3. December 19, 1917

    National Hockey League 

    First NHL Games Played

    Two games, two Montreal teams: On this, the first day of NHL play in history, the Montreal Wanderers played the Toronto Arenas on Wanderers' home ice. Montreal Wanderers defenceman Dave Ritchie scored the league's first goal, and the game ended 10-9 in Montreal's favour. Meanwhile, in Ottawa, the Montreal Canadiens played the Ottawa Senators. Joe Malone, Canadiens player, scored five goals for his team, beating Ottawa 7-4.  (see The Birth of the National Hockey League (NHL).

  4. January 10, 1920

    Hockey Team, 1881

    National Hockey League 

    Most Goals in NHL Game

    Montréal and Toronto combined to set an NHL record for most goals in a game (21) in a 14-7 win for the Canadiens.

  5. April 01, 1920

    Stanley Cup

    National Hockey League 

    Ottawa Senators Win Stanley Cup

    The Ottawa Senators won the Stanley Cup, beating the Seattle Metropolitans 3 games to 2. Because of warm weather, the final game was played in Toronto to take advantage of an artificial ice surface there.

  6. August 04, 1921

    Maurice Richard

    National Hockey League 

    Birth of Maurice Richard

    Hockey player Joseph-Henri-Maurice "Rocket" Richard, who scored 50 goals in 50 games, long hockey's most celebrated record, was born at Montréal.

  7. March 30, 1925

    Stanley Cup

    National Hockey League 

    Victoria Wins Stanley Cup

    The Western Canada Hockey League champion Victoria Cougars were the last non-NHL team to win the Stanley Cup, beating the Montreal Canadiens by 3 games to one.

  8. February 14, 1927

    National Hockey League 

    Toronto St. Patricks Renamed Maple Leafs

    The Toronto St. Patricks hockey team was renamed the Maple Leafs, shortly after the club’s sale to a group headed by Conn Smythe. The original Leafs jerseys featured a green maple leaf, but the signature blue leaf appeared the next year and has been standard ever since.

  9. March 31, 1928

    Gordie Howe and Johnny Bower

    National Hockey League 

    Birth of Gordie Howe

    Hockey player Gordon Howe was born at Floral, Sask.

  10. January 06, 1931

    Montreal Canadiens, logo

    National Hockey League 

    Birth of Dickie Moore

    Montréal Canadiens hall-of-famer Richard "Dickie" Moore was born in Montréal, QC. Moore played left wing for the Habs from 1951 to 1963, winning six Stanley Cup championships as part of a legendary lineup that included Maurice "Rocket" Richard, Henri Richard and Jean Béliveau. A leading scorer in the NHL of his era, Moore won the Art Ross Trophy two years in a row.

  11. January 10, 1938

    Mahovlich, Frank

    National Hockey League 

    Birth of Frank Mahovlich

    Hockey great Frank “The Big M” Mahovlich was born in Timmins, ON. Mahovlich joined the Maple Leafs in 1957, taking the Calder Trophy for best rookie. Known for his power-skating and booming slap shot, he was a key component in the Leafs' four Stanley Cup victories in the 1960s. Mahovlich was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1981, and appointed to the Senate in June 1998. He retired in 2013.

  12. March 22, 1940

    Dave Keon, Toronto Maple Leafs

    National Hockey League 

    Birth of Dave Keon

    Dave Keon was born in Noranda, Quebec. Named the NHL’s Rookie of the Year in 1961, Keon began his professional career with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He won four Stanely Cups and the 1967 Conn Smythe Trophy with the Leafs and played in the NHL for 18 seasons. Keon was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. He was voted the greatest player in Leafs franchise history in 2016.

  13. April 13, 1940

    Stanley Cup

    National Hockey League 

    New York Rangers Win Stanley Cup

    The New York Rangers beat the Toronto Maple Leafs to win the Stanley Cup, the last that they won until 1994.

  14. February 25, 1945

    Maurice Richard

    National Hockey League 

    Richard Breaks Malone's Record

    Maurice "Rocket" Richard of the Montreal Canadiens scored his 45th goal of the season to break Joe Malone's NHL single-season record of 44 goals set in 1918.

  15. March 18, 1945

    Maurice Richard

    National Hockey League 

    Richard Scores 50th

    Maurice "Rocket" Richard scored his 50th goal in his 50th game of the NHL season, a record that stood for almost 40 years.

  16. April 21, 1951

    National Hockey League 

    Barilko's Last Goal

    Bill Barilko of the Toronto Maple Leafs scored the last game of his life in the first overtime period against the Montreal Canadiens, winning the Stanley Cup for the Leafs. He perished in a plane crash shortly after and his body was only recovered 11 years later. Ironically, the Leafs did not win another cup until the year his body was found.

  17. March 23, 1952

    Mosienko, Bill

    National Hockey League 

    Fastest Three Goals

    Bill Mosienko of the Chicago Black Hawks set an NHL record by scoring 3 goals in 21 seconds. He scored at 6:09, 6:20 and 6:30 of the third period against the New York Rangers.

  18. March 17, 1955

    Maurice Richard

    National Hockey League 

    Montreal Riots 1955

    The suspension of Montreal Canadiens player Maurice Richard by NHL president Clarence Campbell triggered a riot at the Montreal Forum that spread into the streets.

  19. January 18, 1958

    Willie O'Ree

    National Hockey League 

    O'Ree Joins NHL

    Hockey player Willie O'Ree has his NHL debut with the Boston Bruins in a game against the Montreal Canadiens, thus becoming the first Black person to enter the league.

  20. January 16, 1960

    Gordie Howe and Johnny Bower

    National Hockey League 

    Howe Passes Richard in Goals

    Gordie Howe of the Detroit Red Wings scored one goal and assists on another to pass Maurice (Rocket) Richard as the leading scorer in NHL history.

  21. April 14, 1960

    Jacques Plante

    National Hockey League 

    Canadiens Win Fifth Cup

    The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs, winning the Stanley Cup for an NHL-record fifth year in a row.

  22. March 11, 1965

    National Hockey League 

    NHL Expansion

    The National Hockey League announced the formation of a 6-team division, consisting of Los Angeles, San Francisco/Oakland, St Louis, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Minneapolis-St Paul. The division began play in the 1967-68 season.

  23. March 12, 1966

    National Hockey League 

    Hull Breaks Goal-Scoring Record

    Bobby Hull of the Chicago Black Hawks became the first NHL player to score more than 50 goals in a season.

  24. December 01, 1969

    National Hockey League 

    Vancouver Awarded NHL Franchise

    Vancouver was awarded an NHL franchise. The Canucks' team name comes from a comic book character who protected Canada from the Nazi menace during WWII.

  25. April 03, 1970

    Bobby Orr

    National Hockey League 

    Bobby Orr Wins Scoring Title

    Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins was the first defenceman to win the NHL scoring title.

  26. May 22, 1970

    National Hockey League 

    Vancouver Canucks Join NHL

    The Vancouver Canucks joined the NHL.

  27. October 09, 1970

    National Hockey League 

    Vancouver Canucks Play First NHL Game

    The Vancouver Canucks played their first NHL game, losing to the Los Angeles Kings.

  28. February 07, 1976

    Sittler, Darryl

    National Hockey League 

    Darryl Sittler Sets Record

    Darryl Sittler of the Toronto Maple Leafs set the single game NHL scoring record with 6 goals and 4 assists in a 11-4 defeat of the Boston Bruins.

  29. December 23, 1978

    National Hockey League 

    Bryan Trottier Sets Record for Most Points in a Period

    Métis hockey player Bryan Trottier set an NHL record when he scored four goals and two assists in the second period of a game — the most points in one period in NHL history. He later won four Stanley Cups with the New York Islanders, two with the Pittsburgh Penguins and one as an assistant coach with the Colorado Avalanche. In 2001, the Islanders retired his No. 19.

  30. January 09, 1979

    NHL Hockey

    National Hockey League 

    NHL Merges with WHA

    The NHL Players' Association ratified the merger of the National Hockey League and the World Hockey Association. Former WHA teams Québec, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Hartford joined the NHL.

  31. June 22, 1979

    National Hockey League 

    WHA Folds

    The NHL rival World Hockey Association folded. Winnipeg, Québec, Hartford and the Edmonton Oilers were taken into the NHL.

  32. April 30, 1980

    Gordie Howe and Johnny Bower

    National Hockey League 

    Gordie Howe Retires

    Gordie Howe retired from hockey, having played his last game with the Hartford Whalers.

  33. August 09, 1988

    Wayne Gretzky

    National Hockey League 

    Gretzky Traded from Oilers

    Though House Leader Nelson Riis demanded the government block the trade, Wayne Gretzky was traded from Edmonton to Los Angeles. The “Great One” left the Oilers along with defenceman Marty McSorley and centre Mike Krushelnyski. Gretzky would lead the Kings to their first Stanley Cup final in 1993. The trade was the driving force behind the NHL’s expansion into such “non-traditional” hockey markets as Arizona.

  34. September 23, 1992

    National Hockey League 

    Rhéaume Plays Goal

    Goalie Manon Rhéaume became the first woman to play goal for an NHL hockey team, the Tampa Bay Lightning.

  35. October 08, 1992

    National Hockey League 

    New NHL Senators Debut

    NHL hockey returned to Ottawa after a 58-year hiatus. The Ottawa Senators defeated Montreal 5–3 in their first game, but then proceeded to have a dismal year, winning only nine more games all season and finishing last in the league.

  36. May 25, 1995

    National Hockey League 

    Nordiques Sold

    The Québec Nordiques were sold to Comsat Corporation for US $75 millions. The new team was moved to Denver, Colorado, and renamed the Avalanche. The new team won the Stanley Cup the following year.

  37. July 01, 1996

    National Hockey League 

    Jets Become Coyotes

    The Winnipeg Jets officially changed their name to the Phoenix Coyotes.

  38. December 03, 1996

    National Hockey League 

    Eagleson Charged

    The RCMP finally charged Alan Eagleson, former executive director of the NHL Players Association, with fraud and theft. He had been indicted in 1994 for racketeering and fraud.

  39. June 17, 1997

    National Hockey League 

    NHL Expands Again

    The NHL approved expansion to 4 more cities: Nashville, Tenn (1998-99), Atlanta, Ga (1999-2000), Columbus, Ohio and St Paul, Min (2000-01).

  40. February 13, 1999

    Maple Leaf Gardens, Exterior

    National Hockey League 

    Last Game at the Gardens

    The Toronto Maple Leafs played their last game at the storied Maple Leaf Gardens. Future games would be played at the Air Canada Centre.

  41. April 16, 1999

    Wayne Gretzky

    National Hockey League 

    Gretzky Retires

    Wayne Gretzky, aged 38, announced that he would retire from hockey at the end of the season. He had played for 21 years and held or shared 61 NHL records.

  42. September 25, 1999

    National Hockey League 

    NHL Teams Seek Aid

    The 6 Canadian-based NHL hockey teams petitioned the federal government for financial aid. It was refused.

  43. November 26, 1999

    National Hockey League 

    Yzerman Scores 600th Goal

    Steve Yzerman of the Detroit Red Wings, who was born at Cranbrook, BC, scored his 600th NHL goal, the 11th NHL player to do so.

  44. February 21, 2000

    National Hockey League 

    McSorley Injures Brashear

    In the remaining seconds of an NHL hockey match, the Boston Bruins' Marty McSorely delivered a crushing head blow to Donald Brashear of the Vancouver Canucks. McSorely faced jail time, a first for an incident during an NHL game. He received 18 months' probation and a suspension from the NHL that marked the end of his career in the league. The hit is widely regarded as one of the most disgraceful hits in NHL history.

  45. May 27, 2000

    Maurice Richard

    National Hockey League 

    Death of Rocket Richard

    Legendary Montreal Canadien and Hockey Hall of Famer Maurice "Rocket" Richard died in Montréal at age 79.

  46. May 28, 2003

    National Hockey League 

    Patrick Roy Retires

    Patrick Roy, one of the NHL's premier goalies, retired after 18 seasons. He won 551 games during the regular season and 151 in playoffs.

  47. April 04, 2015

    Montreal Canadiens

    National Hockey League 

    Death of Elmer Lach

    Elmer Lach, the centre who played alongside Maurice Richard on the Montréal Canadiens’ Punch Line in the 1940s, died in Montréal. At 97, the Nokomis, SK, native was the oldest surviving NHL player.

  48. April 06, 2015

    Montreal Canadiens

    National Hockey League 

    Death of Dollard St-Laurent

    Former Montréal Canadiens defenceman Dollard St-Laurent died in Belœil, QC, at age 85. The Verdun, QC, native won five Stanley Cups in his time with the Canadiens during the 1950s, and one with the Chicago Blackhawks in 1961.

  49. June 24, 2015

    Montreal Canadiens, logo

    National Hockey League 

    Price Makes NHL History With Four Awards

    Montréal Canadiens goalie Carey Price received the Hart Trophy (NHL's most valuable player), the Vézina Trophy (NHL's best goalie), and the Ted Lindsay Award (most outstanding player as voted by the players). In April 2015, he won the William M. Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals in regular season play (189), which he shared with Corey Crawford (Chicago Blackhawks). Price is the first goalie in NHL history to win those four awards, and the second Canadiens player to win four NHL awards (the first was Guy Lafleur).

  50. September 16, 2015

    P.K. Subban

    National Hockey League 

    Subban Pledges $10 Million to Montreal Children's Hospital

    Montral Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban pledged $10 million to the Montreal Children's Hospital the largest philanthropic commitment from a professional athlete in Canadian history.

  51. December 15, 2015

    Montreal Canadiens, logo

    National Hockey League 

    Carey Price Wins Lou Marsh Trophy

    Montréal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price won the Lou Marsh Trophy, given annually to Canada's top athlete as determined by a jury of Canadian sports writers. He is the first goalie to ever win the award. The trophy was Price's fifth award of 2015, in addition to the Hart Trophy, the Vézina Trophy, the Ted Lindsay Award and the William M. Jennings Trophy.

  52. December 19, 2015

    Montreal Canadiens, logo

    National Hockey League 

    Death of Dickie Moore

    Montréal Canadiens hall-of-famer Richard "Dickie" Moore died in Montréal, QC, at age 84. Moore played left wing for the Habs from 1951 to 1963, winning six Stanley Cup championships as part of a legendary lineup that included Maurice "Rocket" Richard, Henri Richard and Jean Béliveau. A leading scorer in the NHL of his era, Moore won the Art Ross Trophy two years in a row.

  53. May 23, 2016

    Toronto Maple Leafs, logo

    National Hockey League 

    Death of John Brophy

    Hockey coach John Brophy, who led the Toronto Maple Leafs for two and a half seasons in the late 1980s, died in his hometown of Antigonish, Nova Scotia. He was 83. Though the Leafs’ performance during Brophy’s tenure was not the finest of its history, Brophy left his mark on several hockey leagues as a hard-nosed player and coach. He ranks second only to Scotty Bowman in professional coaching victories and holds the Eastern Hockey League record for penalty minutes.

  54. June 10, 2016

    Gordie Howe

    National Hockey League 

    Death of Gordie Howe

    Twenty-one-time National Hockey League all-star Gordie Howe — known to generations of fans as “Mr. Hockey” — died in Sylvania, Ohio, at age 88. The Floral, Saskatchewan native played for 32 seasons in the major leagues, including 26 years in the NHL — 25 of these with the Detroit Red Wings. Few players have come close to matching his overall proficiency, and none his longevity.

  55. May 21, 2021

    National Hockey League 

    Maple Leafs and Canadiens Faceoff in First Playoff Series Since 1979

    Arch rivals Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens began the first playoff series against each other since 1979. The higher-seeded Maple Leafs took a commanding 3–1 lead in the series before the Canadiens won two games in overtime to force a Game 7, which they won 3–1 en route to their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance in almost 30 years.

  56. October 27, 2021

    National Hockey League 

    Kyle Beach Comes Forward as Victim in Chicago Blackhawks Sexual Assault Case

    Embed from Getty Images

    Kyle Beach, a 2008 first-round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks, came forward as the central figure in an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse within the organization. Beach alleged that Brad Aldrich, the team’s video coach from 2008 to 2010, sexually assaulted him in May 2010. Beach reported the incident to the team at the time, but no disciplinary action against Aldrich was taken. In the wake of Beach’s allegations, Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman resigned from the team and from the US men’s Olympic hockey team; former Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville resigned from his position as head coach of the Florida Panthers; and the Blackhawks were fined $2 million by the NHL. Aldrich’s name was later removed from the Stanley Cup, which Chicago won in June 2010.