|National Hockey League|
|2019-20 NHL Season|
|No. of teams||31 (32 in 2021)|
|Most recent champion(s)||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|TV partner(s)||CAN: CBC, TSN, RDS, RIS, RSN (regional)|
USA: NBC, Versus, HDNet
The National Hockey League (NHL) (French:Ligue nationale de hockey (LNH)) is a North American professional ice hockey league. Founded in 1917, the NHL is internationally regarded as the best ice hockey league worldwide, and top talent from all across the globe play in the league, and one of the North American major professional sports leagues. The NHL is divided into two conferences, each of which consists of two divisions.
The league was founded in 1917 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada with four teams, and through a series of expansions, contractions and relocations, the league is now composed of 31 teams, 24 of which are based in the United States and seven in Canada. After a labour dispute that led to the cancellation of the entire 2004–05 season, the league has staged a successful comeback, including revenue and profit growth.
Because the sport originated in Canada, Canadians have historically constituted a large majority of the players in the NHL. Over the past 30 years, the percentages of American and European players have increased because of the NHL's continued expansion into the United States, its high standard of play compared to other leagues, and the availability of highly skilled European players. Nevertheless, more than half of the league's players on the 2005–06 roster were born in Canada.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are the current defending champions of the Stanley Cup, the league's championship trophy, after winning the 2020 playoffs. The Boston Bruins are the current regular season champions (winners of the Presidents' Trophy).
- 1 History
- 2 Game
- 3 Teams
- 4 Team/Venue Listing (Chronological)
- 5 Season structure
- 6 Notable players
- 7 Hockey rink
- 8 Rules
- 9 Trophies and awards
- 10 Labour issues
- 11 Popularity
- 12 Television and radio
- 13 See also
- 14 References
- 15 Notes
- 16 External links
History[edit | edit source]
Early and Original Six Eras[edit | edit source]
After a series of disputes in the Canadian National Hockey Association (NHA) between Eddie Livingstone, owner of the Toronto Blueshirts and the owners of other teams, the owners of the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators, and Quebec Bulldogs met at the Windsor Hotel in Montreal to talk about the NHA's future. Their discussions eventually led to the creation of the National Hockey League in 1917; the founding teams were the Canadiens, Wanderers and Senators. A Toronto franchise, because of the dispute, was given temporarily to the Toronto Arena Corp to operate, and is often referred to as the Arenas, though they operated without a nickname.
Even though the league struggled to stay in busin
ess during its first decade, the NHL's teams were very successful on the ice; only once, in 1925, did a team from any other league win the Stanley Cup, and by 1926 the NHL was the only league competing for the Cup. The NHL then started a process of expansion: the Boston Bruins (the first U.S.-based NHL franchise) and Montreal Maroons entered the league in 1924–25; the New York Americans and the Pittsburgh Pirates entered in the 1925–26 season; and the New York Rangers, Chicago Black Hawks (now spelled Blackhawks), and Detroit Cougars (now known as the Red Wings) entered in the 1926–27 season, raising the number of teams in the NHL to ten. The Great Depression and the onset of World War II, took a toll on the league, and by 1942 the NHL was reduced to six teams. These six teams (the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Black Hawks, Boston Bruins, and New York Rangers) are collectively known as the Original Six, and for the next quarter-century were the only teams in the National Hockey League.
First Expansion Era[edit | edit source]
By the mid 1960s, the desire for a network television contract in the U.S., and concerns that the Western Hockey League was planning to declare itself a major league and challenge for the Stanley Cup, spurred the NHL to undertake its first expansion since the 1920s. Six new teams were added to the NHL roster in 1967, and placed in their own newly-created division. The teams were the Philadelphia Flyers, St. Louis Blues, Minnesota North Stars, Los Angeles Kings, Oakland Seals, and Pittsburgh Penguins. Three years later, the NHL added the Vancouver Canucks and Buffalo Sabres.
Second Expansion Era[edit | edit source]
In 1972, the World Hockey Association (WHA) was formed, and its status as a potential rival to the NHL did not go unnoticed. In response, the NHL decided to rush its own expansion plans by adding the New York Islanders and Atlanta Flames (which soon became the Calgary Flames) in 1972 to forestall WHA franchises in newly constructed arenas in those markets, followed by the addition of the Kansas City Scouts and Washington Capitals two years later. The two leagues fought for the rights of players and fans until the WHA folded in 1979 as part of an agreement whereby four of the remaining six WHA teams would enter the NHL as expansion teams: the Hartford Whalers (now the Carolina Hurricanes, 1997-present), Québec Nordiques (now the Colorado Avalanche, 1996-present), Edmonton Oilers, and Winnipeg Jets (now the Phoenix Coyotes, 1996-present).
Third Expansion Era[edit | edit source]
After a period of stability in the 1980s, the NHL further expanded with nine new franchises in ten years. The San Jose Sharks entered in 1991; a season later the Ottawa Senators would return to the NHL along with the addition of the Tampa Bay Lightning. In 1993, the league added two additional teams, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and the Florida Panthers. Next came the Nashville Predators in 1998, the Atlanta Thrashers in 1999, and then the Minnesota Wild and the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2000, bringing the total to 30 teams. In 2011 the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg, and became the new Winnipeg Jets.
2017 Expansion[edit | edit source]
On June 22, 2016, Commissioner Bettman announced that Las Vegas, Nevada was chosen unanimously to become the 31st member team. The ownership group of the team had run a season ticket campaign which landed 14,000 season ticket deposits and sold all of the suites at the T-Mobile Arena.
The other group in the running for an expansion team Quebec City was deferred at this point an not rejected. Three main reasons were cited by the commissioner during the announcement of the expansion vote; the geographic imbalance of the league with 16 teams in the east and 15 now in the west. The present weakness and volatility of the Canadian dollar (which has dipped to as low as $.68) during the year long expansion process, and difficulty for the existing teams to prep for two new teams entering the league at once as each team will lose one player in the upcoming expansion draft. Quebecor (the group backing the Quebec City bid) stated we want it to be a success and we need to be patient, timing has to be right we already lost the Nordiques once we don't want to lose them twice. The league did not give a time frame for the reevaluation of the Quebec City bid, but Quebec City is said to be on the league's radar screen they are aware of the interest and capabilities of the people and ownership group in Quebec City.
On November 22, 2016, the name of the Las Vegas team was revealed as being the Vegas Golden Knights.
Game[edit | edit source]
Each National Hockey League regulation game is an ice hockey game played between two teams and is 60 minutes long. The game is composed of three 20-minute periods with an intermission of either 15½ or 17 minutes (if nationally televised) between periods. Television timeouts are taken at the first stoppage of play after 6, 10, and 14 minutes of elapsed time unless there is a power play or the first stoppage is the result of a goal. In these cases the timeout will occur at the first stoppage after the penalty expires or the second stoppage after the goal. At the end of the 60 minute regulation time, the team with the most goals wins the game. If a game is tied after regulation time, overtime ensues. During the regular season, overtime is a five-minute, four-player on four-player sudden-death period, in which the first team to score a goal wins the game. Until the 2005–06 season, if no team was able to score in the 5 minute overtime, the game ended in a tie. For the 2015-16 season the overtime was changed to 3-on-3 for the five minute overtime
Beginning in 2005–06, if the game is still tied at the end of overtime, the game enters a shootout. Three players for each team in turn take a penalty shot. The team with the most goals during the three round shootout wins the game. If the game is still tied after the three shootout rounds, the shootout continues, but becomes sudden death. Whichever team ultimately wins the shootout is awarded a goal in the game score and thus awarded two points in the standings. The losing team in overtime or shootout is awarded only one. Shootout goals and saves are not tracked in hockey statistics; shootout statistics are tracked separately.
Shootouts do not occur during the playoffs. In the playoffs, sudden-death 20-minute five-on-five periods are played until one team scores. While a game could theoretically continue forever, only four games have reached five overtime periods, two have reached six, and none have gone beyond six.
Teams[edit | edit source]
The National Hockey League originated in 1917 with four teams, and through a sequence of team expansions, reductions, and relocations currently consists of 31 teams, 24 of which are based in the United States and 7 in Canada.
The Montreal Canadiens are the most successful franchise with 24 Stanley Cup championships; in the four major North American professional sports leagues the Montreal Canadiens are only surpassed in the number of championships by the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball, who have 3 more. The next most successful franchise is the Toronto Maple Leafs with 13 Stanley Cups, but they have not won a championship since 1967. The Detroit Red Wings, with ten Stanley Cups, is the most successful American franchise. The longest streak of winning the Stanley Cup in consecutive years is five, held by the Montreal Canadiens from 1955-56 to 1959-60; the New York Islanders (1980-1983) and the Montreal Canadiens (1976-1979) have four-year championship streaks. The 1977 edition of the Montreal Canadiens, the second of four straight Stanley Cup champions, was named by ESPN as the second greatest sports team of all-time.
The league divides the teams into two conferences. Each conference has two divisions, and each division has seven (Central)or eight (Atlantic, Metropolitan, Pacific) teams. This change was made in an attempt to cut down on the travel. The previous organization had roots in the 1998–99 season where a league realignment added two divisions to bring the total number of divisions to six; the current team alignment began with the 2000–2001 season when the Minnesota Wild and the Columbus Blue Jackets joined the league as expansion teams. The newest team alignment happened in after the 2012-2013 season due to the move of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg. On December 5, 2011, the NHL Board of Governors proposed a relocation plan. The NHLPA rejected it and said to wait for the Draft to see if they would change their decision. In February 2013, they proposed the idea again. On March 7, 2013, the NHLPA approved the plan which would move the Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets to the Eastern conference and the Winnipeg Jets to the Western conference. The realignment started in the 2013/2014 season. The current league organization divides the teams into two conferences, the Eastern and Western. Each conference has two divisions. The Eastern conference includes the Atlantic and Metropolitan divisions. The Western conference includes the Pacific and Central divisions.
Former Member Teams[edit | edit source]
- Montreal Wanderers - folded after arena fire
- Quebec Bulldogs - moved to Hamilton
- Ottawa Senators - won the Cup several times before becoming the St. Louis Eagles
- Hamilton Tigers franchise rights transferred to New York Americans
- Toronto Arenas/Toronto St. Pats - became the Toronto Maple Leafs
- Montreal Maroons - folded
- New York Americans - moved to Brooklyn
- Detroit Cougars/Detroit Falcons - became the Detroit Red Wings
- Pittsburgh Pirates - moved to Philadelphia
- Philadelphia Quakers - folded
- St. Louis Eagles - folded
- Brooklyn Americans - folded
- Minnesota North Stars - moved to Dallas, won the cup
- Oakland Seals/California Golden Seals - moved to Cleveland
- Cleveland Barons - merged with the North Stars
- Atlanta Flames - moved to Calgary, won the cup
- Kansas City Scouts - moved to Denver
- Colorado Rockies - moved to New Jersey, won the cup
- Quebec Nordiques - moved to Denver, won the cup
- Winnipeg Jets - moved to Phoenix
- Hartford Whalers - moved to Raleigh (North Carolina), won the cup
- Atlanta Thrashers - moved to Winnipeg
Team/Venue Listing (Chronological)[edit | edit source]
Outdoor Games/Venues[edit | edit source]
(regular season only)
Global Neutral Venues[edit | edit source]
(Regular Season only) The NHL has had teams open seasons with games in Europe and Asia in events known as NHL Premiere or NHL Global Series. Many of these events include exhibition games against local professional clubs.
Indoor Neutral Site Venues (North America)[edit | edit source]
During the 1992-93 and 1993-94 season each NHL team played two games each at a neutral site. This was done with an eye on expansion and/or possible relocation of troubled franchises. Several of the cities ended up with NHL teams in the not to distant future from these games being played. The 1994-95 NHL lockout and its' settlement put an end to neutral site games.
Back-up/Emergency Venues[edit | edit source]
(Regular Season and Stanley Cup Playoffs) Sometimes due to venue conflicts, building problems, attendance issues, or even to try out a city to see the potential for a new team teams have used venues for regular season and playoff games.
Season structure[edit | edit source]
The National Hockey League season is divided into a regular season from the first Wednesday in October through the beginning of April, when teams play each other in a predefined schedule, and a playoffs from April to the beginning of June, which is an elimination tournament where two teams play against each other to win a best-of-seven series in order to advance to the next round. The final remaining team is crowned the Stanley Cup champion.
In the regular season, each team plays 82 games: 41 games each of home and road. Eastern teams play 30 games in its own geographic division— four or five against each one of their seven other divisional opponents—and 24 games against the eight remaining non-divisional intra-conference opponents—three games against every team in the other division of its conference. Western teams play 28 or 29 games in its own geographic division-four or five against each one of their six other divisional opponents-and 21 or 22 games against the seven remaining non-divisional intra-conference opponents-three games against every team in the other division of its conference, with one cross-division intra-conference match-up occurring in four games (one team from each division plays only 28 intra-division games in a given season, and rotates every season). All teams play every team in the other conference twice-home and road. For three seasons between 2005 and 2008, teams played 32 games within their division—eight games against each team in the division—and 10 inter-conference games—one game against each team in two of the three divisions in the opposite conference. The two divisions faced from the opposite conference were rotated every year, much like inter-league play in Major League Baseball. As with the former system, each team played four games against each one of the other ten teams in its conference outside of its division.
The league's regular season standings are based on a point system instead of winning percentages. Points are awarded for each game, where two points are awarded for a win, one point for losing in overtime or a shootout, and zero points for a loss in regulation. At the end of the regular season, the team that finishes with the most points in each division is crowned the division champion. The league's overall leader is awarded the Presidents' Trophy.
Since 2014 the top three teams in each division plus the two wild-card teams in the conference with the next highest number of points, for a total of eight teams in each conference, qualify for the playoffs. The division winner with the best record in the conference plays the lowest-seeded wild-card team and the other division winner plays the highest-seeded wild-card (wild-card teams may cross over to another division within the conference), and the next two teams with the next best records in each division are seeded 2nd and 3rd. The Stanley Cup playoffs is an elimination tournament, where the teams are grouped in pairs to play best-of-seven series, the winners moving on to the next round. The first round of the playoffs, or conference quarterfinals, consists of the first seed playing the fourth seed, and the second playing the third, division-wise. In the second round, or conference semifinals, the four remaining teams in the conference play each other. In the third round, the conference finals, the two remaining teams play each other, with the conference champions proceeding to the Stanley Cup Final.
In all rounds the higher-ranked team is awarded home-ice advantage. Four of the seven games are played at this team's home venue—the first and second, and, when necessary, the fifth and seventh games—with the other games played at the lower-ranked team's home venue. In the Stanley Cup Final, the team with the most points (or in case of a tie, most wins) during the regular season is given home-ice advantage, regardless of where each team ranks in their own conference.
Notable players[edit | edit source]
The top five point scoring forwards in the 2019–20 season were Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid, Artemi Panarin, David Pastrňák, and Nathan MacKinnon. Pastrňák and Alexander Ovechkin tied for the most goals scored, followed by Auston Matthews and Draisaitl. The top three scoring defencemen were John Carlson, Roman Josi, and Victor Hedman, and the top goaltenders (by wins) were Andrei Vasilevskiy (35), Connor Hellebuyck (31), Jordan Binnington (30), Frederik Andersen (29), and Marc-André Fleury and Carey Price (27 each).
In addition to Canadian and American players, who have historically composed a large majority of NHL players, the NHL draws players from all over the world. Since the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, restrictions on the movement of hockey players from this region have lessened and there has been a large influx of European players into the NHL such as Alexander Ovechkin. European players were drafted and signed by NHL teams in an effort to bring in more skilled offensive players. The addition of European players has changed the style of play in the NHL considerably and European style hockey has been accepted, if not embraced, in the NHL. In Winter Olympic years, the league voluntarily suspends its season so that NHL players can play in the Winter Olympics, representing their native countries. Currently the NHL has players from 18 different countries, with the majority still coming from Canada.
For more information about the origins of NHL players, see the List of NHL statistical leaders by country.
Hockey rink[edit | edit source]
National Hockey League games are played on a hockey rink which is rectangular ice rink with rounded corners and surrounded by a wall. It measures 25.91 by 60.92 metres (85 by 200 ft) in the NHL, while international standards call for a rink measuring 29–30 metres by 60–61 metres (by 95.14–98.43 ft by 196.85–200.13 ft). The center line divides the ice in half, and is used to judge icing violations. There are two blue lines that divide the rink roughly into thirds, which divide the ice into two attacking and one neutral zone. Near the end of both ends of the rink, there is a thin red goal line spanning the width of the ice, which is used to judge goals and icing calls.
Starting in the 2005–2006 season, after testing in the American Hockey League, a trapezoidal area behind each goal net has been introduced. The goaltender can only play the puck within that area or in front of the goal line; if the goaltender plays the puck behind the goal line and not in the trapezoidal area, a 2 minute minor penalty for delay of game is assessed by the referees.
Staring with the 2014-15 season the following changes were made:
- The trapezoidal areas behind each net in which goaltenders are allowed to play the puck are to be made 4 ft (1.2m) wider than their current width.
- The width of the hashmarks outside the faceoff circles will be extended from their current 3.5 feet to five feet, seven inches apart (international markings).
Rules[edit | edit source]
- Main articles: National Hockey League rules
While the National Hockey League follows the general rules of ice hockey, it differs slightly from those used in international games organized by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) such as the Olympics. Infractions of the rules can lead to either the stoppage of play in the case of offside and icing calls, or a penalty call for more serious infractions.
During the 2004-05 lockout, the league changed some of the rules regarding being offside. First, the league removed the "offside pass" or "two-line pass" rule, which required a stoppage in play if a pass originating from inside a team's defending zone was completed on the offensive side of the center line, unless the puck crossed the line before the player. Furthermore, the league reinstated the "tag-up offside" which allows an attacking player a chance to get back onside by returning to the neutral zone. The changes to the offside rule were one of several rule changes intended to increase overall scoring, which had been in decline since the expansion years of the mid-nineties.
Another rule difference between the NHL and the IIHF rules concerns how icings are called. In the NHL, a linesman stops play due to icing if a defending player (other than the goaltender) touches the puck before an attacking player is able to, in contrast to the IIHF rules where play is stopped the moment the puck crosses the goal line. As a result of the rule changes following the 2004-05 lockout, when a team is guilty of icing the puck they are not allowed to make a line change before the following faceoff. The rules for icing were changed prior to the 2013-14 season to what is called "hybrid icing". Hybrid icing is different from the previous version where that if the defending player (again other than the goaltender) reaches the line created by the two face off spots in the defensive zone before a player from the offending team. This was done after pre-season trials in the NHL and regular season play in the AHL. The impetus for the changes was the number of serious injuries that occured when players were trying to reach the puck next to the boards after skating in full stride and trying to stop "on a dime" before hitting the boards.
In regards to penalties, the NHL, in addition to the minor and double minor penalties called in IIHF games, calls major penalties which are more dangerous infractions of the rules, such as fighting, and have a duration of five minutes. This is in contrast to the IIHF rule, in which players who fight are ejected from the game. Usually a penalized team cannot replace a player that is penalized on the ice and is thus shorthanded for the duration of the penalty, but if the penalties are coincidental, such as with fighting, both teams remain at full strength. Also, unlike minor penalties, major penalties must be served to their full completion, regardless of number of goals scored during the power play.
The NHL and the NHLPA created a stringent anti-doping policy in the new CBA of September 2005. The policy provides for a 20-game penalty for a first positive test, 60 games for a second positive test, and a third offence resulting in a permanent ban.
Trophies and awards[edit | edit source]
The National Hockey League presents several trophies each year. The most prestigious team award is the Stanley Cup, which is awarded to the league champion at the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The team that has the most points in the regular season is awarded the Presidents' Trophy. There are also numerous trophies that are awarded to players based on their statistics during the regular season; they include, among others, the Art Ross Trophy for the league scoring champion (goals and assists), the Maurice 'Rocket' Richard Trophy for the goal-scoring leader, and the William M. Jennings Trophy for the goalkeeper(s) for the team with the fewest goals against them. For the 2006–07 season these statistics-based trophies were awarded to Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Vincent Lecavalier of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and, dually, Niklas Bäckström and Manny Fernandez of the Minnesota Wild respectively.
The other player trophies are voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association or the team general managers. The most prestigious individual award is the Hart Memorial Trophy which is awarded annually to the Most Valuable Player; the voting is conducted by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association to judge the player who is the most valuable to his team during the regular season. The Vezina Trophy is awarded annually to the person deemed the best goalkeeper as voted on by the general managers of the teams in the NHL. The James Norris Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the National Hockey League's top defenceman, the Calder Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the top rookie, and the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy is awarded to the player deemed to combine the highest degree of skill and sportsmanship; all three of these awards are voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
In addition to the regular season awards, the Conn Smythe Trophy is awarded annually to the most valuable player during the NHL's Stanley Cup playoffs. Furthermore, the top coach in the league wins the Jack Adams Award as selected by a poll of the National Hockey League Broadcasters Association. The National Hockey League publishes the names of the top three vote getters for all awards, and then names the award winner during the NHL Awards Ceremony.
Players, coaches, officials, and team builders who have had notable careers are eligible to be voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Players cannot enter until three years have passed since their last professional game, the shortest such time period of any major sport. One unique consequence has been Hall of Fame members (specifically, Gordie Howe, Guy Lafleur, and Mario Lemieux) coming out of retirement to play once more. In the past, however, if a player was deemed significant enough, the pending period would be waived; only ten individuals have been honoured in this manner. In 1999, Wayne Gretzky became the last player to have the three-year restriction waived, and after Gretzky's induction, the NHL declared that he would be the last to have the waiting period omitted.
Labour issues[edit | edit source]
There have been three league-wide work stoppages in NHL history, all happening between 1992 and 2005. The first was a strike by the National Hockey League Players Association in April 1992 which lasted for 10 days, but the strike was settled quickly and all affected games were rescheduled. A lockout at the start of the 1994–95 season forced the league to reduce the schedule from 84 games to just 48, with the teams playing only intra-conference games during the reduced season. The resulting collective bargaining agreement was set for renegotiation in 1998 and extended to September 15, 2004.
With no new agreement in hand when the existing contract expired on September 15, 2004, league commissioner Gary Bettman announced a lockout of the players union and cessation of operations by the NHL head office. The lockout shut down the league for 310 days, the longest in sports history; the NHL was the first professional sports league to lose an entire season. The league vowed to install what it dubbed "cost certainty" for its teams, but the NHL Players Association countered that the move was little more than a euphemism for a salary cap, which the union initially said it would not accept. A new collective bargaining agreement was ratified in July 2005 with a term of six years with an option of extending the collective bargaining agreement for an additional year at the end of the term, allowing the NHL to resume as of the 2005–06 season.
On October 5, 2005, the first post-lockout NHL season took to the ice with 15 games, and consequently all 30 teams. Of those 15 games, 11 were in front of sell-out crowds. The NHL received record attendance in the 2005–06 season. 20,854,169 fans, an average of 16,955 per game, was a 1.2% increase over the previous mark held in the 2001–02 season. Also, the Montreal Canadiens, Colorado Avalanche, and the Vancouver Canucks sold out all of their home games; all six Canadian teams played to 98% capacity or better at every home game. 24 of the 30 clubs finished even or ahead of their 2003–04 mark. The Pittsburgh Penguins had the highest increase at 33%, mainly because of 18-year-old first overall draft pick Sidney Crosby. 
Popularity[edit | edit source]
The NHL is considered one of the four major professional sports leagues in the USA, along with Major League Baseball, the National Football League, and the National Basketball Association. Hockey has the smallest total fan base of the four leagues, the smallest revenue from television, and the least sponsorship. In contrast, hockey is the most popular of these four major sports in Canada. The NHL fan base is also the most affluent and well educated of the four. NHL season ticket prices have traditionally been higher (given the number of games per season) than the other sports.
Television and radio[edit | edit source]
In Canada, National Hockey League games are aired nationally by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and The Sports Network (TSN). Regional games are broadcast by a number of networks including Rogers Sportsnet (RSN). French language games are broadcast by the Réseau des sports (RDS), but no longer is on Radio-Canada (the French-language counterpart of the CBC), which created a controversy in French-speaking Canada. The program Hockey Night in Canada, usually aired on Saturday nights on CBC, is a long-standing Canadian tradition since first airing on television in 1952, and even prior to that on radio since the 1920s. During the playoffs, the CBC airs all games that involve Canadian teams and the Stanley Cup finals; TSN airs certain other games during the first three rounds.
In the United States NHL games are aired nationally by Versus (previously the "Outdoor Life Network" and "OLN"), and by NBC. NBC replaced the previous over-the-air network, ABC, and has a revenue-sharing agreement with the NHL. Versus replaced ESPN as the cable network; Comcast, which owns Versus, offered a two-year $120 million agreement, while ESPN offered a revenue sharing agreement. In addition, select games are broadcast in high definition on the HDNet cable channel.
Versus has about 20 million fewer subscribers than ESPN, but Comcast switched Versus from a digital tier to basic cable to make NHL games available to more cable subscribers. For Versus the NHL coverage was a good addition as Versus' ratings grew by about 275% when it showed an NHL game,, but television ratings in the United States have seen record lows. Versus posted a 0.4 rating for the 2006 playoffs while ESPN posted a 0.7 rating two years ago; NBC posted a rating of 1.1, compared to ABC's 1.5 rating two years ago.
In Canada, for the first four games of the Stanley Cup finals, the CBC averaged 2.63 million viewers, and RDS averaged 346,000 viewers. In the United States ratings fared worse due to the inclusion of two small-market teams, including one Canadian team; the first two games on Versus posted a 0.9 rating (621,000 households), and game 3 and game 4 on NBC had ratings of 1.6 and 2.0 respectively (1.7 million and 2.2 million households). In 1994, when the New York Rangers were involved, game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals posted a rating of 5.2. Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup finals gained the highest Stanley Cup rating in the series with a rating of 3.5 (3.8 million households), but it was down from the previous season's game 7 final.
XM Satellite Radio is the official satellite radio broadcaster of the NHL, as of July 1, 2007. Between September 2005 and June 2007, the NHL's broadcasting rights were shared with both XM and Sirius Satellite Radio and were broadcast on just Sirius before the NHL lockout. XM used to broadcast more than 80% of NHL games, including all the play-offs and finals. Starting with the 2007-08 season, XM will broadcast every game.
Outside of North America, NHL games are broadcast across Europe on NASN (North American Sports Network) which takes feeds from Versus, FSN, TSN and CBC, including Hockey Night in Canada. Games can also be seen in the UK on Five.
See also[edit | edit source]
- List of all-time NHL leaders
- Chi-Kit Wong, John (2005). Lords of the Rinks.
- Coleman, Charles (1966-1969). Trail of the Stanley Cup, vols. 1-3.
- Holzman, Morey (2002). Deceptions and Doublecross.
References[edit | edit source]
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Marsh, James (2006). National Hockey League. The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved on 2006-06-11.
- [McFarlane], pp.15-16
- Toronto Arena Hockey Club was founded in October 1918. Holzman, Morey (2002). Deceptions and Doublecross.
- [McFarlane], pp.5
- [McFarlane], pp.116-117,119
- [McFarlane], pp.166-167
- National Hockey League (2006). Time of match. NHL.com. Retrieved on 2006-12-02.
- Oh, what a night ... and morning. Stars-Canucks ranks sixth among longest OT games.. Sports Illustrated (2007). Retrieved on 2007-04-26.
- Cite error: Invalid
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- ESPN (1999-12-31). The 10 greatest teams. ESPN.com. Retrieved on 2006-06-26.
- CBC Sports Online. "NHL ramps up rivalries", CBC.com, July 27, 2005. Retrieved on June 6, 2006.
- Playoff formats. NHL.com (2005). Retrieved on June 6, 2006.
- TSN.ca. Statistics (Forwards). TSN.ca. Retrieved on 2020-10-10.
- TSN.ca. Statistics (Defencemen. TSN.ca. Retrieved on accessdate = 2020-10-10.
- 2019-20 NHL Leaders: League Leaders. Hockey Reference. Retrieved on 2020-10-10.
- Wigge, Larry (2002-02-25). New world order: as the Olympics have shown, the influx of players from across the Atlantic has brought a sea change to the NHL game. The Sporting News. Retrieved on 2006-06-11.
- Beacon, Bill (199-06-27). Canadians left behind as NHL goes for firepower. Canadian Press. Retrieved on 2006-06-11.
- IWHC.net (2006-05-16). NHL still likes Czechs best. IWHC.net. Retrieved on 2006-06-09.
- National Hockey League (2005). Dimensions of Rink. NHL.com. Retrieved on 2006-06-08.
- National Hockey League (2005). Division of ice surface. NHL.com. Retrieved on 2006-06-08.
- National Hockey League (2005). Goal crease. NHL.com. Retrieved on 2006-06-08.
- National Hockey League (2005). Goalkeeper's Penalties. NHL.com. Retrieved on 2006-06-26.
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[edit | edit source]
- Official NHL Webpage
- NHL Player's Association (NHLPA)
- National Hockey League Fan's Association
- The Internet Hockey Database
- The NHL Officials Association Website
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