Today’s Date, December 19th, in 1917, was the opening of the first National Hockey League season. With just five franchises involved, it has triumphed over every other league created in the world.
In 1904, in Michigan, the first professional hockey league was formed, called the Pro Hockey League. It folded within it’s first few years, and divided into two larger Canadian leagues, called the Pacific Coast League (PCL), and the National Hockey Association (NHA). However, once World War I started, the NHA no longer competed in regular season games, and after the war, folded as well.
It seemed at first that the NHL would never take off; that it would always be just another small league that would eventually fold along with the several other leagues. However by 1926, the PCL folded as well, leaving 10 teams to be divided in the NHL. Today, we know these as the Eastern and Western Conferences. Though today most people don’t think about it, the NHL could easily have not existed. Guess we’ll have to be thankful for the fights and unnecessary roughness anyways…
Be sure to thank your local Canadian team, eh?