History of Hockey

Hockey has a long wonderful history. Let us help you get caught up! 

Hockey Origins: Where did hockey come from?

How did hockey originate? In no one place but over many places. And many years

1) France

Hoquet is a world that comes from France to describe a shepherd’s crook or bent stick. As well, there was also a field game in France called hoque

Eventually the word hoque would evolve to become the word that we know today – hockey!

2) England

The game from France would take some hold in England and as early as the 1400s you would see references made to the game. 

3) Dutch

Hockey was first depicted being played on the ice by the Dutch. For the Dutch they would use the word hokkie

Take a deep dive into these and more. 

NHL Beginnings: Who were the Original teams?

So, who were the first NHL teams? When the NHL had its inaugural season in 1917 there were four teams: Montreal Wanderers, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Arenas, and the Ottawa Senators. The NHL did have a fifth franchise, the Quebec Bulldogs, however it was an inactive franchise and did not play any games.

Then Who were the original 6 NHL teams?

Who were the Original Six NHL hockey teams? The statement of Original Six is a bit of a misnomer as all the teams did not originate with the start of the NHL in 1917. However, the Original Six refers to:

  1. Montreal Canadiens (1917)
  2. Toronto Maple Leafs (1917)
  3. Boston Bruins (1924)
  4. New York Rangers (1926)
  5. Chicago Blackhawks (1926)
  6. Detroit Red Wings (1926)

Find out the origins of each of the teams

From 6 to 12: The start of NHL Expansion

The NHL expanded from 6 to 12 teams during the 1967 expansion, which was the first expansion in the league’s history.  The six teams added in the 1967 expansion were:

  1. California Seals (later known as the Oakland Seals, then the California Golden Seals)
  2. Los Angeles Kings
  3. Minnesota North Stars (merged with the Cleveland Barons in 1978, then relocated to Dallas in 1993 to become the Dallas Stars)
  4. Philadelphia Flyers
  5. Pittsburgh Penguins
  6. St. Louis Blues

The NHL and North America sure liked expansion. The NHL is now up to 32 teams with the Vegas Golden Knights and Seattle Kraken being the most recent. 


The Gretzky years

Wayne Gretzky is the GOAT of hockey. Not only is he the greatest, but he is the one player that has transcended the sport. 

Brought a new scoring and flare for high-scoring hockey to the world. He has over 50 NHL records including most of the major ones: Goal scoring, assists, and points. 

But what he did outside the game was just as important as what he did inside it:

  • Wheaties box, Saturday Night Live, Cartoons 
  • Traded to the Kings opened up the popularity of hockey
  • Allowed the NHL to expand into the southern USA

Look at the growth of hockey in the USA since he was traded to LA in 1988. There are players in the NHL who grew up in California, Texas, Tennessee, Arizona – none of this would have happened with our Gretzky


The nhl lockouts and the dead puck era

At the end of Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux’s careers a new era started – and it was not much fun. It has been often called ‘The Dead Puck Era’ and it was characterized by defence and low scoring hockey. 

Here are some of the highlights (or, more aptly, lowlights):

  • The neutral zone trap – A defensive system where teams would sit back and not attack the play. 
  • NHL Lockouts – 3 different years were disputes between the owners and the players causing major losses of games being played
  • Cancelled – Entire 2005 season being cancelled because of a labour dispute between the players
The one positive that came out of this was a fresh look at the NHL rules. Committees were established that came out with a number of new rules that helped bring speed, scoring, and (most importantly) fun back to the game. 

One of the key rules that came out of it is about ‘The Trapezoid’

Post Lockout: 2006 to present

Since the 2005 lockout the NHL has been on an upward trajectory.

The new face of the NHL came out as Sidney Crosby. His 3 Stanley Cups have helped reenergize the game.

As well some of the new rules have been fantastic inclduing 3-on-3 overtime.

Finally, expansion has been great for the league with the additions of the Vegas Golden Knights and the Seattle Kraken. 

The league has got younger and the skillset of the players coming into the league have never been higher. It seems like every NHL draft now has a superstar.