NHL Centennial Celebration

As the World Cup of Hockey comes to a close with Canada’s win over Europe, the NHL’s preseason is just kicking off. 2017 will mark the 100th year of NHL hockey, and I have some NHL history for all you diehards. Plus, an idea of what you can expect from the centennial celebration…

The National Hockey League began in 1917 when four teams played in the league’s first official games. At the time, the NHL was only made up of five elite Canadian teams: the Canadiens and the Wanderers from Montreal, the Ottawa Senators, the Quebec Bulldogs, and the Toronto Arenas. Toronto would go on to win the Stanley Cup in the league’s inaugural season. 1942 marked the real beginning of NHL hockey when the original 6 teams were born. For the next 25 seasons, the National Hockey League was comprised of the Chicago Blackhawks, the Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, and the Toronto Maple Leafs. In 1967, the league experienced a huge expansion, and would continue to expand to the 30 teams that make up the NHL we see today.

The 2016-2017 hockey season has a lot in store for fans of the game. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman named Wayne Gretzky the official ambassador for the centennial celebration, which is more than appropriate as he had an incredibly successful 20-year career in the NHL, and is considered a legend of the game. The celebration really kicks-off in January when the league will name the top 100 players of all-time during the All-Star weekend in Los Angeles. A Centennial Truck Tour will be launching from Toronto on January 1st, bringing the celebration to various other hockey communities (including the Minnesota Wild’s home of Saint Paul!) during 2017.  During this upcoming season, the league will also celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Stanley Cup.

So though the season has just begun, the National Hockey League has big plans for their Centennial Celebration. Whether you are a fan or not, this season is going to be one to pay attention to. The future of the NHL is bright, and 2017 will be a yearlong celebration of how far the organization has come in the past 100 years.