History of the National Hockey League

A series of disputes in the National Hockey Association with Toronto Blueshirts owner Eddie Livingstone led the other owners, representing the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators, and Quebec Bulldogs to meet at the Windsor Hotel in Montreal to talk about the NHA's future.[8] Realizing the league constitution left them unable to force Livingstone out, the four teams voted instead to suspend the NHA, and on November 26, 1917, formed the National Hockey League.[9] While a full member of the new league, the Bulldogs were unable to play, and the remaining owners created a new team in Toronto, the Arenas, to compete with the Canadiens, Wanderers and Senators.[10] The first games were played three weeks later on December 19. Joe Malone scored five goals in a 74 victory for the Canadiens over the Senators on opening night; he finished the 191718 season with 44 goals in 20 games.[11] The league nearly collapsed in January 1918 when the Montreal Arena burned down, causing the Wanderers to cease operations and forcing the Canadiens to hastily find a new arena.[12] The NHL continued on as a three-team league until the Bulldogs returned in 1919.[13] Toronto won the first league title, then defeated the Pacific Coast Hockey Association's Vancouver Millionaires to win the 1918 Stanley Cup[14] The Canadiens won the league title in 1919, however their Stanley Cup Final against the Seattle Metropolitans was abandoned with the series tied after several players became ill as a result of the Spanish Flu epidemic that resulted in Montreal defenceman Joe Hall's death.[15] Montreal defeated the Calgary Tigers of the Western Canada Hockey League (WCHL) in 1924 to win their first Stanley Cup in the NHL.[16] The Hamilton Tigers, who had relocated from Quebec in 1920, won the regular season title in 192425 but refused to play in the championship series unless they were given a C$200 bonus.[17] The league refused and declared the Canadiens the league champion after they defeated the Toronto St. Patricks in the semi-f nal. Montreal was then defeated by the Victoria Cougars for the 1925 Stanley Cup. It was the last time a non-NHL team won the trophy,[18] as the Stanley Cup became the de facto NHL championship in 1926 after the WCHL ceased operations.[19] Team picture of the 193233 Stanley Cup champion New York Rangers autographed by club manager/coach Lester Patrick The league embarked on rapid expansion in the 1920s, adding the Montreal Maroons and Boston Bruins in 1924. The Bruins were the first American team in the NHL,[20] while the Maroons played in the newly completed Montreal Forum that the Canadiens made famous in later decades.[21] The New York Americans began play in 1925 after purchasing the assets of the Hamilton Tigers, and were joined by the Pittsburgh Pirates.[22] Tex Rickard, owner of Madison Square Garden, was so impressed with the popularity of the Americans that he added the New York Rangers in 1926.[23] The Chicago Black Hawks and Detroit Cougars (later Red Wings) were also added after the league purchased the assets of the defunct WCHL.[24] Conn Smythe purchased the Toronto St. Patricks in 1927, immediately renamed them the Maple Leafs, and built Maple Leaf Gardens in 1931.[25] The Great Depression and the onset of World War II took a toll on the league. The Pirates became the Philadelphia Quakers in 1930, then folded one year later. The Senators likewise became the St. Louis Eagles in 1934, also lasting only one year.[26] The Canadiens were nearly sold and relocated to Cleveland, Ohio in 1936 before a trio of local owners purchased the team and kept them in Montreal.[27] The Maroons did not survive, however, as they suspended operations in 1938.[28] The Americans were suspended in 1942 due to a lack of players, but never revived.[29] The league was reduced to six teams for the 194243 NHL season: the Boston Bruins, Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs. These six teams remained constant for 25 years, a period known as the Original Six.