A fast-paced physical sport hockey is popular in many countries around the world. From games such as hurling, shinty and field hockey, some form of the game on the ice has been played for hundreds of years. British soldiers and immigrants brought the game to Canada where the sport as we know it today developed. The first organized indoor game was played in 1875 and by the 1880s there were various leagues and even a World Championship. The famous Stanley Cup has its origins as the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup awarded by Lord Stanley the Governor General of Canada to the Montreal Hockey Club in 1893 champions of the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada. Since the early 1900s professional ice hockey increased not only in Canada but also in Germany, Russia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Finland and Switzerland among others.
The National Hockey League or NHL is the top hockey league in the world. The number of teams has changed since its start in 1917 and it now fields players from many different countries although the vast majority of players still come from Canada. There are three main parts to the hockey season. In the Exhibition Season there are games against other teams in the NHL or foreign leagues like the KHL. In the Regular Season each team plays 82 games, 41 games at home and 41 on the road. In the middle of the season is the NHL All-Star game. Every four years there is a break for the Winter Olympic Games. At the end of the regular season 16 teams qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs. This is a tournament with three rounds and teams from each conference advance to the final round, the Stanley Cup Final. Currently there are 30 teams in the NHL, 23 in the US and 7 in Canada. There are 4 Divisions with 7 or 8 teams in each division. You can watch all hockey live streams on vipleague.
And for all you hockey nuts out there, here are some stats. The Montreal Canadiens got the most points in the 1976-77 season. (132). The Washington Capitals got just 21 points in the 1974-75 season and that’s the fewest so far. The Washington Capitals won just eight games in the 1974-75 season. The Philadelphia Flyers tied the most games (24) in the 1969-70 season. The San Jose Sharks lost 71 games in the 92-93 season. Go Sharks! The Montreal Canadiens only lost eight games in 1976-77 but the Chicago Blackhawks went one better in 2012-13 when they only lost seven games! The 1953-54 season wasn’t so good for the Blackhawks though. They only scored 133 goals. The Edmonton Oilers had a great season in 1983-84 when they scored a total of 446 goals. Wow!
The Kontinental Hockey League or KHL includes teams from Russia, the Czech Republic, Belarus, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Slovakia and Ukraine. There are several other main leagues: Czech Extraliga -Czech Republic, Slovak Extraliga -Slovakia, SM-liga -Finland, DEL -Deutsche Eishockey Liga -Germany, Elitserien -Sweden, Nationalliga A -Switzerland, Elite Ice Hockey League -UK. Hockey is also played at a national level, most notably in some of the titanic games in the Olympics as well as annually in the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championships.