Canada is a country that takes hockey very seriously, and for good reason. Hockey has been an important part of Canadian identity and culture for over a century. It’s no surprise then that the National Hockey League (NHL) is home to several teams from cities across Canada. But just how many NHL teams are there in Canada?
If you’re a hockey fan or simply curious about the state of professional ice hockey in Canada, this article has got your back. We’ll take a closer look at each team and their respective histories, as well as highlight notable achievements and current standings. Whether you’re a die-hard Maple Leafs fan or simply want to learn more about Canada’s contribution to professional ice hockey, keep reading.
In addition to discussing the number of NHL teams in Canada, we’ll also dive into important topics like the importance of these teams to their respective communities and the broader cultural significance of hockey in Canada. From the Original Six to the modern-day rivalry between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens, join us on a journey through Canada’s beloved national sport.
“Hockey captures the essence of Canadian experience in the New World. In a land so inescapably and inhospitably cold, hockey is the chance of life, and an affirmation that despite the deathly chill of winter we are alive.” -Stephen Leacock
The Original Six: Know Your Hockey History
Canada is known for a lot of things, but one thing that many people may not know about is their passion for hockey. It is no wonder that the country has produced some of the best professional hockey teams in history, including The Original Six. To answer the question “How Many NHL Teams In Canada?”, there are currently seven Canadian NHL teams. However, during the original era of professional hockey, only six teams made up what we now call the National Hockey League.
The Founding Teams that Started it All
The Original Six included the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers, and Toronto Maple Leafs.
On November 26, 1917, these six teams came together to establish a new league with Frank Calder as its first president. As the years went by, these teams solidified themselves as the dominant forces in the NHL. Each team had its own unique style of play and culture that defined them within the league.
The Legacy of the Original Six
The Original Six era lasted from 1942 until 1967 when six additional teams joined the league. During those 25 years, The Original Six set the foundation for how the game was played and created a legacy that still endures today. They were known for their fierce rivalries, passionate fans, and intense games both on and off the ice.
Even though there are now 31 teams in the NHL, The Original Six remains an important part of hockey history. Every year, the league honors this legacy with outdoor games featuring some of the iconic teams such as the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins playing against each other, capturing the nostalgic feeling of the old days when these teams ruled the sport.
Memorable Moments and Players from the Original Six Era
The Original Six era produced some of the most cherished moments and players in hockey history. Many fans still marvel at the skill and grace of Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, Maurice “Rocket” Richard, Phil Esposito, Bobby Hull and other greats who played during this time.
“To me, ice hockey is the finest sport in the world, it’s a game filled with speed, precision, grit, toughness, and finesse.” – Paul F. Tompkins
Montreal Canadiens won five consecutive Stanley Cups between 1956-1960 under coach Toe Blake. This success was led by legendary player Maurice “Rocket” Richard whose unforgettable performance included scoring an amazing 50 goals in only fifty games during the 1944-45 season.
In addition to these players, there were also memorable moments that defined The Original Six era. One moment that stands out is Bobby Orr’s flying goal that stunned everyone in Game Four of the Stanley Cup finals against the St. Louis Blues in 1970. This spectacular display showed his incredible talent and cemented him as one of the greatest players to ever come out of The Original Six era.
All in all, while the NHL has expanded since then, The Original Six era remains a treasured part of hockey’s rich history. These six teams helped lay the foundation for modern professional hockey, creating a legacy that continues to inspire hockey players and fans alike today.
The Current Lineup: How Many Teams Are There?
The National Hockey League (NHL) is a professional ice hockey league in North America, consisting of 32 teams. Currently, there are seven NHL teams in Canada and the rest are based in the United States.
From its inception in 1917 until the expansion of 1967, the NHL consisted of only six teams, known as the “Original Six”. The Original Six teams were the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, and Chicago Blackhawks. In the following years, the number of teams increased gradually so that by the end of the 2016-17 season, there were 31 teams competing.
In 2018, Seattle was awarded an expansion team, bringing the total number of teams to 32. Seattle’s new team will begin playing in the Pacific Division in the Western Conference starting with the 2021-22 NHL season. This marks the third time in the past four seasons that the NHL has expanded.
The 32 Teams of the NHL Today
- Eastern Conference
- Atlantic Division: Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs
- Metropolitan Division: Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals
- Western Conference
- Central Division: Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Winnipeg Jets
- Pacific Division: Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, Seattle Kraken, Vancouver Canucks, Vegas Golden Knights
The NHL has a 82-game regular season schedule with each team playing 41 games at home and 41 away. The top three teams in each division qualify for the playoffs, along with two “wild card” teams from each conference who have the best records among all non-division winners.
The Newest NHL Teams and Expansion Plans
Seattle’s new team, expected to be called the Seattle Kraken, will become the first NHL franchise located in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States and is projected to bring more attention and business opportunities to the area. Given its geographical location, the Kraken should add regional rivalries to fit against other West Coast franchises such as the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, and Vancouver Canucks.
As of this writing, there are no immediate plans for further expansion, though some reports indicate that cities like Houston, Quebec City, and even Toronto should be on the list early over any following repeat markets in recent expansion years.
“Houston is one of the largest untapped hockey markets in North America,” Hayley Moore, general manager of the American Hockey League’s Texas Grand Rapid Senators, said last year. “I think it could definitely hold an NHL team.”
NHL commissioner, Gary Bettman, wouldn’t say whether or not he agrees with the current status of 32 teams being “just right,” but doesn’t seem opposed to growth when asked during the press briefing about future expansion possibilities.
“We’re not looking right now and I’m not going to suggest we’re doing anything other than focusing on welcoming Seattle,” Bettman said. “Having said that, we like what’s there in terms of a geographic footprint and it’s not something we’re particularly focused on at this point.”
Despite previous rumors swirling around Major League Baseball’s acquisition of the Tampa Bay Rays with the possibility of moving them to Montreal or another city — besting a 2019 push to bring back the NHL as Les Nordiques to Quebec City– expansion seems limited for now.
Canadian Teams vs American Teams: A Rivalry for the Ages
Hockey is a beloved sport in both Canada and the United States. However, when it comes to professional hockey, there has always been a rivalry between Canadian teams and American teams. The competition on ice may be fierce, but this rivalry goes beyond just winning or losing games. Canada and the US have had many storied battles over the years, and each game brings with it an opportunity for one team to prove their superiority over the other.
The History of the Canada vs USA Rivalry in Hockey
The history of the Canada vs USA rivalry in hockey dates back to the early days of organized ice hockey. In 1907, the Kenora Thistles became the first Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup, a feat that was not duplicated by an American team until 1917 when the Seattle Metropolitans won the championship. Since then, Canadian and American teams have battled each other for dominance on the ice.
One of the most famous moments in the history of the Canada vs USA rivalry occurred during the 1972 Summit Series. This eight-game series was played between Team Canada and the Soviet Union, with Canada ultimately emerging victorious. However, before they could take on the Soviets, Canada had to face off against Team USA in a pre-tournament exhibition game. The game ended in a tie, but it was an intense battle that helped set the stage for the rest of the tournament.
In recent years, the Canada vs USA rivalry has only intensified as more and more players from both countries play in the NHL. The two countries regularly face off against each other in international tournaments like the Olympics and the World Cup of Hockey. Each game is a chance to build bragging rights and solidify national pride.
The Most Intense Canadian vs American Hockey Rivalries
While the Canada vs USA rivalry is intense, there are other unique rivalries between specific teams that add fuel to the fire. Here are some of the most intense:
- Toronto Maple Leafs vs Detroit Red Wings: These two Original Six teams have a long and storied history dating back to the early days of professional hockey. They’ve met in four Stanley Cup finals, with each team winning twice.
- Montreal Canadiens vs Boston Bruins: This rivalry not only pits two Original Six teams against each other but also two cities with a deep-seated cultural divide. The two teams have faced each other more than any others in NHL history.
- Vancouver Canucks vs Chicago Blackhawks: While this rivalry may not be as old as some of the others on this list, it’s one of the fiercest. In 2011, the Canucks eliminated the Blackhawks from the playoffs en route to the Stanley Cup Finals. The following year, the Blackhawks exacted revenge by beating the Canucks in the first round of the playoffs.
The Future of the Canada vs USA Hockey Rivalry
The future of the Canada vs USA hockey rivalry is bright. As more and more players from both countries make their way into the NHL, the competition will only continue to grow more intense. Additionally, international tournaments like the Olympics and World Cup of Hockey provide annual opportunities for each country to prove themselves as the best in the world at hockey.
A recent development that could impact the future of the rivalry is the NHL’s decision not to allow its players to participate in the upcoming Winter Olympics. This means that many of the sport’s biggest stars will not compete for their respective countries, which could take some of the shine off these tournaments. However, it also means that there will be more opportunities for lesser-known players to step up and make a name for themselves, which could lead to even more intense competition between Canada and the USA.
Canadian Players on American Teams: Love or Hate?
Many Canadian hockey fans find themselves in an interesting position when it comes to Canadian players who are on American teams. On one hand, they want all Canadian players to succeed, regardless of what team they play for. On the other hand, many Canadians feel as though it’s their patriotic duty to root against American teams, even if there are Canadian players on those teams.
“I think having Canadian players on American teams actually adds to the rivalry,” says former NHL player and current analyst Jeremy Roenick. “It gives Canadians someone to root for outside of their own team and keeps the intensity high.”
Players like Sidney Crosby, Carey Price, and Connor McDavid are some of the biggest names in hockey, and they all play for Canadian teams. However, there are many talented Canadian players who have chosen to play south of the border. While it may sting a little bit to see them suit up in American uniforms, it’s hard not to appreciate the skill and talent they bring to the ice.
In the end, whether you love or hate Canadian players on American teams is a personal choice. But one thing is certain – these players add to the intensity of the Canada vs USA rivalry and help keep the sport exciting year after year.
Stanley Cup Champions: Which Canadian Teams Have Won?
The Stanley Cup is one of the most coveted prizes in all of sports. It is awarded annually to the National Hockey League (NHL) team that wins the playoffs. The history of the Stanley Cup dates back to 1893 when it was first awarded to the Montreal Canadiens, who have won it a record 24 times since then.
Hockey’s Greatest Prize: The Stanley Cup
The Stanley Cup is named after Lord Frederick Stanley of Preston, who served as Canada’s Governor General from 1888 until 1893. He purchased the trophy and donated it to be awarded to Canada’s top amateur hockey team. In 1926, when the NHL took over the competition, it became awarded exclusively to the league champions.
The trophy itself is made of silver and nickel alloy and stands at three feet tall. It weighs 34.5 pounds and has the names of every championship-winning team engraved on its bands. Because there are so many teams and players that have won the Cup throughout history, some of the rings have been retired to make space for new ones to be added.
Canadian Teams That Have Won the Stanley Cup
A total of seven NHL teams call Canada home. Of those, five have won the Stanley Cup at least once. Here is a breakdown of each Canadian team’s number of championships:
- Toronto Maple Leafs: 13
- Montreal Canadiens: 24
- Edmonton Oilers: 5
- Calgary Flames: 1
- Vancouver Canucks: 0
- Ottawa Senators: 0
- Winnipeg Jets: 0
As you can see, the Montreal Canadiens have won the Cup more times than any other NHL team – they are truly hockey royalty. The Toronto Maple Leafs make up the largest share of Canada’s Cup wins with 13 victories under their belt (though none since 1967). The Edmonton Oilers also had a run of dominance in the 1980s when they won five Cups in just seven years.
Memorable Moments from Canadian Stanley Cup Wins
“We never did give up until that final buzzer went,” said Jean Béliveau after the Canadiens’ historic comeback in Game Seven of the 1971 Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks. Down by two goals and playing without injured superstar Maurice Richard, the Habs scored twice in the final moments of regulation to force overtime and then captured the Cup thanks to Henri Richard’s game-winning goal.
The Canadiens’ dynasty continued throughout the 1970s as they would go on to win four more championships that decade. In 1976, Montreal completed the first sweep in finals history when they defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in just four games. That same year, Guy Lafleur won the Conn Smythe Trophy for being named the most valuable player of the playoffs.
“I thought my record could stand for a long time…but I guess records are made to be broken,” said Wayne Gretzky after his Edmonton Oilers won their fourth Stanley Cup in the span of just five seasons in 1988. Gretzky was referring to his own record of eight straight seasons leading the NHL in scoring which was snapped earlier that year. But he didn’t seem too bothered by it – winning another championship had become old hat for him and his talented teammates.
Perhaps the most dramatic moment in recent Canadian Stanley Cup history came in 2011 when the Vancouver Canucks faced off against the Boston Bruins in a heated seven game series. Despite having home ice advantage, the Canucks were unable to secure the victory and became the first team in NHL history to lose a finals Game Seven on their own rink.
Even though Canadian teams have not had much success as of late, hockey remains an integral part of the national identity and a source of pride for many Canadians. With so many talented players and passionate fans across the country, it’s only a matter of time before another Canadian team raises the Stanley Cup once again.
Most Valuable Canadian Teams: Who Tops the List?
The National Hockey League (NHL) is one of North America’s most popular sports leagues, and Canada has a unique relationship with the league. With its passion for hockey and numerous successful teams, it’s no surprise that NHL fans want to know how many NHL teams in Canada there are.
The Business of Hockey: Team Valuations
NHL teams’ valuations play a significant role in business discussions about hockey. According to Forbes, the average NHL team is valued at $650 million USD. However, this valuation varies significantly between individual teams—in 2021, the Montreal Canadiens were worth an estimated $1.34 billion USD, while the Arizona Coyotes were only worth an estimated $285 million USD. Leaders in any industry need to understand the value of their assets; owning an NHL team requires knowledge of both the business and athletic sides of hockey.
The Most Valuable Canadian NHL Teams
While the specific number of NHL teams in Canada fluctuates depending on franchise relocations and league expansions, six current NHL franchises hail from Canada. Listed below are these six teams, ranked by Forbes as of December 2020:
- Toronto Maple Leafs – $1.5 billion USD
- Montreal Canadiens – $1.34 billion USD
- Vancouver Canucks – $725 million USD
- Calgary Flames – $550 million USD
- Edmonton Oilers – $540 million USD
- Ottawa Senators – $435 million USD
Unsurprisingly, two Original Six franchises—Toronto and Montreal—topped the list, holding the #1 and #2 spots.
The Strategies Behind Successful Canadian Franchises
When it comes to crafting successful NHL teams, franchise owners need to understand their market’s unique characteristics. While some sports are only popular in certain regions of the country (think basketball in Toronto vs. Montreal), hockey has a relatively broad appeal across Canada. However, owning an NHL team requires more than just ensuring fans will purchase tickets.
One key success factor is drafting and developing high-quality players internally. This ensures that even during difficult periods or during times when high-profile free agents aren’t available, the franchise can rely on its veterans or prospects to keep things moving forward. The Vancouver Canucks exemplify this strategy: Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, and Brock Boeser are all homegrown talents who secured starting spots with the club.
In addition to drafting, short-term success frequently hinges on player acquisitions via trade or free agency. Teams must also ensure they can develop a strong fan base—marketing, social media management, and arena quality all play into attracting and retaining fans over time. Finally, successful Canadian franchises do not hesitate to invest smartly; rather than sit idle through significant changes within the league, leaders make calculated investments in long-term infrastructure and personnel steps to secure the team’s future.
“Every day we’re now staying focused on how we can create more stability so regardless if it’s tomorrow or down the road, our organization is built for long-term.” -Jim Benning, General Manager, Vancouver Canucks
Regardless of whether there are six or sixteen NHL teams in Canada, the importance of sound business practices remains paramount for success on and off the ice.
The Future of Canadian Hockey: Expansion Plans and Predictions
The Potential for More NHL Teams in Canada
Canada’s love affair with hockey is no secret, making it an ideal location for more expansion teams. With seven current teams, the potential to add even more exists. While some speculate that expanding beyond 31 teams could dilute the league’s talent pool, others believe the NHL should consider adding a team or two.
“From a geographic standpoint, Quebec City has been on everyone’s radar,” says former NHL player Georges Laraque. “But if you want to be innovative and think outside the box, go somewhere like Saskatoon.”
While cities such as Seattle have already been granted expansion franchises, it is uncertain when (or if) additional Canadian cities will receive their chance to host an NHL team. Regardless, the strong fan bases across the country will welcome any opportunity to support local teams.
The Future of Canadian Hockey Talent and Development
Aside from increasing the number of NHL teams, the development of young players remains crucial to sustaining Canadian hockey success. The government recognizes this importance and invests in various programs to promote youth involvement at all levels. As these programs continue to grow, so does the potential for future stars to emerge.
“The amount of young players today compared to what we saw 15 years ago when the instant gratification culture wasn’t around speaks volumes about how good our grassroots organizations are,” explains former NHLer Joe Dipenta.
In addition to promoting participation at an early age, the rise of advanced analytics in the sport also offers greater insight into player development. Teams can track performance metrics and analyze data to identify areas where younger players require further improvement. In turn, this allows coaches and trainers to tailor their approach based on specific needs and ultimately produce more well-rounded players.
Predictions for the Next Canadian Stanley Cup Champion
The last time a Canadian team won the NHL’s ultimate prize was in 1993. Since then, only seven Canadian teams have even made the finals, with none hoisting the trophy. But with talent brewing across the country and several Canadian teams on the rise, it could be just a matter of time before there is another champion.
One team that always seems to contend despite being overlooked by some experts are the Winnipeg Jets. With talented forwards like Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor, as well as standout defenseman Josh Morrissey, the Jets have a deep roster capable of making noise come playoff time. Another potential contender is the Toronto Maple Leafs, led by superstar Auston Matthews who finished second in goals scored this past season.
“I think there will definitely be a Canadian winner soon,” predicts former NHL coach Dave King. “When you look at the overall strength of each team and their young talents, it’s only a matter of time.”
Of course, predicting future champions is never an exact science. However, with continued investment in player development and expanding the sport’s reach throughout Canada, fans can remain hopeful and excited about what the future holds.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many NHL teams are based in Canada?
There are currently seven NHL teams based in Canada. They are the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, and Vancouver Canucks.
What are the names of the NHL teams in Canada?
The names of the seven NHL teams based in Canada are the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames, and Vancouver Canucks.
How many Canadian NHL teams have won the Stanley Cup?
A total of six Canadian NHL teams have won the Stanley Cup. The Montreal Canadiens have won it a record 24 times, while the Toronto Maple Leafs have won it 13 times. The Edmonton Oilers have won it 5 times, the Calgary Flames once, and the Ottawa Senators and Winnipeg Jets have yet to win it.
Which Canadian city has the most NHL teams?
The city with the most NHL teams in Canada is Toronto, with two teams: the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Marlies (an AHL affiliate of the Maple Leafs).
How many NHL teams were originally based in Canada?
When the NHL was founded in 1917, all four of its teams were based in Canada. These teams were the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators, and Toronto Arenas. Today, only the Canadiens and Senators remain in Canada.
What is the history of NHL teams in Canada?
Canada has a long and storied history with NHL teams. The first NHL season in 1917-18 featured four Canadian teams. Over the years, Canadian teams have won a total of 47 Stanley Cups, with the Montreal Canadiens leading the way with 24. In recent years, Canadian teams have struggled to win the Cup, with the last Canadian team to win it being the Canadiens in 1993.