History of the National Hockey League (1917–1942)
The National Hockey League was founded in 1917 following the demise of its predecessor league, the National Hockey Association. The league’s first quarter-century saw the league compete against two rival major leagues, the Pacific Coast Hockey Association and Western Canada Hockey League, for players and the Stanley Cup. The NHL played with six men to a side rather than the traditional seven. The Great Depression and World War II reduced the league to six teams by 1942.
About History of the National Hockey League (1917–1942) in brief
The National Hockey League was founded in 1917 following the demise of its predecessor league, the National Hockey Association. The league’s first quarter-century saw the league compete against two rival major leagues, the Pacific Coast Hockey Association and Western Canada Hockey League, for players and the Stanley Cup. The NHL played with six men to a side rather than the traditional seven, and was among the first leagues to allow goaltenders to leave their feet to make saves. The Great Depression and World War II reduced the league to six teams by 1942. The six teams left standing in 1942 are known today as the \”Original Six\”. The NHL’s footprint spread across Canada as Foster Hewitt’s radio broadcasts were heard coast-to-coast starting in 1933. The Montreal Forum and Maple Leaf Gardens were built, and each played host to All-Star benefit games held to raise money to support Ace Bailey and the family of Howie Morenz in Toronto and Montreal, respectively. The first attempts to regulate competitive ice hockey matches came in the late 1880s. In 1887, four clubs from Montreal and the Ottawa HC formed the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada and developed a structured schedule. In 1903, the International Hockey League created as the first fully professional league. The IHL’s ability to pay salaries to amateur players caused an overcrowding that drained amateur clubs of top players. By the 1905–06 season, several of the FAHL and CAHL markets were overcrowded; Montreal alone had seven clubs. To solve the problem, the IHL merged into the new Eastern Canada Hockey Association, which kept four of the Montreal clubs.
The new league mixed amateur and professional players in its rosters, which led to the demise of the Brantford IHL and Berlin IHL, which went on to become the Toronto Brantley Hockey Association, which kept the four Montreal clubs in its league. The NHL first expanded into the United States in 1924 with the founding of the Boston Bruins, and by 1926 consisted of ten teams in Ontario, Quebec, the Great Lakes region, and the Northeastern United States. At the same time, the NHL emerged as the only major league and the sole competitor for theStanley Cup. In 1898, the five original clubs withdrew from the AHAC to form the new Canadian Amateur Hockey League. Four new teams created the Federal Amateur hockey League, based in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and in 1904, the International Hockey League was created. The AHAC’s prestige greatly benefited the AHac, which ran against the spirit of the prevailing amateur ethic. Since team owners wanted to defend the Stanley Cups and maintain the organization’s honour, and rink owners wanted senior hockey as their marquee attraction, AHAC clubs became increasingly reluctant about admitting new teams into the league. In the 1930s, the Montreal Canadiens nearly moved to Cleveland, but survived due to its stronger fan support. The Detroit Falcons declared bankruptcy in 1932 and only survived through a merger with the Chicago Shamrocks of the American Hockey League and the pockets of prosperous owner James Norris.