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The National Hockey League (NHL) is regarded by many to be the number one ice hockey competition in the world. It is quite selective, in that teams come from the United States and Canada only.
The NHL season is fairly lengthy, with 82 matches played per team, so there are plenty of opportunities for you to place your Bitcoin wagers on ice hockey events with this league.
About The NHL
The NHL has undergone several changes to format and structure in its time, but that is to be expected since it has been around since 1917. The NHL will soon be celebrating its 100-year anniversary, making this North American sporting competition one of the oldest sports leagues in the region.
The NHL’s trophy – the Stanley Cup – is also the oldest trophy to be awarded to any sporting team in North America. As with all major North American sports, the winner of this trophy (and of the league) is determined by a set of playoffs.
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The history of the NHL
North America’s NHL might contain more American teams than Canadian ones, but it should not be forgotten that the sport was primarily invented in Canada. The National Hockey League was created in 1917 in Montreal, following the collapse of the NHA (which began in 1909). Originally, only four teams took part (all of them Canadian), before the first US based team joined in 1924.
That team was the Boston Bruins. Interesting enough, despite the changes it has undergone over the years, the most dramatic set of events occurred in 2004-2005, when the entire season was cancelled due to financial issues with players and clubs. There may be more American and European players making up the rosters than Canadians today, but Canada is still very proud of the sport it created.
The Montreal Canadiens are the side which has competed in the most seasons of the NHL, having played in 94 seasons, although surprisingly, the Boston Bruins have the second highest record, with 87. Unsurprisingly, the Montreal Canadians also have the record for the most Stanley Cup championships, with 24 in total, although admittedly, one of those comes from before the modern NHL era. The Toronto Arenas/St. Patricks/Maple Leafs hold 13 titles, whilst the Detroit Red Wings have 11 trophies.
The Chicago Blackhawks have 5 trophies, as do the Edmonton Oilers. The New York Islanders and New York Rangers each share 4 trophies, whilst the New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins have 3 apiece. Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers all have 2 trophies. The Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning each have 1 Stanley Cup championship.
30 teams play in the NHL, with 23 of them being American clubs, and 7 of them Canadian clubs. The Bruins, Sabres, Red Wings, Panthers, Canadiens, Senators, Lightning, Maple Leads, Hurricanes, Blue Jackets, Jersey Devils, Islanders, Rangers, Flyers, Penguins, Capitals, Ducks, Coyotes, Flames, Oilers, Kings, Sharks, Canucks, Blackhawks, Avalanche, Stars, Wild, Predators, Blues and Jets all play in the NHL this coming season.
How the season works
The NHL starts in the first week of October, and continues until the middle of April. Each team will play a total of 82 matches, consisting of 41 games at home, and 41 away matches. The teams are divided up into two conferences, the Eastern and Western conferences.
The Eastern Conference has two divisions (Atlantic and Metropolitan), which each division containing 8 teams. The Western Conference has two divisions also (Pacific and Central) and there are 7 teams in each of those divisions.
The NHL Playoffs
After the regular season is complete, the top three teams in each division, as well as two wild card teams (the top side in each conference with the highest number of points, but that didn’t finish in the top three), will qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
A round robin tournament then begins, with teams eliminated after being beaten in a best-of-seven set of games. In the semi-finals, the overall winners of the Eastern and Western conferences will be decided, and it is those two conference winners that will meet in the NHL final for the Stanley Cup showdown. The winner of that will be declared the NHL champion for that season.
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