blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: October 2020

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Today In NHL History - Helm's Halloween Costume

On October 31st in 2010, Detroit Red Wings forward Darren Helm dressed up as his locker room stallmate and sometimes linemate Todd Bertuzzi, complete with matching fake tattoos courtesy of Jeff Shea at Wholeshot Tattoo and favorite pieces from the veteran's wardrobe.

Triple-taken by the sight of Helm when arriving at the team's Halloween party, Bertuzzi described the costume and ensuing impersonation as "awesome", noting "he's a good kid and he did a really good job".

That's today in NHL history.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Today In NHL History - Gretzky's Jersey Typo

On October 30th in 1997, New York Rangers forward Wayne Gretzky skated in a game against cross-river rival New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum with his name mispelled "Gretkzy" on the back of his jersey.

Far from an isolated incident in the world of sport with typos and misspellings abound, rarely does it involve the sports greatest player of all time skating for one of the league's highest profile teams. Even rapper Kanye West agrees this is the greatest jersey foul of all-time.


The Islanders beat the Rangers that night by a score of 5-3.

That's today in NHL history.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Today In NHL History - Richards Shatters Glass

On October 28th in 2010, Dallas Stars forward Brad Richards fired a blistering center ice slapshot over Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick and through the glass with three minutes remaining in the final frame.

The Kings topped the Stars that night 5-2 before the then-smallest crowd in Dallas Stars history, announced as 11,306 but closer to 5,000, owing in part to fans staying home to watch their Major League Baseball city sibling Texas Rangers play in Game 2 of the World Series.

That's today in NHL history.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Today In NHL History - Jones Boards Bergeron

On October 27th in 2007, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Randy Jones brutally boarded Patrice Bergeron face-first into the glass, leaving the Boston Bruins forward unconscious with three minutes remaining in the first period.
Bergeron exited the ice strapped to a stretcher, having suffered a broken nose and concussion on the play, and missed the remaining 72 games of the season. An apologetic Jones was assessed a five minute major and a game misconduct to which the NHL added a two game suspension, forcing the Flyer to forfeit $5,614.98 in salary. Philadelphia beat Boston that night 2-1.

That's today in NHL history.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Today In NHL History - Richards Hits Booth

On October 24th in 2009, Philadelphia Flyers captain Mike Richards blindsided winger David Booth with a vicious hit to the head rendering the Florida Panthers forward bloodied and unconscious.

Booth left on a stretcher and missed the next 45 games owing to a concussion incurred on the play. Richards received a five minute major and ten minute game misconduct but was not subsequently fined or suspended for the act. Philadelphia beat Florida that night 5-1.

Five months later the NHL outlawed such blindside hits in order to reduce head injuries. The language of the law is captured in Rule 48.

That's today in NHL history.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Today In NHL History - Milan Lucic Hits Van Ryn

On October 23rd in 2008, Boston Bruins power forward Milan Lucic delivered a crushing check against Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Mike Van Ryn shattering the TD Garden glass early in the second period of play.

Neither player was injured during the incident though a few front row fans were cut by glass. Toronto beat Boston that night by a score of 4-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Today In NHL History - Gretzky's Wife Knocked Out

On October 22nd in 1997, Wayne Gretzky's wife Janet Jones was bloodied and knocked unconscious when a heavy hit by New York Rangers defenseman Ulf Samuelsson on Chicago Blackhawks forward Sergei Krivokrasov dislodged a large pane of plexi-glass striking the 36 year old actress.
Jones was treated by team doctors before being carried out of Madison Square Garden on a stretcher and transported by ambulance to St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital where she spent the night, diagnosed with a mild concussion and receiving several stitches in her lower lip.

Gretzky finished the final six minutes of the game before joining his wife. The Blackhawks shutout the Rangers that night by a score of 1-0.

That's today in NHL history.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Today In NHL History - Red Wings Honor Rucker

On October 21st in 2010, the Detroit Red Wings honored the recent passing of 38 year season ticket holder and super-fan Kenneth Rucker, a retired Chrysler forklift driver who suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of 63.

Recognized by the Joe Louis Arena faithful simply as the "Orange Hat Guy", Rucker was often featured on the scoreboard screen during Red Wings home games accompanied by R.E.M. song "Orange Crush".

In honor of Rucker's decades of unwavering support for the club, ownership elected to reupholster his season's seat (section 112, row 7, seat 5) from Red Wing red to Rucker orange for the remainder of the 2011 season.

In addition to setting a new high water mark for fan appreciation, Detroit outclassed the Calgary Flames that night by a score of 4-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Today In NHL History - Shorthouse Wins 50/50

On October 20th in 2005, Vancouver Canucks voices John Shorthouse and Tom Larscheid won $20,000 in the 50/50 draw benefiting local charities for children during a home game against the Phoenix Coyotes.

Having played the popular lottery at every Canucks home game since they began working together in 1998, the giddy pair celebrated their first ever 50/50 win with four minutes remaining in the third period. An audio clip of their unbridled excitement can be heard here.

Despite rumors spread by morning radio mouthpiece Neil MacRae suggesting the pair engaged in fisticuffs over the winnings, Shorthouse dispelled the nonsense explaining "there was enough hugging between two grown men to make even the cast of Will & Grace uncomfortable".

The Canucks beat the Coyotes 3-2 that night in what Shorty described as "the greatest night of hockey ever at GM Place".

That's today in NHL history.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Today In NHL History - Mike Smith's Goal

On October 19th in 2013, Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith gloved a Mikael Samuelsson wrist shot with three seconds to play and promptly fired it 190 feet into the Detroit Red Wings empty net with 1/10th of a second remaining to become the 11th netminder in NHL history to be credited with a goal. 
Coyotes assistant GM Sean Burke was not surprised by the goal having seen Smith's swagger and puck-handling prowess firsthand, "I’ve told people before, he’s going to score a goal at some point – and he’s probably not done. He’ll score again. The way he fired that puck last night, if you gave him 25 pucks, he can do that 25 times. It’s not just a guy who got lucky and it went in. He can do that consistently.".

Afterwards, Smith relived his minor league marker on October 22, 2002 against the ECHL's now defunct Dayton Bombers and reflected on his first NHL goal, "I do shoot the puck quite often in practice but a lot of things have to go right in order for that to happen ... the clock has to slow down at the right time of the game to let it trickle in over the line."

Mike Smith's historic goal capped the Coyotes comeback win over the Red Wings who led 2-0 through 39 minutes before Phoenix scored five unanswered goals to ultimately defeat Detroit by a score of 5-2.

Four years later at the NHL All-Star Game in Los Angeles, Smith once again showcased his shooting skills making an impossible shot from 200 feet away, proving the first wasn't a fluke.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Alex Edler Beats Fleury

On October 19th in 2013, Vancouver Canucks defenseman Alex Edler fired an 83 foot center ice slapshot past Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to open the scoring during a Saturday matinee at the Consol Energy Center.
Fresh off a three game suspension for hitting San Jose Sharks rookie sensation Tomas Hertl, the Swedish blueliner's first period longbomb befuddled a fragile Fleury still reeling from an embarrassing playoff pull.

The Flower ended the afternoon stopping 36 of 39 shots as well as Edler's second round shootout attempt, a wrist shot from 10 feet out. The Penguins went on to beat the Canucks by a score of 4-3, extending Fleury's early season undefeated streak to seven games.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Odjick's Penalty Shot

On October 19th in 1991, Gino Odjick collected the first goal of his sophomore campaign and likely the most famous of his 64 regular season scores on a penalty shot against Conn Smythe winner Mike Vernon.

The opportunity arose when Hall of Fame defenceman Al MacInnis was flagged for fouling the Algonquin Enforcer as he sped by him. The goal was the Canucks' fourth en route to a 5-2 victory over the Flames.

That's today in NHL history.

* See also Today In NHL History - Gino Odjick.
* See also Today In NHL History - Gino Odjick Runs Hasek.
* See also Today In NHL History - Gino Odjick Fights Blues.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Today In NHL History - Bernier's Own Goal

On October 17th in 2013, Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier flubbed a 174 foot clearing attempt that bounced off the end boards before deflecting off his skate and into the net, giving the Carolina Hurricanes a 3-2 lead with seven minutes to play.
The miscue was awarded to Hurricanes' defenseman Ron Hainsey with an assist to netminder Cam Ward, but credit goes to hard-charging forward Radek Dvorak who won the skating race to eliminate icing on the play.

Despite the boos that rained down on the recently acquired backstop brawler for his blunder, HNIC's Don Cherry insisted the costly goal was a product of the NHL's confusing new hybrid icing rule.

In the post-game interview Bernier conceded "It was just a bad mistake on my part, the puck was probably spinning a lot, and I just misjudged it". When asked if hybrid icing played a role in the mishap, Bernier noted "That's the new game, so we've all got to adjust".

Bernier's own goal stood as the winner as Carolina beat Toronto 3-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Calgary Streaker

On October 17th in 2002, 21 year old Lethbridge College student Timmy Hurlburt flubbed an attempt to streak the Saddledome surface with five minutes remaining in a Boston Bruins/Calgary Flames matchup.


Acting on a $200 dare, Hurlburt successfully scaled the nine foot glass clad solely in red socks and a wrist-watch only to botch the descent. Landing off-balance, Hurlburt's head struck the ice rendering his untanned naked mass unconscious and in plain view for all to see during the ensuing six minute delay.

Hurlburt signaled his return to consciousness with a pair of hand-gestured horns whilst exiting the rink secured to a stretcher to the rousing approval of onlookers and his born-again Christian mother's chagrin. The game ended in a 3-3 overtime draw. Timmy was released from the hospital the next day.

That's today in NHL history.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Today In NHL History - Nugent-Hopkins Hat Trick

On October 15, 2011, Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was credited with his first NHL hat trick despite video evidence to the contrary, showing the third goal belonging to linemate Taylor Hall.


Too good a story to pass up for the top pick of the 2011 Draft in just his third NHL game, the hometown scoring decision stood. In the end, the oldest player on the ice spoiled it for the youngest with veteran Sami Salo netting the winner and completing his own Nugent-Hopkins hat trick (two goals and an assist), giving Vancouver a 4-3 win over Edmonton.

With the 7th overall pick of the 1995 Draft forward Shane Doan still seeking his first NHL hat trick despite skating in 1,162 games to date and scoring two goals 38 times, it appears the Coyotes captain will have to actually score three times in a single game to earn the honor unlike the 18 year old Nugent-Hopkins who had it gifted to him in his first week.

That's today in NHL history.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Today In NHL History - Dan Hamhuis' Own Goal

On October 12th in 2013, Vancouver Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis misplayed a breakout from behind his net, deflecting the puck off both of Roberto Luongo's skates and into the net for an own goal, giving the Montreal Canadiens a 2-1 lead with four minutes to play in the middle frame.
The bizarre miscue, coined by NHL goalie turned Hockey Night In Canada commentator Kelly Hrudey as "one of the strangest goals you'll ever see in hockey", was credited as a shorthanded goal for Canadiens' forward Lars Eller, the Dane's fifth marker in as many games.

Asked about the gaffe in the post-game interview, Luongo noted "I didn't see it, I don't know what happened".  When asked if he had ever given up a more bizarre winning goal, Luongo made clear "I didn't give that up".
The Canadiens scored two more goals to beat the Canucks 4-1.

That's today in NHL history.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Today In NHL History - First Hockey Telecast

On October 11th in 1952, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation presented the first ever publicly televised hockey game. The match, shown on the Saturday evening Hockey Night In Canada series, featured the Montreal Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings from the Montreal Forum.
This inaugural HNIC telecast was carried on the CBC's French channel (SRC) with play-by-play offerings from announcer Rene Lecavalier. Montreal doubled Detroit that night 2-1. The first telecast from Toronto followed three weeks later.

That's today in NHL history.

Today In NHL History - Gordie Howe Hat Trick

On October 11th in 1953, Gordie Howe recorded his first ever Gordie Howe Hat Trick accumulating a goal, assist, and a fight in the same game. Despite defining the deed, the four-time Cup champ ('50, '52, '54, '55) and six-time Hart ('52, '53, '57, '58, '60, '63) and Art Ross ('51-'54, '57, '63) recipient turned only two such tricks and wasn't the first to do it.

Mr. Hockey's inaugural occurred when he scored, assisted on a Red Kelly goal, and fought Fernie Flaman in a 4-0 Detroit Red Wings win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. His other came in the same season when the teams met again on March 21, 1954, scoring, assisting on a pair of Ted Lindsay tallies, and fisticuffing with Ted Kennedy in a 6-1 victory.

The first ever Gordie Howe Hat Trick is credited to Harry Cameron of the Toronto Arenas who collected the components some 36 years earlier on December 26, 1917 in a 7-5 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Brendan Shanahan is widely believed to lead the category with 17 though uncertainty exists owing to incomplete statistics on the accomplishment.

That's today in NHL history.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Today In NHL History - Boulerice Sticks Kesler

On October 10th in 2007, Jesse Boulerice added another chapter to his checkered past and the violent history of the Philadelphia Flyers when he blindsided Ryan Kesler with a vicious cross-check, breaking his stick across the forward's face.

Boulerice was assessed a 10 minute match penalty on the play to which the NHL tacked on a 25 game suspension, then tied for the longest suspension in league history, costing him $63,502.75 in pay. Acknowledging that he crossed the line, Boulerice apologized to Kesler after the Flyers 8-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

That's today in NHL history.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Today In NHL History - Quick's Own Goal

On October 7th in 2013, Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick misplayed a 163 foot shorthanded clearing attempt, dropping his stick and inadvertently directing the puck into the net with his blocker for an own goal, giving the New York Rangers a 3-1 lead four minutes into the final frame.

The miscue was credited to Rangers' defenseman Ryan McDonagh, his first point of the season and 13th career NHL goal.

With five minutes remaining, the Los Angeles Kings' fair-weather faithful jeered Quick as he successfully stopped an iced puck.  Unamused by the gesture, the Conn Smythe winner and Stanley Cup champion flipped-off the ungrateful onlookers waiving his glove in response.

In the post-game interview Quick conceded "everybody gives up bad goals, it's part of the game".  When pressed for more detail on the miscue Quick quipped, "you guys are writing a story on that one goal?" which the reporter denied while hockey bloggers everywhere nodded.

When asked for comment about any post-gaffe discussions with his goalie, Coach Darryl Sutter responded "He dropped his stick - what do you want to talk about - tell him not to drop his stick?".  Sutter buttoned his remarks, joking "It's his job to stop the puck, so obviously he didn't think he needed a stick".  The Rangers beat the Kings 3-1.

That's today in NHL history.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Canucks Who Left Vancouver & Won Stanley Cup

The Vancouver Canucks have skated in three Stanley Cup Finals (1982, 1994, 2011) since their NHL debut in 1970. Despite twice taking their Cup Final opponent to Game 7 (1994, 2011), no Canuck has hoisted or had their name etched on the Stanley Cup during their tenure with the club.

A fortunate few, however, have clinched the Stanley Cup with another squad subsequent to their stay with the Canucks. The chart below lists each former Canuck that won the Stanley Cup by year and team.

Year         Former Canuck         Championship Team
2020         Luke Schenn*   Tampa Bay Lightning 
2019         Michael Del Zotto*   St. Louis Blues 
2017         Nick Bonino   Pittsburgh Penguin 
2016         Nick Bonino*   Pittsburgh Penguin 
2014 Willie Mitchell   Los Angeles Kings
2012 Willie Mitchell Los Angeles Kings
2010 Brent Sopel Chicago Blackhawks
2009 Matt Cooke Pittsburgh Penguins
2007 Brad May Anaheim Ducks
2006 Bret Hedican Carolina Hurricanes
2004 Jassen Cullimore Tampa Bay Lightning
2002 Jiri Slegr Detroit Red Wings
2000 Alexander Mogilny*      New Jersey Devils
1999 Doug Lidster Dallas Stars
1998 Igor Larionov Detroit Red Wings
1997 Igor Larionov Detroit Red Wings
1994 Doug Lidster* New York Rangers
1993 J.J. Daigneault Montreal Canadiens
1987 Moe Lemay* Edmonton Oilers

*  Won Stanley Cup during 1st season with new team after Canucks.

At least fifteen former Canucks (Lemay, Daigneault, Lidster, Larionov, Mogilny, Slegr, Cullimore, Hedican, May, Cooke, Sopel, Mitchell, Bonino, Del Zotto, Schenn) have hoisted the holy hardware skating with other clubs after their west coast stint, though only five (Lemay, Lidster, Mogilny, Bonino, Del Zotto) won the Stanley Cup in the same season they left Vancouver.

Moe Lemay arrived in Edmonton on March 10, 1987 (in exchange for Raimo Summanen) and was part of the Oilers third Stanley Cup win. Doug Lidster was dealt to the New York Rangers on June 25, 1993 (in exchange for John Vanbiesbrouck) and won the Stanley Cup the following season against his former team. Alexander Mogilny was sent to the New Jersey Devils on March 14, 2000 (in exchange for Brendan Morrison and Denis Pederson), where #89 captured the Stanley Cup 89 days later. Nick Bonino was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins on July 28, 2015 (along with Adam Clendening and in exchange for Brandon Sutter), where he led the Pens in postseason assists en route to a Stanley Cup win.

Del Zotto was dealt to the Ducks on January 23, 2019 and subsequently sent to the Blues 33 days later. Though he skated in only 7 regular season games in St. Louis with no playoff appearances, he trained with the Black Aces and was part of the club when they won. His name was etched into the Stanley Cup as he skated in more than 41 games during the regular season (Canucks 23, Ducks 12, Blues 7 = 42 games).

Monday, October 5, 2020

The IIHF Triple Gold Club

Of the over 15,000 World Championship participants seeking gold since 1930, 9,000 that have skated for the Stanley Cup since 1893, and 4,000 that have competed for Olympic Gold since 1920, only 29 players and one coach have won all three titles. These accomplished 30 are recognized with membership in hockey's most exclusive association, the IIHF's Triple Gold Club.

The club includes individuals from Canada (12), Sweden (9), Russia (7), and the Czech Republic (2), of which the majority are forwards (22) with remainder rounded out by defensemen (7) and one coach. No goalies have earned the honor. All members are listed below by date of admission.

Player                             Country            Date of Admission
Tomas Jonsson Sweden February 27, 1994
Mats Naslund Sweden February 27, 1994
Hakan Loob Sweden February 27, 1994
Valeri Kamensky Russia June 10, 1996
Alexei Gusarov Russia June 10, 1996
Peter Forsberg Sweden June 10, 1996
Viacheslav Fetisov Russia June 7, 1997
Igor Larianov Russia June 7, 1997
Alexander Mogilny Russia June 10, 2000
Vladimir Malakhov Russia June 10, 2000
Rob Blake Canada February 24, 2002
Joe Sakic Canada February 24, 2002
Brendan Shanahan Canada February 24, 2002
Scott Niedermayer Canada May 9, 2004
Jaromir Jagr Czech May 15, 2005
Jiri Slegr Czech May 15, 2005
Nicklas Lidstrom Sweden February 26, 2006
Fredrick Modin Sweden February 26, 2006
Chris Pronger Canada June 6, 2007
Niklas Kronwall Sweden June 4, 2008
Henrik Zetterberg Sweden June 4, 2008
Mikael Samuelsson Sweden June 4, 2008
Eric Staal Canada February 28, 2010
Jonathan Toews Canada June 9, 2010
Patrice Bergeron Canada June 15, 2011
Sidney Crosby Canada May 17, 2015
Corey Perry Canada May 22, 2016
Pavel Datsyuk Russia February 25, 2018
Jay Bouwmeester Canada June 12, 2019

Coach                             Country            Date of Admission
Mike Babcock Canada February 28, 2010

During a Triple Gold Club induction ceremony held at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Zetterberg described the challenges of the different championships and the camaraderie of his co-members.

Of the 30 Triple Gold Club cardholders, only three (Viacheslav Fetisov, Igor Larionov, Peter Forsberg) have completed a Triple Gold Club Double winning each of the requisite three championships twice.  

The next logical step in IIHF recognition is the creation of a Quadruple Gold Club adding World Junior Championship gold to the mix. To date, only 12 players (7 Canadian, 5 Russian) have achieved such status (Kamensky, Gusarov, Fetisov, Larianov, Mogilny, Sakic, Neidermayer, Pronger, Toews, Bergeron, Crosby, Perry) with Fetisov and Larionov being the sole pair to turn a Quadruple Gold Club Double, taking each title twice.

Jay Bouwmeester is the most recent inductee into the Triple Gold Club, punching his ticket with a Stanley Cup win with the St. Louis Blues (2019) to accompany his World Championship Gold (2003, 2004) and Olympic Gold (2014) with Team Canada.  

Sidney Crosby remains the only member to have captained all three qualifying teams.  Jonathan Toews is the youngest to complete the feat entering at 22 years and 41 days old. 

* See also Olympic Gold And Stanley Cup In Same Year.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

History of NHL Contraction

Since the league's inception in 1917, NHL expansion has welcomed 36 clubs to its hockey family. Of those teams, thirteen have relocated to a new city, eleven have changed their team name while remaining in the same city, and six have folded owing to financial failure. 

The chart below shows NHL contraction by year and team name.

Year       Folded Team Name
1918 Montreal Wanderers
1935 St. Louis Eagles^
1936 Philadelphia Quakers^
1946 Brooklyn Americans^^*
1947 Montreal Maroons
1978 Cleveland Barons**^

* Team was victim of NHL Renaming
^ Team was victim of NHL Relocation

The footnotes above show, chronologically, the renaming and/or relocation of contracted teams prior to their demise.  The number of NHL teams and regular season games played by year may be found here.


The first team to fold was the Montreal Wanderers.  Formed in 1903 prior to joining the NHL in 1917, the Wanderers skated in only four NHL games (winning only one) before their home rink Montreal Arena burned down on January 2, 1918 ending their existence.

17 years passed before another club contracted. Born as the Ottawa Senators in 1883 and joining the NHL in 1917, the cash-strapped Senators relocated to St. Louis in 1934 as the St. Louis Eagles, folding after one season owing to poor divisional alignment and travel costs.


The next year the Philadelphia Quakers collapsed. Relocating after five seasons as the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Quakers set a record for the NHL's worst win percentage suspending operations after one season before contracting five years later in 1936.


Skating one season in 1919 as the Quebec Bulldogs, the club relocated as the Hamilton Tigers playing five years before becoming the New York Americans in 1925, which was renamed the Brooklyn Americans in their final season in 1942 before folding in 1946.

Erected in 1924 to satisfy Montreal's anglophone hockey fans after losing the Wanderers in 1918, the Montreal Maroons fell victim to the Great Depression, playing their final game in 1938 and ultimately contracted in 1947 after several unsuccessful attempts to move.

Starting out as the California Seals in 1967, the club was renamed the Oakland Seals then the California Golden Seals before relocating as the Cleveland Barons, the franchise skated for two seasons in Cleveland before merging into the Minnesota North Stars in 1978.

Today's NHL frowns upon contracting and relocating teams. Despite financial difficulties plaguing several franchises over the years, the league elects to keep clubs in their current location whenever possible.

The NHL's recent actions in Phoenix supports this narrative, resuscitating the Coyotes for four years amidst enormous losses before finding new ownership which was subsequently approved by the Glendale counsel, averting almost certain relocation to Seattle or Quebec.

Since the NHL expanded beyond its Original Six 1967, only nine teams have relocated and just one has contracted (Cleveland Barons). 
* See also History of NHL Expansion.

Friday, October 2, 2020

History of NHL Expansion

Since the league's beginnings in 1917, the NHL has welcomed 38 teams. Of those, thirteen have relocated to a new city, eleven have changed their team name while remaining in the same city, and six have fallen on financial hard times and folded their operations

The chart below shows the history of NHL expansion by year, team name and the expansion fee levied on the buyer by the league.

YearExpansion TeamCost
1917       Montreal Canadians None
1917 Montreal Wanderers# None
1917 Ottawa Senators^# None
1917 Quebec Bulldogs^*# None
1917 Toronto Arenas* None
1924 Boston Bruins $15k
1924 Montreal Maroons# $15k (includes $11k to Canadiens)
1925 Pittsburgh Pirates^# $12k
1926 Chicago Black Hawks* $12k
1926 Detroit Cougars* $12k
1926 New York Rangers $12k
1967 California Seals*^# $2m
1967 Los Angeles Kings $2m
1967 Minnesota North Stars^ $2m
1967 Philadelphia Flyers $2m
1967 Pittsburgh Penguins $2m
1967 St. Louis Blues $2m
1970 Buffalo Sabres $6m
1970 Vancouver Canucks $6m
1972 Atlanta Flames^ $6m
1972 New York Islanders $11m (includes $5m to Rangers)
1974 Kansas City Scouts^ $6m
1974 Washington Capitals $6m
1979 Edmonton Oilers $7.5m (includes $1.5m to WHA)
1979 Hartford Whalers^ $7.5m (includes $1.5m to WHA)
1979 Quebec Nordiques^ $7.5m (includes $1.5m to WHA)
1979 Winnipeg Jets^ $7.5m (includes $1.5m to WHA)
1991 San Jose Sharks $45m
1992 Ottawa Senators $45m
1992 Tampa Bay Lightning $45m
1993 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim*   $50m (includes $25m to Kings)
1993 Florida Panthers $50m
1998 Nashville Predators $80m
1999 Atlanta Thrashers^ $80m
2000 Columbus Blue Jackets $80m
2000 Minnesota Wild $80m
2017 Vegas Golden Knights $500m
2021 Seattle $650m

* Team was victim of NHL Renaming
^ Team was victim of NHL Relocation
# Team was victim of NHL Contraction

As indicated by the footnotes above, several teams have endured change in the form of renaming, relocation and contraction.  The ordering of the symbols indicates the chronology of these events.  The number of NHL teams and regular season games played by year may be found here.

The first five members of the NHL in 1917 gained admission without having to pay an expansion fee.  Since then, all teams have paid a fee to join the league.  Hovering between $12,000 and $15,000 in the 1920s, expansions fees jumped to $2 million in 1967 and tripled three years later in 1970 to $6 million where they remained (save surcharges to other teams and leagues) through the remainder of the decade.

After a twelve year span of a 21 team NHL, expansion began again in 1991 with fees 7.5 times higher than those paid by teams entering in the 1970s, ultimately ending up over 13.3 times by 2000. Current franchise valuations estimate the value of NHL teams ranging from $290 million (Arizona Coyotes) to $1.5 billion (New York Rangers).  

On December 4, 2018, the NHL Board of Governors unanimously approved a yet-to-be-named Seattle team as its 32nd franchise. The club, coming at a cost of $650 million (30% increase over the cost of Vegas Golden Knights, which entered the NHL in 2017) shall compete in the Pacific Division commencing in 2021. The NHL expansion draft to fill their roster is scheduled occurred in June 2021.


Despite the escalating costs of purchasing a NHL team through expansion, the inflation calculator shows these teams to be more than holding their value in the terms of purchase price. This does not account for the annual operating losses for most NHL teams, which in the case of the Phoenix Coyotes resulted in losses of $54 million in 2009.
* See also History of NHL Contraction.
* See also History of NHL Relocation.
* See also History of NHL Team Renaming.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

History Of NHL Team Renaming

Typically reserved for NHL expansion and NHL relocation, seven cities (Toronto, Detroit, New York, Oakland, Chicago, Anaheim, Phoenix) have assigned eleven new names for their NHL team absent a move, since the league's inaugural season in 1917.

The chart below shows each instance of a renaming absent expansion or relocation, sorted by year, old team name and new team name.

Year       Old Team Name New Team Name
1918 Toronto Blueshirts Toronto Arenas
1919 Toronto Arenas Toronto St. Patricks
1927 Toronto St. Patricks Toronto Maple Leafs
1930 Detroit Cougars Detroit Falcons
1932 Detroit Falcons Detroit Red Wings
1941 New York Americans Brooklyn Americans
1967 California Seals Oakland Seals
1970 Oakland Seals California Golden Seals
1986 Chicago Black Hawks Chicago Blackhawks
2006 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim       Anaheim Ducks
2014 Phoenix Coyotes Arizona Coyotes

The most recent team renaming came in June 2014 as part of a last ditch effort to avoid relocation and keep the Coyotes in Phoenix under new ownership after years of financial distress and league ownership.  

Of the eleven newly named teams, five have won the Stanley Cup under their new namesake (Toronto St. Patricks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks) including one in the inaugural year of their name change (Anaheim Ducks 2007), one relocated (California Golden Seals to Cleveland Barons), and two fell prey to NHL contraction (Brooklyn Americans, Cleveland Barons).

Here's hoping the desert dogs enjoy more success on and off the ice with their new name. They're due some good fortune in the Sonoran.