The day was 19th December 1917, when four teams took to the ice to duke it out in the first NHL game. At the time, the new league only had five franchises. The Wanderers and Canadians from Montreal, Toronto Arenas, The Quebec Bulldogs and the senators from Ottawa.
Results of the Game
The Canadians beat the Senators by a convincing scoreline of 7 to 4. While the other clash produced a thrilling show of might and agility on the snow. Eventually, the Wanderers overcame the Arenas by a score of 10 to 9. The crowd may have been dismal, but they were they raised the roof of Toronto’s Arena Gardens.
Life Before the NHL
The first Ice hockey league was founded in 1904 in Michigan. This was called the National Hockey association NHA. However, difference brewed over the organization of the NHA. Thus In an attempt to dethrone Toronto Bullets’ majority shareholder, Eddie Livingstone, the four original franchises formed a separate league.
Two Rival Leagues
The disbandment of the NHA resulted in the formation of 2 even larger Canadian associations. One was the NHL, and the other was the Pacific Coast League. Franchises from both leagues participated in the championship in 1914.
The eventual winner received a prized silver bowl from Canada’s Governor General Lord Stanley. Nowadays we refer to this trophy as the coveted Stanley cup. The league was shut down during World War 1 for obvious reasons.
Formation of the NHL
The first NHL season began with the Toronto Arenas overcoming previous losses to be crowned as the first champions. The Arenas went on to beat the Vancouver Millionaires in 2 of 3 matches to win the Stanley cup in 1918.
The PCL had folded into the NHL by 1926. This expanded league now had ten franchises that were split into two divisions, namely the Western and eastern conference.