Friday, June 27, 2014

NHL Approves Four Expansion Teams


On June 27, 1997, the National Hockey League (NHL) officially approved expansion to 30 teams by the year 2000 with the announcement of new teams in Atlanta, Columbus, Minnesota and Nashville.

The history of the National Hockey League begins with the end of its predecessor league, the National Hockey Association (NHA), in 1917.
 

The NHL'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 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 the Stanley Cup; in 1947, the NHL completed a deal with the Stanley Cup trustees to gain full control of the Cup.
The NHL's footprint spread across Canada as Foster Hewitt's radio broadcasts were heard coast-to-coast starting in 1933.
The Great Depression and World War II reduced the league to six teams, later known as the "Original Six", by 1942.
The Original Six era ended in 1967 when the NHL doubled in size by adding six new expansion teams. The six existing teams were formed into the newly created East Division, while the expansion teams were formed into the West Division.
The NHL continued to expand, adding another six teams, to total 18 by 1974. This continued expansion was partially brought about by the NHL's attempts to compete with the World Hockey Association, which operated from 1972 until 1979 and sought to compete with the NHL for markets and players.
The NHL became involved in international play in the mid-1970s, starting with the Summit Series in 1972 which pitted the top Canadian players of the NHL against the top players in the Soviet Union, which was won by Canada with four wins, three losses, and a tie. Eventually, Soviet-Bloc players streamed into the NHL with the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989.
When the WHA ceased operations in 1979, the NHL absorbed four of the league's teams, which brought the NHL to 21 teams, a figure that remained constant until the San Jose Sharks were added as an expansion franchise in 1991. Since then, the league has grown from 22 teams in 1992 to 30 today as the NHL spread its footprint across the United States. The league has withstood major labor conflicts in 1994–95 and 2004–05, the latter of which saw the entire 2004–05 NHL season canceled, the first time in North American history that a league has canceled an entire season in a labor dispute.
There was again another conflict in the NHL, a dispute between the players and owners and the season was cut almost in half, with 526 games being cancelled, approximately 43 percent of the season.
Just after 5 am on January 6, 2013, after approximately 16 continuous hours of negotiating, the NHL and the player's union reached a tentative deal on a new collective bargaining agreement to end the lockout. The first games of the season were held on January 19.
The expansion had it's own problems too. In under 20 years the Atlanta franchise was folding, and being moved back to Winnipeg, and would be renamed to the Jets in 2013, the franchises original namesake. The Jets still play in Winnipeg to this day.