National Hockey League (NHL)


The first organised ice hockey game took place on the 3rd of March 1875 in Montreal on the Victoria Skating Rink. The game ice hockey is most likely to have evolved from numerous games when ball games created by native Americans in Canada mixed with games brought to their land by French and British troops.

British troops had brought their Shinty and Hurling equipment, which consisted of a stick (caman) and a ball made of a cork core encapsulated by a layer of leather - nowadays the game is played with a puck in place of a ball to reduce the bound of the object -, to Canada in the early 19th Century. They soon transferred those games onto the ice. At first it was a game played by the soldiers. Later students joined and developed rules for the game, soon the attention towards the sport grew and it became more popular amongst all classes. With the first rules the original game of Shinty played on ice evolved more and more towards modern ice hockey. The development was propelled by students from the McGill University in Montreal as they introduced a goalkeeper to the game and other changes.

Once the first game took place in 1873 an estimated 500 people witnessed the creation of modern organised ice hockey. Since then the game has underwent numerous changes to rules and adopted technologies such as instant replays.

An ice hockey team usually consists of up to 22 players. A team should be able to create three to four defensive lines, a defensive line is made up by 2 players, and 4 offensive lines which are composed of three players (a right winger, a centre, a left winger) and two goalkeepers. During a game a maximum of six players (goalkeeper, defensive and offensive line) per team are allowed onto the ice. A team can decide to pull the goalkeeper and replace him with an offensive or defensive player. Substitutions can be made at almost any time during play.
A team can also name a captain, who is marked with a "C" on his shirt and an alternate captain, who is marked with an "A".

A game is divided into three 20 minute periods. If a game is tied in regulation. It is extended to overtime - the teams are reduced to 5 players -, it is similar to the golden goal in football as in if one team scores it wins the game. If the overtime period has come to an end on a tie the game will be decided in a shoot-out. Therefore a game cannot end on a tie.
2 points are awarded to the winning team and no points to the losing team in regulation. Albeit if a team loses in overtime or in the shoot-out it is still awarded a single point.

During a game penalties can be imposed on a team if a skater has infringed the rules, the type of penalty depends on the infringement the player has committed:

The most frequent incidents include: interference, tripping, high-sticking, hooking, delaying the game, slashing, boarding, cross-check, checking to the head, checking from behind, elbowing, unsportsmanlike conduct, roughing, charging, holding, illegal equipment, too many men, holding the stick, spearing, kneeing and checking to the knee.

The method used to begin play at the beginning of a period or after a stoppage of play. The two teams line up in opposition to each other. One player from each team attempts to gain control of the puck after it is dropped by an official between their sticks onto a face-off spot on the ice.

Power play
A power play occurs when one team has more players on the ice than the other team as a result of penalties assessed to the shorthanded team.

Penalty kill
Also refers to lineups, tactics and play by a team during the shorthanded period. Icing is not enforced on a shorthanded team.

The term short-hander describes a goal scored by a team with a penalty imposed on them.


Icing occurs when a player shoots the puck across both the center red line and the opposing team's goal line without the puck going into the net or being able to be touched by an opposing player in their neutral or defensive zones. When icing occurs, a linesman stops play. Play is resumed with a faceoff in the defending zone of the team that committed the infraction. In the NHL and many professional leagues, icing can be negated if a player from the team committing the icing touches the puck before a defender, in which case play continues (the linesman nearest the puck will indicate this with a "washout" signal). In many amateur leagues, the no-touch icing rule is used, meaning play stops as soon as the puck crosses the goal line. The NHL adopted a rule where the team that committed the infraction is unable to make a line change during the stoppage to discourage teams from icing the puck to "get a whistle" and change lines; this change has been adopted by many pro and high-level amateur leagues, but not all.

Wrap around
Is a manoeuver in which a player with the puck skates behind the opposing team's goal and attempts to score by sliding or shooting the puck into the opposite side of the net they skated around. The wrap around can be effective because it causes the goaltender to quickly slide from one side of the net to another, which allows the shooter the chance to sneak it by the goalie depending on how fast the goalie moves laterally.

Is the area on the hockey rink directly ahead of the goaltender between the faceoff circles on each side. Those inexperienced with hockey terminology sometimes incorrectly refer to it as the "scoring area".

The "deep" or "high" slot refers to the area from the top of the circles, farthest from the goaltender, to the end of the slot at the hash marks. The distinction of where the deep slot begins is contentious. In general, it is the defenceman's responsibility to guard offensive players in the slot, while the offside winger covers offensive players in the deep slot. Because the deep slot is protected by an offensively minded winger and not a defenceman, forwards will often hover in the deep slot waiting for an opportunity to move towards the net for a scoring opportunity.



The NHL was founded in 1917. A total of 30, so called franchised member clubs, make up the NHL. 23 of these clubs are based in the U.S. while the other 7 are based in Canada.
The NHL is split into 2 conferences the Eastern and Western Conference these are subdivided into Divisions. The division standings decides whether a team qualifies for the play-offs. The top three teams in the division standings and the 2 highest point scoring teams (wild cards) from each conference gain a berth.
The top ranked team of the conference goes on to play the lowest ranked wild card and the winner of the other division must play the highest ranked wild card entrant. The other two team, 2 and 3 in the standings of each division, play each other.ยด
A play-off is decide in a seven game series.

Currently it would look like this for the Eastern Conference:

Atlantic Division
Boston 85
Montreal 77
Toronto 74

Tampa Bay 73
Detroit 69 (24 ROW -Regulation + Overtime wins)

Metropolitan Division
Pittsburgh 86
Philadelphia 72
New York Rangers 70

Columbus 69 (28 ROW -Regulation + Overtime wins)
Washington 68

Columbus qualify due to more wins in regulation and overtime.


Pittsburgh - Columbus
Boston - Tampa Bay
Montreal - Toronto
Philadelphia - New York Rangers

The pairings for the second round are re-selected but the team continue to face another team from their conference. Round 3 is the Conference final and determines the finalist from each of the two conferences. The victorious team of the final is the overall League winner and will be awarded the Stanley Cup.
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Brilliant! Watched ice-hockey in the Winter Olympics and was guessing some rules, shame they don't show the NHL in UK much, decided to support the Habs because I saw it on my Twitter and Capitals because of Ovechkin, the "Cristiano Ronaldo of Ice Hockey"!
Jos the Boss
Good that you are interested, I wasn't sure whether or not I should create the topic. I was hoping that there are some North Americans or Scandinavians are on this site too, that might be interested. :D
They do braodcast a fair bit of hockey here in Germany but had I started with that I would not enjoy the sport. The NHL is faster, more aggressive and more competitive than the DEL.
I support the New York Rangers and it was worth staying up till 4 am because they won the game against Carolina in an epic third period and broke their string of three loses in row.

Here is the official NHL YouTube Channel:

I would like to add it to the first posting but I can't edit the post know.
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Jos the Boss It never will be unless they make it a true final instead of a series. That's part of why the Super Bowl is so huge, because its the only major US sport with a single elimination playoff. This is also part of the appeal of March Madness. But the Stanley Cup Series do get some pretty high draws for hockey, partly because unlike the Super Bowl the games are almost always well played and dramatic. In Canada, however, it is much bigger than the Super Bowl because Canada.
Plutus Yes but the hockey playing population of North America is much smaller than Europe's soccer playing population. Land area means nothing. Population does. Even the larger U.S. sport leagues could use a decrease in size to make the product more attractive. The level of play would be higher and it would be easier for fans to follow, much better name recognition. Its never going to happen though because of money and the outrage of teams that go defunct, among other reasons.
The population difference isn't too great either. ;)
The problem I see with a decrease at least in ice hockey is that there wouldn't be enough fans to make it attractive when it comes to selling TV rights due to the lack of clubs in the league.
Plutus that is true but a lot of the warm weather American teams (Coyotes, Stars, Panthers, etc.) aren't really attractive for TV rights to start with... And the population difference isn't very large but a lot more Europeans play/follow soccer compared to North Americans playing/following hockey and that makes the main difference
Jos the Boss It never will be unless they make it a true final instead of a series. That's part of why the Super Bowl is so huge, because its the only major US sport with a single elimination playoff. This is also part of the appeal of March Madness. But the Stanley Cup Series do get some pretty high draws for hockey, partly because unlike the Super Bowl the games are almost always well played and dramatic. In Canada, however, it is much bigger than the Super Bowl because Canada.

soccerman17, let me complete the sentence for you:

because Canada lives and breathes hockey, it's almost like a religion up here ... and besides we have CFL which is in a different league compared to NFL but it's very enjoyable nonetheless ... fun fact, the average CFL player earns about 80k a year, so most of them moonlight during off-season as firemen, business owners and salesmen ...
Go Habs!

Montreal Canadiens
Lead series against the Bruins 4-3
Final - Yesterday, 7:00 PM
TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Olivier they were really impressive but I don't think they can win against the Rangers (unfortunately). Not with Carey Price being injured.
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