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NHL Collectibles

 The National Hockey League (NHL) was founded on November 26, 1917, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, following the suspension of the National Hockey Association eight years earlier. The first four teams to play in the new league were the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators and the Toronto Hockey Club (also known as the Toronto Arenas). Toronto won the first league championship (1917-18 season), then defeated the Vancouver Millionaires of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association to capture the Stanley Cup, which became an NHL-only championship trophy in 1926. It is the oldest professional sports trophy in North America. The Boston Bruins became the first team based in the United States to win the Stanley Cup (1924). Following league expansion, the Great Depression and World War II wreaked havoc on teams’ finances, and by the 1942-43 season, there were only six teams in the fold – Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Canadiens, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs. Known as the “Original Six,” these half-dozen clubs would fill the league for a quarter of a century. The NHL doubled in size for the 1967-68 season when the California Seals, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota North Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues came aboard. By 1974, there were 18 teams in the NHL. During that decade, bidding wars between the NHL and World Hockey Association eventually resulted in the former league absorbing the Edmonton Oilers, Hartford Whalers and Quebec Nordiques. There have been quite a few NHL dynasties through the decades. The Senators won three Stanley Cup championships in four years (1920-23), the Maple Leafs won five of seven titles (1945-51), the Red Wings won four of six (1950-55), the Canadiens captured five in a row (1956-60), the Maple Leafs won four of six (1962-67), the Canadiens won 10 of 15 (1965-79, including four straight from 1976-79), the New York Islanders won four straight (1980-83) and the Edmonton Oilers won five of seven (1984-90). No team has won two consecutive Stanley Cup crowns since the Red Wings in 1997 and 1998. The Canadiens have won the most Cups in league history (25), while the Kings are the most recent champions (2013-14 season). The NHL now includes 30 teams, 23 of which are based in the U.S. and seven in Canada. Players originate from approximately 20 different countries. Annual trophies include the Presidents’ Trophy, presented to the team with the most regular-season points; the Art Ross Trophy, given to the league’s scoring champion; the Vezina Trophy, earned by the league’s best goaltender; the Hart Memorial Trophy, awarded to the league’s regular-season Most Valuable Player; and the Conn Smythe Trophy, presented to the MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Highland Mint produces a wide variety of products licensed by the NHL for all 30 teams, including PhotoMints, Coins, Coin Cards, Etched Acrylics, Ornaments and Keychains. 

NHL and the NHL Shield are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League.  All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. © NHL 2012.  All Rights Reserved.