Canada Commemorates the National Hockey League as a National Historic Event
Canada’s national parks, historic sites, and marine conservation areas enable Canadians to experience their rich and varied history in a special way. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, the Government of Canada invites Canadians to experience nature and learn more about our history.
Stéphane Lauzon, Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and Persons with Disabilities and Member of Parliament for Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation, and Marc Miller, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for Ville-Marie — Le Sud-Ouest — Île-des-Sœurs, on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, today commemorated the importance of the National Hockey League (NHL) as a national historic event with the unveiling of a Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada (HSMBC)’s plaque. The ceremony was held during a press conference organized by the NHL in Montreal during the League’s 100th anniversary celebrations.
The Government of Canada is committed to connecting Canadians to the significant people, places, and events that contributed to our country’s rich diverse heritage. Founded in Montreal in November 1917, the NHL is the world’s predominant hockey league. It has grown in popularity through radio and television broadcasts and for a century, it has captivated generations of fans with the speed and skill of the game. The league emerged out of a Canadian passion for hockey that manifested itself through many community-based, men’s and women’s amateur and professional leagues and teams.
By the 1930s, the NHL was the dominant hockey league in North America with exclusive rights to the Stanley Cup, and by the 1970s, it had expanded with numerous franchises throughout Canada and the United States. The NHL’s champion teams have set high standards of excellence, inspiring people of all ages to participate in and enjoy Canada’s national winter sport.
This year also marks the centennial of national historic sites and Parks Canada invites Canadians to discover and be inspired by the stories of the people, places, and events that shaped the Canada of today. We encourage you to learn more about our country’s history, and discover truly Canadian places and stories with Parks Canada.
“The National Hockey League has provided a century of entertainment, showcased athletic achievement, and created a platform for Canadian athletes to become national symbols and international superstars. As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation and the 100th anniversary of the NHL, I encourage all Canadians to take this opportunity to learn more about the league’s contribution to our country’s history.”
Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and Persons with Disabilities and Member of Parliament for Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation
“The National Hockey League is an indisputable historical icon of our country. From the Ottawa, Toronto, and two Montreal teams that originally composed it, through the Original Six era, to the current 31 teams, the NHL has successfully developed and promoted the game of hockey, thus influencing Canadians and Canadian society in a profound manner, unequalled by any other professional sports organization. This designation honours the rich heritage of our nation and provides an opportunity to learn even more about our rich hockey history.”
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and Member of Parliament for Ville-Marie — Le Sud-Ouest — Île-des-Sœurs
“Today, in the presence of some of our greatest legends and executives; in Montreal – the home city of some of our greatest memories; in a moment no one could have imagined 100 years ago, the National Hockey League proudly joins the Government of Canada in honoring our magnificent history and celebrating Le Windsor as the place of our birth on Nov. 26, 1917.”
Commissioner, National Hockey League
- The NHL was formed in 1917 by four of the five franchise owners of the National Hockey Association (created in 1910) – the Montréal Canadiens, the Montréal Wanderers, the Ottawa Senators, and the Quebec Bulldogs – and were soon joined by the Toronto Arenas (now the Maple Leafs).
- The NHL officials and players were instrumental in the development of the sport through innovations in rules, hockey equipment, and playing styles that made the game both more exciting for fans and safer for players.
- Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of Environment and Climate Change regarding the national historic significance of places, people, and events that have marked Canada’s history.
About The National Hockey League (NHL):
The National Hockey League (NHL) was formed in November 1917 as a Canadian men’s professional hockey league, a new venture that would soon change the world of hockey. After expanding to the United States in 1924 and gaining exclusive access to the prestigious Stanley Cup in 1927, it became the world’s predominant hockey league. Through national radio and television broadcasts starting in the mid-1920s and 1950s respectively, the NHL intensified the popularity of Canada’s winter sport as a source of entertainment, notably during annual playoffs, and provided a platform for Canadian athletes to become national icons and international superstars.
For a century, the NHL has held a special place in the hearts of Canadians. It emerged out of a Canadian passion for hockey that manifested itself through many community- and university-based, men’s and women’s amateur and professional leagues and teams. During the 1910s, professional hockey was experiencing a boom and the National Hockey League was formed in Montréal at this time by four of the five franchise owners of the National Hockey Association (created in 1910) – the Montréal Canadiens, the Montréal Wanderers, the Ottawa Senators, and the Quebec Bulldogs – and were soon joined by the Toronto Arenas (renamed the St. Patricks, and then the Maple Leafs). Most of these teams had their origins in the senior men’s hockey amateur circuit.
By 1926, all other professional leagues had disbanded and the coveted Stanley Cup became the exclusive trophy for the NHL. The league underwent two major periods of expansion into the United States, first in the 1920s and then in the 1960s. By the end of the Second World War, it had fully established its role as the main governing sports organization for all of North American hockey. Through agreements with the various minor leagues and the leading amateur men’s league (the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association), the NHL established a network of farm teams that would allow it to control the player market and ensure a steady supply of qualified players for its clubs. Furthermore, NHL officials and players were instrumental in the development of the sport through innovations in rules, hockey equipment, and playing styles that made the game both more exciting for fans and safer for players.
The league successfully popularized hockey in North America. It partnered with the media, beginning with newspapers, moving to radio during the mid-1920s, and then television during the 1950s. From the radio and television alliances emerged an enduring Canadian Saturday night ritual, “Hockey Night in Canada.” The league’s champion teams have set high standards of excellence, inspiring people of all ages to participate in and enjoy Canada’s national winter sport.
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