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Stanley Cups, frozen pucks and ‘The Mighty Ducks:’ Fun facts about the NHL

National Hockey League (NHL) games are some of the most fast-paced, aggressive sporting events in the U.S. All-out brawls, blood and missing teeth are just a few of the frenzied occurrences you can likely expect from a hockey game. 

The NHL started with a core of six teams and has grown tremendously to 32 teams.

Each year since 1963, the league holds an NHL draft.

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For the 2023 draft, the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, will host draft day. In 2022, the draft was held at Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec and in 2021, it was at NHL Network studios in Secaucus, New Jersey.

Get to know these fun facts about the NHL ahead of the 2023 draft.

Players fighting for puck on hockey rink

The NHL is now made up of 32 teams. Most are from the United States, but seven are from Canada, where the league originated. (Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

  1. The NHL was founded on November 22, 1917.
  2. There were originally only six teams in the NHL.
  3. The Montreal Canadiens hold the greatest number of Stanley Cup titles.
  4. Hockey pucks are frozen before game time.
  5. The Anaheim Ducks were named after “The Mighty Ducks” movie.

1. The NHL was founded on Nov. 22, 1917

The NHL started in Montreal, Canada, in 1917. The NHL was founded by British-born, Canadian journalist and athlete, Frank Calder, who sat as the first president of the league, too. He died in 1943. The Calder Memorial Trophy is an award given “to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League,” according to the NHL website.

After he passed, Red Dutton, a Canadian hockey player, sat as the acting president of the NHL for three consecutive years from 1943-1946. Then, Clarence Campbell, Calder’s expected predecessor who he groomed for the position prior to his passing, served from 1946-1977.

2. There were originally only six teams in the NHL

The first six teams in the NHL did not all join at the same time, but they were the only six teams in the league for over 20 years. They are known collectively as the “Original Six.” 

The six teams included the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers and Detroit Red Wings.

In 1967, six more teams were added to the league. This included the California Seals, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota North Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues.

Of the current 32 professional hockey teams, 25 are from the United States and 7 are from Canada.

3. The Montreal Canadiens hold the greatest number of Stanley Cup titles

The Montreal Canadiens lead the NHL with the most Stanley Cups wins. As of 2023, they have won 24 championships. They are also the oldest team in the league. The Toronto Maple Leafs hold the second-largest number of titles but lag behind greatly with only 13 crowning achievements.

The Stanley Cup trophy on display

The Montreal Canadiens have earned 24 Stanley Cups over the years. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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4. Hockey pucks are frozen before game time

Did you know that hockey pucks are frozen before they hit the ice before game time? Pucks, or biscuits, are frozen in order to stop them from bouncing on the ice during the game. They also glide more smoothly and move more quickly. 

Hockey pucks used in the NHL will change color when temperatures have risen to above freezing. Referees then know it is time to change out the puck for the duration of the game. Anywhere from 15-20 hockey pucks can be used throughout one game.

5. The Anaheim Ducks were named after “The Mighty Ducks” movie 

“The Mighty Ducks” is a Disney sports movie about a youth hockey team. The NHL team was founded in 1993 and owned by Disney. They were originally called the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. At their start, they even had the same color jerseys and logo as the team from the movie.

Anaheim Ducks hockey team

The Anaheim Ducks were originally named after the team in the Disney movie, “The Mighty Ducks.” (John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The team was sold in 2005 which led to a name and color change. In 2005, Henry Samueli, co-founder of Broadcom Corporation, and his wife Susan purchased the team for $75 million. The team is now called the Anaheim Ducks and sport the color orange vs the green and yellow Mighty Ducks colors.

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