The Original Six

Most neophytes to NHL Hockey when initially hearing or reading the words, “Original Six” make the supposition this means the first six teams to play in the National Hockey League, nothing could be farther from the truth.

On a beautiful December night in 1917, the NHL began its first season with five teams and a 22-game schedule and they were:

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Wanderers (withdrew in 1918)

Ottawa Senators

Quebec Bulldogs (1918 sold, reinstated next season, 1920 shift to Hamilton)

Toronto Arenas   (name changed to St Patricks in 1918)

And it was not until the 1924-25 season that the NHL awarded two more franchises for Boston and Montreal increasing the league to six teams the original six teams to play in the NHL were:

Boston Bruins

Hamilton Tigers

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Maroons

Ottawa Senators

Toronto St Patricks

For the 1925-26 NHL season Hamilton withdrew and the NHL awarded two more franchises to Pittsburgh and New York to increase the league to seven teams creating the original seven teams to play in the NHL and they were:

Boston Bruins

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Maroons

New York Americans

Ottawa Senators

Pittsburgh Pirates

Toronto St Patricks

During the off-season before the 1926-27 NHL season began, three more franchises are awarded to New York, Chicago, and Detroit enlarging the NHL to double digits for the first time with 10 teams and they were:

Boston Bruins

Chicago Blackhawks

Detroit Cougars

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Maroons

New York Americans

New York Rangers

Ottawa Senators

Pittsburgh Pirates

Toronto Maple Leafs (Toronto sold during off-season initiating name change)

The NHL stayed intact for nearly three seasons but for the 1930-31 NHL season, Detroit changes their name from Cougars to Falcons and Pittsburgh transferred to Philadelphia and changed their name to the Quakers creating a fresh NHL 10 team look and they were:

Boston Bruins

Chicago Blackhawks

Detroit Falcons

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Maroons

New York Americans

New York Rangers

Ottawa Senators

Philadelphia Quakers

Toronto Maple Leafs

The next season 1931-32 Philadelphia withdrew from the NHL and Ottawa requested a one-year withdrawal reducing the NHL to eight teams they were:

Boston Bruins

Chicago Blackhawks

Detroit Falcons

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Maroons

New York Americans

New York Rangers

Toronto Maple Leafs

For the 1932-33 NHL season Detroit changes their name again settling on the Red Wings, Ottawa resumes play and the NHL denies St Louis a franchise because of the burdensome travel costs the NHL has increased by one for a nine-team league and they were:

Boston Bruins

Chicago Blackhawks

Detroit Red Wings

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Maroons

New York Americans

New York Rangers

Ottawa Senators

Toronto Maple Leafs

For the 1934-35 NHL season Ottawa went against the NHL and transferred to St Louis and became the St Louis Eagles keeping the NHL at nine teams but with a slightly altered line-up and they were:

Boston Bruins

Chicago Blackhawks

Detroit Red Wings

Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Maroons

New York Americans

New York Rangers

St Louis Eagles

Toronto Maple Leafs

The next NHL season 1935-36 the NHL terminated the St Louis franchise bringing the league back down to eight teams and two seasons after this in 1937-38 the Montreal Maroons withdrew creating a seven-team league and they were:

Boston Bruins

Chicago Blackhawks

Detroit Red Wings

Montreal Canadiens

New York Americans

New York Rangers

Toronto Maple Leafs

In the early 1940s for the 1941-42 NHL season the New York Americans change their name to Brooklyn Americans but the following season 1942-43 they withdrew dropping the NHL down to six teams and they were:

Boston Bruins

Chicago Blackhawks

Detroit Red Wings

Montreal Canadiens

New York Rangers

Toronto Maple Leafs

The NHL remained at six teams for the next 24 seasons until the six-team expansion for the 1967-68 NHL season brought the NHL up to 12 teams, two divisions (East & West), and a 74-game schedule and they were:

Boston Bruins                              California Seals (Oakland by Dec)                        

Chicago Blackhawks                  Los Angeles Kings

Detroit Red Wings                       Minnesota North Stars

Montreal Canadiens                    Philadelphia Flyers

New York Rangers                       Pittsburgh Penguins

Toronto Maple Leafs                 St Louis Blues

It was this season when sports writers coined the term “original six” for the East Division teams without giving any sort of moniker for the West Division teams and since this expansion fans have mistakenly embraced the “original six” term to mean the actual first six NHL teams.

Author: Buffalo Winter

Hockey

2 thoughts on “The Original Six”

    1. Your welcome P_g,

      quite a few indeed

      The history of Hockey as it pertains to my city has been my interest and the depth of history of the NHL is fascinating to me

      Liked by 1 person

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