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National Hockey League - Statistics & Facts

The National Hockey League (NHL) is a professional ice hockey league in North America. Founded in 1917, the league initially comprised five teams, all of which were located in Canada. The teams were the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Arenas and the Quebec Bulldogs. The Quebec Bulldogs, though, did not play in the 1917/18 season. Today, the NHL encompasses 30 franchises, of which seven are located in Canada and 23 in the United States.

Impact of COVID on NHL revenue

In recent years, the NHL as a whole has generated more than four billion U.S. dollars in revenue each season, surpassing the five billion U.S. dollar mark for the first time in the 2018/19 season. A significant drop in total league revenue was seen a year later, which can be attributed to the massive impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on professional sport. The 2019/20 NHL season was suspended in March 2020, before being restarted in a modified playoff round in August 2020. Unsurprisingly, average revenues per team also took a hit during this pandemic-affected season, with the average revenue standing at just over 140 million U.S. dollars per team in that season.

NHL's biggest franchises

The New York Rangers were the highest grossing team in the NHL during the 2019/20 season, recording revenues of 225 million U.S. dollars. The Rangers are also the most valuable franchise in the league, with an estimated value of 1.65 billion U.S. dollars in 2020. Only four other teams besides the Rangers have a value of one billion U.S. dollars or more - the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Montreal Canadiens, the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Boston Bruins. NHL franchises had a value 653 million U.S. dollars on average in 2020, marking a slight drop on the previous year's figure of 667 million U.S. dollars.

The Stanley Cup

The Stanley Cup is the pinnacle of the NHL season and is the championship trophy awarded to the winners of the league's playoffs. The Montreal Canadiens are the most successful franchise in the league in terms of championships, having won the Stanley Cup 24 times in their history. However, the Canadiens have found success hard to come by in recent years, with their most recent Stanley Cup victory coming back in the 1992/93 season. The most decorated individual player in the NHL is Henri Richard, who won an impressive 11 Stanley Cups during his career with the Canadiens from 1955 to 1975. The average viewership of the championship games has seen a decline in recent years, with an average of 2.43 million viewers in the United States tuning into the Stanley Cup games in 2021.


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