Happy 92nd birthday goes out to the National Hockey League.
On this date the NHL's very first game happened in front of 700 spectators in Toronto as the hometown Arenas dropped a 10-9 game to the Montreal Wanderers. Montreal's Dave Ritchie scored the first goal in NHL history, while Harry Hyland notched the first hat trick, registering 4 goals in the game. It would be the Wanderers only victory in NHL competition.
Later that same evening the Montreal's other team, les Canadiens, defeated the Ottawa Senators by a score of 7-4. The Habs would go on to win the NHL championship trophy - no, not the Stanley Cup, but the O'Brien Cup, held over from the NHA days. The Stanley Cup remained league neutral until 1926. As such, the O'Brien Cup champions had to face a champion from the west. In this case it was the victorious Seattle Metropolitans of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, becoming the first American based team to win the Stanley Cup.
So much has changed in the NHL and in hockey at large since this date 92 years ago. From 700 spectators to a annual revenue stream of nearly $2.5 billion dollars, the NHL has come a long way in many ways.
But I still think Stafford Smythe's quote sums up the biggest similarity between today's game and the game of 92 years ago and even older than that:
"Hockey must be a great sport to have survived the people who run it."
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