How Many NHL Teams Are in Canada

When it comes to professional ice hockey, Canada has a rich and storied history. The National Hockey League (NHL), considered the premier professional hockey league in the world, has a significant presence in Canada. This article explores the number of NHL teams currently located in Canada and provides insights into the historical significance of the NHL in the country.

History of the NHL in Canada

Early Years of the NHL in Canada

The NHL traces its roots back to the early 20th century when it was founded in Montreal, Canada, on November 26, 1917. At that time, the league consisted of four teams, including the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators, and Toronto Arenas (later renamed the Toronto Maple Leafs). The establishment of the NHL marked a crucial moment in the development of professional hockey in Canada.

Expansion of NHL Teams in Canada

Over the years, the NHL expanded its reach, both in the United States and Canada. While the league witnessed the emergence of several American teams, the presence of Canadian teams remained integral to the league’s identity. Expansion teams like the Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and Vancouver Canucks further solidified Canada’s significance in the NHL.

Current NHL Teams in Canada

Canada is currently home to seven NHL teams, each representing a different city and region.

Toronto Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs, founded in 1917, are one of the oldest and most iconic teams in the NHL. Based in Toronto, Ontario, the Maple Leafs boast a passionate fan base and a rich history. They have won the Stanley Cup 13 times, making them one of the most successful franchises in the league.

Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens, established in 1909, are another storied franchise in the NHL. Hailing from Montreal, Quebec, the Canadiens have a remarkable record, winning the Stanley Cup a record 24 times. They have a fierce rivalry with the Toronto Maple Leafs, which adds excitement to their matchups.

Ottawa Senators

The Ottawa Senators, founded in 1992, are based in Ottawa, Ontario. While the team shares its name with an earlier franchise that existed from 1917 to 1934, the current Senators were reestablished as an expansion team. Although they haven’t won the Stanley Cup, the Senators have a dedicated fan base.

Winnipeg Jets

The Winnipeg Jets returned to the NHL in 2011, after a previous incarnation of the team relocated to Arizona in 1996. The team is based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and has been embraced by the passionate hockey community in the region. The Jets’ resurgence has rekindled the enthusiasm for NHL hockey in the city.

Calgary Flames

The Calgary Flames were originally known as the Atlanta Flames and relocated to Calgary, Alberta, in 1980. The Flames have achieved success in the NHL, winning the Stanley Cup in 1989. The team enjoys a loyal fan base and contributes to the vibrant hockey culture in Calgary.

Edmonton Oilers

The Edmonton Oilers, founded in 1971, have a rich history, largely driven by the presence of legendary players like Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier. Based in Edmonton, Alberta, the Oilers have won the Stanley Cup five times, establishing themselves as a prominent force in the league.

Vancouver Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks, established in 1970, represent the city of Vancouver, British Columbia. Although the team has yet to win the Stanley Cup, they have had several strong seasons and have a passionate fan base. The Canucks’ games are known for their electrifying atmosphere at Rogers Arena.

Importance of NHL in Canada

The NHL’s presence in Canada extends beyond the sport itself. Hockey is deeply ingrained in Canadian culture, and the league serves as a unifying force for communities across the country. NHL games bring people together, fostering a sense of camaraderie and national pride. The success of Canadian teams contributes to the overall excitement and pride Canadians feel for the sport of hockey.


Canada has a significant number of NHL teams, each with its own unique history and dedicated fan base. The seven teams in Canada, including the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and Vancouver Canucks, contribute to the vibrant hockey culture in the country. The NHL’s presence in Canada is not just about the sport but also about the shared passion and sense of identity it brings to the nation.


  1. Are all NHL teams in Canada based in major cities? No, while some NHL teams in Canada are based in major cities like Toronto and Montreal, others are located in smaller cities like Winnipeg and Calgary.
  2. Which Canadian NHL team has the most Stanley Cup wins? The Montreal Canadiens hold the record for the most Stanley Cup wins among Canadian teams, with 24 championships to their name.
  3. Do all NHL teams in Canada have heated rivalries? While many Canadian NHL teams have heated rivalries with each other, not all teams have intense rivalries. Some rivalries are more historically significant, like the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens.
  4. Do NHL teams in Canada play against American teams? Yes, NHL teams in Canada regularly compete against teams from the United States as part of the league’s schedule.
  5. How do NHL teams in Canada contribute to their local communities? NHL teams in Canada often engage in community initiatives, including charity work, youth development programs, and promoting the growth of hockey at grassroots levels. These initiatives help strengthen the bond between the teams and their local communities.

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