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Canadian Hockey Teams: A Complete Guide

Canadian Hockey Teams

Canada has a rich history and significance in the National Hockey League (NHL).

It is home to 7 NHL teams, a sizable number considering California, a state with a larger population has only 3.

Overview of the National Hockey League (NHL)

The NHL began in 1917. It is the oldest pro sports group in North America. At first, six teams played. They were all from Canada. Now, eight teams from each side make it to the playoffs each time.

This kind of playoff is not seen often. The Winnipeg Jets came into the NHL in 1979. But before that, they played in a different league called the World Hockey Association.

Entry Draft

Every June, the NHL Entry Draft happens. It’s a big event where teams pick players to join them. The order of who picks first is set by how well teams did during the season. If a team doesn’t do well, they get to choose first.

Canadian hockey teams take part in this draft too. Teams like the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and Vancouver Canucks all join in. Through this draft, these Canadian NHL teams can add new young talent to their rosters and become even better!

Canadian NHL Teams

There are currently seven Canadian NHL teams, each with their own unique history and accomplishments.

Number of teams

Canada has seven teams in the NHL. The Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs came first. Both teams are very old. Next, the Edmonton Oilers joined in 1979. Then, the Vancouver Canucks became a team in 1970 and the Calgary Flames started playing in 1980.

In more recent years, two more teams were added: The Ottawa Senators joined in 1992, and the Winnipeg Jets started up again in 2011.

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List of teams and their first seasons

TeamFirst Season
Montreal Canadiens1917
Toronto Maple Leafs1917
Vancouver Canucks1970
Edmonton Oilers1979
Calgary Flames1980
Ottawa Senators1992
Winnipeg Jets2011

Each team has had its own unique journey throughout the NHL, building a rich tapestry of Canadian hockey history.

Main Highlights about Each Team

  1. The Montreal Canadiens, established in 1909, have the most Stanley Cup wins in NHL history with 23 championships.
  2. The Toronto Maple Leafs, founded in 1917, have won the Stanley Cup 13 times, but their last victory was in 1967.
  3. The Vancouver Canucks, formed in 1970, have made it to the NHL playoffs 27 times but have not won a Stanley Cup.
  4. The Calgary Flames won the Stanley Cup in 1989 and have made 29 playoff appearances since their founding in 1972.
  5. The Edmonton Oilers won the Stanley Cup five times between 1984 and 1990, with legendary players like Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier.
  6. The Ottawa Senators have never won a Stanley Cup but have made it to the playoffs 16 times since joining the league in 1992.
  7. The Winnipeg Jets returned to Winnipeg as an expansion team in 2011 after moving to Phoenix in 1996. They have yet to win a playoff series.

Canadian NHL Teams Highlights and Current State

Calgary Flames


The Calgary Flames, based in Calgary, Alberta, have a rich history in the NHL. Originally known as the Atlanta Flames, they relocated to Calgary in 1980. The team has had its fair share of success over the years, including winning one Stanley Cup championship. With a dedicated fan base and talented players, the Flames continue to be a force to be reckoned with.

Edmonton Oilers


Located in Edmonton, Alberta, the Edmonton Oilers boast an impressive legacy in the NHL. Led by legendary players like Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier, they have won five Stanley Cup championships throughout their history. The Oilers are known for their fast-paced style of play and passionate fan base. They remain a prominent team in the league today.

Montreal Canadiens


The Montreal Canadiens hold a special place in NHL history as one of the oldest and most successful franchises. With a record 24 Stanley Cup championships under their belt, they have established themselves as hockey legends. The Canadiens’ passionate fan base fills Bell Centre for every home game, creating an electric atmosphere that adds to their storied tradition.

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Ottawa Senators


Based in Ottawa, Ontario, the Ottawa Senators joined the NHL as an expansion team in 1992. While they haven’t yet secured a Stanley Cup victory, they have had periods of success throughout their existence. Ottawa Senators play their home games at the Canadian Tire Centre and continue to strive for that elusive championship title.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs

As one of the original six NHL teams, the Toronto Maple Leafs hold a special place in hockey history. Their large following makes them one of Canada’s most beloved teams. Playing their home games at Scotiabank Arena, the Maple Leafs have a storied past, including winning multiple Stanley Cup championships. However, their last victory came back in 1967, and fans eagerly await another championship season.

Winnipeg Jets


The Winnipeg Jets returned to their home city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 2011 after relocating from Atlanta. Originally part of the World Hockey Association (WHA), they joined the NHL and quickly gained a passionate fan base. The Jets play at Bell MTS Place and continue to make strides in the league with their skilled players and dedicated supporters.

Vancouver Canucks


Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, the Vancouver Canucks have had successful seasons throughout their history. While they haven’t yet won a Stanley Cup championship, they remain a competitive team in the NHL. Rogers Arena is where Canucks fans gather to cheer on their beloved team as they strive for that ultimate victory.

Defunct Canadian NHL Teams

  • The original Ottawa Senators team existed from 1917 – 1934.
  • The Quebec Nordiques existed from 1979 – 1995 and later became the Colorado Avalanche.


  • The Hamilton Tigers existed from 1920 – 1925 and had their players’ contracts sold to the New York Americans.


  • The original Winnipeg Jets team existed from 1972 – 1996 and later became the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes.

Performance and Achievements of Canadian NHL Teams

Canadian NHL teams have had impressive success, including multiple Stanley Cup wins and high divisional standings. In fact, some of the most successful and prestigious players are from Canada.  

Stanley Cup wins

The Canadian NHL have quite a handful of Stanley Cups to their credit. Here’s a brief view:

TeamNumber of Stanley Cup WinsYears Won
Montreal Canadiens241916, 1924, 1930, 1931, 1944, 1946, 1953, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1986, 1993
Toronto Maple Leafs131918, 1922, 1932, 1942, 1945, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1967
Edmonton Oilers51984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990
Calgary Flames11989
Ottawa Senators0N/A
Vancouver Canucks0N/A
Winnipeg Jets0N/A


Notable Players from Canadian NHL Teams

From Wayne Gretzky’s dominance with the Edmonton Oilers to Sidney Crosby’s leadership with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Canadian players have left a lasting impact on ice hockey.

Origin of Players

The Vancouver Canucks boast notable players like Henrik and Daniel Sedin from Sweden, Pavel Bure from Russia, and Trevor Linden from Medicine Hat, Alberta. 

Meanwhile, the Calgary Flames have had stars such as Jarome Iginla from Edmonton, Lanny McDonald from Hanna, Alberta, and Joe Nieuwendyk from Oshawa, Ontario.

The Edmonton Oilers are known for their legendary players including Wayne Gretzky from Brantford, Ontario; Mark Messier from St. Albert’s in Alberta; and more recently Connor McDavid hailing all the way from Richmond Hill in Ontario.

Awards and Achievements

The Canadian NHL teams have achieved many awards in their history. Some notable awards and achievements include:

  1. The Montreal Canadiens have won the most Stanley Cups in NHL history, with 23 championships.
  2. The Edmonton Oilers have won the Stanley Cup five times, in 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, and 1990.
  3. The Calgary Flames have won the Stanley Cup once, in 1989.
  4. The Toronto Maple Leafs have won the Stanley Cup 13 times, but their last victory was in 1967.
  5. The Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators have not yet won a Stanley Cup.
  6. The Montreal Canadiens have the record for the most NHL playoff appearances, with 83.
  7. The Toronto Maple Leafs have made 68 playoff appearances in their history.

Canadian NHL Teams’ Impact on Media and Popularity

Canadian NHL teams have a significant impact on media and popularity, attracting corporate sponsors and extensive media coverage in both Canada and the US. 

Corporate sponsors

Corporate sponsors play a significant role in the media coverage and popularity of Canadian NHL teams. These companies provide financial support to the teams, allowing them to invest in player acquisitions, training facilities, and other resources that help improve their performance on the ice.

Additionally, corporate sponsors often have their logos displayed prominently during games and on team merchandise, increasing their brand exposure. This partnership between corporations and NHL teams helps generate revenue for both parties while also promoting ice hockey to a wider audience.

Media coverage in Canada and the US

Canadian NHL teams receive extensive media coverage in both Canada and the United States. These teams have a significant impact on the popularity of hockey in North America, with games being broadcasted on television and radio, as well as covered extensively by newspapers and online platforms.

Corporate sponsors also play a role in supporting the media coverage of Canadian NHL teams, investing in advertising during games and providing financial support to media outlets. Additionally, these teams gain attention through international competitions like the Olympics, where players from Canadian NHL teams represent their country on a global stage.

International competitions

International competitions provide an exciting opportunity for Canadian NHL players to represent their country on a global stage. 

Players from Canadian teams have been involved in prestigious events like the Winter Olympics, World Cup of Hockey, and Ice Hockey World Championships.

For instance, the Vancouver Canucks gained more popularity after the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs participated in the 2000 and 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

The Montreal Canadiens were part of the 2008 and 2016 Ice Hockey World Championships. Additionally, players from teams like the Ottawa Senators and Calgary Flames have represented Canada in various international competitions like IIHF World Championships and the Olympics.

Entry Fees and Player Costs for Canadian NHL Teams

Canadian NHL teams have significant financial considerations, with entry fees and player costs being among the highest in professional sports.

Average costs for players

The average costs for players on Canadian NHL teams can vary depending on different factors. Team location and market value are some of the things that influence these costs. Among Canadian NHL teams, the Edmonton Oilers have one of the highest average player costs. 

The Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks also have relatively high average player costs compared to other teams. These costs include entry fees and player salaries, which contribute to the overall expenses of running a team in the NHL.

So that’s that…

While some Canadian teams have experienced success with multiple Stanley Cup wins, others are still striving for their first championship. 

I honestly can’t imagine NHL without Canada in it; and quite sure there are many star players in the making from this country.