NHL Evolution and Expansion

NHL Evolution and Expansion

1967-1992: The Age of NHL Evolution and Expansion

In 1963, Rangers Governor William Jennings presented peers with the idea of expanding the league to the American West Coast by adding two new teams for the 1964-65 season. While the governors did not agree with the proposal, the topic of expansion appeared every time the owners met since. In 1965, it was decided to expand by six teams, doubling the size of the NHL which was the beginning of NHL Evolution and Expansion. In February 1966, the governors met and decided to award concessions to Los Angeles, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Oakland and St. Louis. The league rejected offers from Baltimore, Buffalo and Vancouver. In Canada, there was widespread anger over the refusal to expand Vancouver in 1967. Three years later, the NHL granted a franchise to Vancouver, which previously played in the Western Hockey League, for the 1970-71 season, along with Buffalo Saber.

On 13 January 1968, North Stars star rookie Bill Masterton became the first, So far, the only player to die as a result of injuries sustained during the NHL game. early in the game against Auckland, Masterton was heavily examined by players causing his heart to reverse and land on his head. Masterton was hospitalized with serious head injuries. and died there two days later. The National Hockey League Writers’ Association presented the league with the Bill Masterton Memorial Cup later in the season. After Masterton’s death, Players slowly began wearing helmets, and started in the 1979-80 season, the league commissioned all players entering the league to wear them.

In the 1968-69 season, third-year defender Bobby Orr scored 21 goals to set an NHL record for goals scored by a defenseman en route to winning his first eight straight Norris Awards as the league’s top defensive player. At the same time, Orr’s teammate, Phil Esposito, became the first player in league history to score 100 points in a season He finished with 126 points. He created Orr, a talented goalscorer. a revolution in the influence of defenders on the offensive part of the game, He began judging blue-line players for how well they made goals as well as how they prevented them. Orr won twice in the Ross Art Cup as the NHL’s top scorer. has had chronic knee problems throughout his career. He played 12 seasons in the NHL before injuries forced him to retire in 1978. Orr finished with 270 goals and 915 points in 657 games, winning the Hart Memorial Cup as the league’s three-time MVP.

For the 1970-71 NHL season, two new teams, the Pavlo Saber and the Vancouver Canucks debuted and were placed in the Eastern Division. The Chicago Blackhawks were moved to the West Division. The Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup by beating the Blackhawks in seven finals games.

The 1970s were associated with aggressive and often violent play. Known as “bullies on a wide street”, the Philadelphia Flyers are the most famous example of this mentality. The Flyers created league records for minutes punishment -Dave “Hammer” Schultz’s total of 472 inches 1974-75 the league record remains. Seized the Stanley Cup 1974, becoming the first expansion team to win the league championship.

Competition & Integration WHA

In 1972, the NHL Evolution and expansion faced competition from the newly formed team the World Hockey Association (WHA). The World Health Assembly attracted many players away from the NHL. The World Health Assembly’s biggest coup was the temptation for Bobby Hull of the Black Hawks to play in Winnipeg Gates. He signed a $2.75 million contract and brought immediate credibility to the new league. After Hull’s signing, many other players quickly followed suit and the NHL suddenly found itself in a war for talent. By the time 1972-73 WHA season began, 67 players had switched from NHL to WHA. Initially, the league had no intention of expanding the past 14 teams, but the threat posed by the World Health Assembly caused the league to change its plans. The league hastily announced the creation of the New York Islanders and Atlanta Flames as the 1972 expansion teams. After the 1972-73 season, the NHL announced that it would be expanded to 18 teams for the 1974-75 season hosts Kansas City Scouts and Washington Capitals. In just eight years, the NHL has tripled to 18 teams.

By 1976, both federations were dealing with serious financial problems. The St. Louis Blues family was on the verge of bankruptcy. Talk of a merger between the NHL and WHA was increasing. In 1976, for the first time in four decades, the NHL agreed to transfer the franchise; Scouts moved only two years later in Kansas City to Denver to become the Colorado Rockies, while California’s golden seals became the Cleveland Barons. Two years later, after failed openings about merging barons with Washington and Vancouver, the Baron merged with the Minnesota North Stars, reducing the NHL to 17 teams. 1978–79.

Moving towards a merger picked up in 1977 when John Ziegler succeeded Clarence Campbell as ice hockey president. WHA folded after the 1978-79 season, while Edmonton Oilers, Hartford Wheelers, Quebec Nordic and Winnipeg Gates joined the NHL as expansion teams, bringing the league to 21 teams, until 1991. The merger brought Gordie Howe to the NHL for one final season in 1979-80, bringing his NHL career total to 801 goals and 1850 points. Attendance averaged only 9800 fans and lost more than $ 2 million. Sold for a record $ 16 million, it was moved north to become the Calgary Flames in 1980-81. Two years later, the Rockies sold for $ 30 million, leaving Denver to become the New Jersey devils for the 1982-83 season.

Fall of the Iron Curtain

The NHL first participated in international play in the mid-1970s, starting with the summit series in 1972 in which it pitted the best Canadian players in the NHL against the best players in the Soviet Union. With an eight-match streak tied with three wins apiece and a draw, Paul Henderson grabbed a rebound and put it past Soviet goalkeeper Vladislav Tretiak with 34 seconds left in the eighth and final game to score the winning goal.

While European-born players have been part of the NHL since its inception NHL “, it was still rare to see them in the NHL until 1980, Although WHA employed a number of them.  Borg Salming was the first European star in the NHL and Finns Gary Currie and Issa Tekanen helped lead the Oilers dynasty in the 1980s. The World Health Assembly opened the door The players slowly joined the NHL, but those behind them the Iron Curtain prevented them from following suit. In 1980, Peter Stastenio, his wife and brother Anton, secretly escaped Czechoslovakia with the help of Nordiques owner Marcel Obot. The Stastney family’s defection made global headlines, contributing to the first wave of Europeans entering the NHL. In the hope that they would one day be allowed to play in the NHL, teams drafted Soviet players in the 1980s, 27 players in 1988; However, defection was the only way these players could play in the NHL. Shortly before the end of 1988-89 regular seasonFlames general manager Cliff Fletcher announced that he had reached an agreement with Soviet authorities allowing Sergei Briakhin to play in North America. It was the first time a Soviet national team member had been allowed to leave the Soviet Union. Shortly after, Soviet players began flocking to the NHL. Teams predicted that there would be an influx of Soviet players in the 1990s, as a Soviet 18 was selected in the 1989 of the NHL entry project to the NHL Evolution and expansion.

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