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NHL Original Six Hockey Teams and the Stanley Cup Trophy

Updated on June 23, 2017

NHL Original 6 Ice Hockey Teams

Montreal Canadiens, NY Rangers, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings
Montreal Canadiens, NY Rangers, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings | Source

National Hockey League - NHL Original 6

The National Hockey League (NHL) started in 1917 with six teams (known as the original 6) and has grown to 30 teams through the years. Each year these 30 teams compete for a playoff spot to represent their city in the grand finale of hockey - known as the Stanley Cup. The Stanley Cup dual has the NHL Eastern Conference Champion versus the NHL Western Conference Champion for the best of seven series and is usually great hockey to watch, especially on a high definition television. The ice hockey season runs from September through the Stanley cup playoffs which can last until the middle of June. All of my favorite players and their NHL teams have won the Stanley Cup. Mike Modano (now retired) and the Dallas Stars won in 1999, Patrik Elias and the New Jersey Devils won in 1995, 2000 and 2003, Bobby Clarke and the Philadelphia Flyers won in 1974 and 1975.

The last two new teams to become part of the NHL joined in 2000 while 2011 had the Atlanta Thrashers move from their Georgia home to resurrect the Canada based Winnipeg Jets (who once moved to Phoenix to become the Coyotes). The teams that made up the NHL original 6 (listed in alphabetic order) are the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs. For the year in which each team was founded, their original team name and their last Stanley Cup win, please see the table later in this article.

Original 6 NHL Teams

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The Lord Stanley Cup

The trophy for winning the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs as seen on display in Pennsylvania
The trophy for winning the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs as seen on display in Pennsylvania | Source

The Lord Stanley Cup

The photo of the cup (shown here) was taken while the Stanley cup was on display in a local vocational school located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Some ex Philadelphia Flyers attended the cup display to speak with the attendees and sign autographs.

The Philadelphia Flyers won the Stanley Cup in 1974 and 1975. In 1974 the Flyers defeated the Boston Bruins in six games for their first Stanley Cup win. The 1975 Flyers defeated the Buffalo Sabres also in six games to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.

The 2013 Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks competed in the Stanley Cup final - first time in years that two original six teams have played for the cup.

NHL 30 Teams by Inaugural Season and Last Cup Win

Prior Team
Last Cup Win
2011 Winnipeg Jets
1999 Atlanta Thrashers
2000 Columbus Bluejackets
2000 Minnesota Wild
1999 Atlanta Thrashers
1998 Nashville Predators
1993 Anaheim Mighty Ducks
1993 Florida Panthers
1992 Ottawa Senators
1992 Tampa Bay Lightning
1991 San Jose Sharks
1997 Carolina Hurricanes
1979 Hartford Whalers
1979 Edmonton Oilers
1996 Phoenix Coyotes
1976 Winnipeg Jets
1982 New Jersey Devils
1976 Colarado Rockies
1974 Kansas City Scouts
1974 Washington Capitals
1980 Calgary Flames
1972 Altanta Flames
1995 Colorado Avalanche
1972 Quebec Nordiques
1972 New York Islanders
1970 Buffalo Sabres
1970 Vancouver Canucks
1993 Dallas Stars
1967 Minnesota North Stars
1967 Los Angeles Kings
2012, 2014
1967 Philadelphia Flyers
1967 Pittsburgh Penguins
2009, 2016, 2017
1967 St. Louis Blues
1926 Chicago Blackhawks
2010, 2013, 2015
1926 Detroit Red Wings
1930 Detroit Falcons
1926 Detroit Cougars
1926 New York Rangers
1924 Boston Bruins
1917 Montreal Canadiens
1917 Toronto Maple Leafs
1919 Toronto St. Patricks
1917 Toronto Arenas
2005 was a strike season and no team played for the cup that season. The 2013 Stanley cup between Bruins and Blackhawks were the first time since the 70's that two of the original six met in a final

Where Are They Now ?

Before an ice hockey player can reach the Stanley Cup final they must belong to the NHL. Their career can be of many years or a few months but they must be skilled enough and capable to compete against the best professional ice hockey players in the world. The history of the Stanley Cup is as incredible as the longevity of the teams that have been fortunate enough to reach the final.

The NHL, as I stated previously, currently has 30 teams (7 from Canada and 23 from the United States). The Montreal Canadiens currently lead all teams with the most Stanley Cup titles followed by the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings - to name the top three. Of the teams that now exist in the NHL there are some that could not sustain longevity and have disseminated. The following 20 teams that have become defunct or have relocated to another city.

  1. The Montreal Wanderers folded in 1919 due to lack of players
  2. Quebec Athletic Club relocated to become the Hamilton Tigers
  3. The Hamilton Tigers folded in 1925
  4. The Pittsburgh Pirates relocated and became the the Philadelphia Quakers
  5. The Philadelphia Quakers folded in 1931 due to the depression
  6. The Ottawa Senators relocated to become the St. Louis Eagles
  7. The St Louis Eagles folded in 1935 due to the depression
  8. The Montreal Maroons folded in 1938 due to the depression
  9. The Brooklyn Americans folded in 1942
  10. The Oakland Seals relocated to become the Cleveland Barons
  11. The Kansas City Scouts relocated to become the Colorado Rockies in 1976
  12. The Cleveland Barons merged with the the Minnesota North Stars in 1978
  13. The Atlanta Flames relocated to become the the Calgary Flames in 1980
  14. The Colorado Rockies relocated to become the New Jersey Devils in 1985
  15. The Minnesota North Stars relocated to become the Dallas Stars 1993
  16. The Quebec Nordiques relocated to become the Colorado Avalanche in 1995
  17. The Winnipeg Jets relocated to become the Phoenix Coyotes in 1996
  18. The Hartford Whalers relocated to become the Carolina Hurricanes in 1997
  19. The Atlanta Thrashers relocated to become the Winnipeg Jets in 2011
  20. The NHL retired number 99 from every NHL team

It is not only extremely difficult for a player to reach the NHL but it is also difficult for a team to remain in the NHL, as you can see from the list above. Listed below is the typical path to the NHL and shows hows long a journey can be.

NHL Hall of Fame - Toronto, Canada

A markerToronto, Canada -
Toronto, ON, Canada
get directions

The Path to the NHL (top 15)

  1. Atoms
  2. Mights
  3. Squirts
  4. Pee-Wees*
  5. Bantams*
  6. High School Junior Varsity*
  7. Travel Ice Hockey (Midget 16U)*
  8. High School Varsity*
  9. Travel Ice Hockey (Midget 18U)*
  10. Junior Hockey
  11. College Ice Hockey (ACHL)*
  12. College Ice Hockey Frozen Four (NCAA in US, CIS in Canada)
  13. ECHL - AA Hockey League - The Kelly Cup
  14. AHL - AAA Hockey League- The Calder Cup
  15. NHL - National Hockey League - The Stanley Cup

* - Been there - done that

Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers won the Stanley Cup in the 1973 - 1974 and 1974 - 1975 seasons.

Philadelphia Flyers ex Players

#10 Bill Clement
#10 Bill Clement | Source
Bob Kelly
Bob Kelly
#26 Brian Propp
#26 Brian Propp | Source
#20 Jim Watson
#20 Jim Watson | Source

The Retired Players

In addition to having the opportunity to see the Stanley Cup (on display), we also met and spoke to the following retired Philadelphia players. These pictures were taken while the cup was on display in Bucks County Pennsylvania.

Bill Clement (shown in the first picture) - played on the 1974 and 1975 Stanley Cup championship teams and wore number 10 for the Flyers.

Bob "Houndog" Kelly (shown in the second picture) - An aggressive players who helped the Flyers win two Stanley Cups in the 70's.

Brian Propp (shown in the third picture) - Although Brian did not play for either 1974 or 1975 Flyer championship teams, he is in the Flyers hall of fame. Brian holds the team records for 7 shorthand goals and 55 game wining goals.

Jim Watson (shown in the last picture) - Wore number 20 for the 1974 and 1975 Stanley Cup championship teams. Jim, a five time all star, and his brother Joe (number 14) played for the Flyers for several seasons.

I was not a Flyer fan when these men played but anyone that played professional ice hockey is worthy of my attention.

© 2012 mts1098


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    • mts1098 profile image

      mts1098 5 years ago from InsideTheManCave

      Hey beth...I knew you could not be from canada and not love hockey...I watched the game growing up in the 80s and started following it after I moved to pa...maybe I will see you at a game ) ...cheers and thanks

    • Beth100 profile image

      Beth100 5 years ago from Canada

      A walk down memory lane! Life was much easier with the original 6! Needless to say - I'm a diehard Habs fan. But then, came along the Flames. :) Love them to death! First season was in the Corral, a tiny and socialable rink. I had season tickets and when we moved to the Saddledome, I contintued to attend the games. You have to LOVE hockey to go out in -30 weather to watch these guys play. ha ha I remember winning the Cup in '89.

      You gotta love the game!! :)