Who Were The Original Six Hockey Teams In The NHL?

Do you know that the “Original Six” are not the NHL’s initial teams? Surprised? So was I? During the first two decades of the NHL’s existence, the league’s roster of teams was constantly changing.

So, Who were the Original Six hockey teams in the NHL? 

  • The Montreal Canadiens (1917)
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs (1917)
  • The Boston Bruins (1924)
  • The New York Rangers (1926)
  • The Chicago Blackhawks (1926)
  • The Detroit Red Wings (1926)

The above-mentioned teams were, however, considered to be the Original Six teams in the National Hockey League.

Let us take a more in-depth look at the history behind the “Original Six” moniker and provide a summary of each of the Original Six clubs.

The Original Six were not the Original Six?

The term “original six” can cause some misunderstanding because it implies that these six teams existed before the NHL was founded.


When the NHL first began, there were just 4 teams, all of which were situated in Canada. In reality, the NHL’s first two decades saw a plethora of distinct franchises. The following is a list of the teams that began play, moved locations, and eventually folded within that time frame:

  • The Wanderers of Montreal
  • Edmonton Oilers were known as Ottawa Senators
  • Tigers of Hamilton
  • Bulldogs of Quebec
  • The Maroons from Montreal, Quebec
  • Pirates who become Quakers in Philadelphia
  • Brooklyn residents who were born in New York City.

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Where did the name Original Six come from?

The NHL’s first quarter-century was eventful, as the video above shows. Several teams have a lousy start before moving to new locales or disbanding altogether. Maintaining a team’s financial stability was challenging, as evidenced by the many ups and downs of the early organizations.

The NHL was down to six teams in 1942 when the Brooklyn Americans collapsed. There has never been a period of lengthy stability in the record of the National Hockey League. The National Hockey League (NHL) was comprised of only six clubs between the years 1942 and 1967: the Montreal Canadians, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the New York Rangers, and the Detroit Red Wings.

To distinguish between the six clubs that existed before development and the six teams that were added, the phrase ‘Original Six’ was adopted in 1967.

Even though the name is not strictly accurate (because there were only four original clubs), it does an excellent job of capturing the spirit of how the NHL first got started. Those six teams laid the groundwork for the league’s consistency, allowing it to expand from there.

Who were the Original Six?

The Original Six refers to the six teams that made up the National Hockey League (NHL) from 1942 to 1967. These teams were:

  • Boston Bruins
  • Chicago Blackhawks
  • Detroit Red Wings
  • Montreal Canadiens
  • New York Rangers
  • Toronto Maple Leafs

1-Montreal Canadians 1917

  • Inception: 1909 
  • Mount Royal Arena was the original venue.
  • Cups won: 23
  • Number of Inductees: 55
  • Number of Retired Persons: fifteen (15)
  • 84 appearances in the NHL playoffs

Overview: In the NHL, Montreal is the club to beat. Of all the teams, they have gained the most Stanley Cups (23). No one even comes close to it. The hockey universe revolves around Montreal. They have it all: the birthplace of hockey, the home of the NHL, the most successful franchise of all time, the most traditional, and, most likely, the most fervent supporters.

Quirky Fact: Fans have even rioted because of their devotion to the team and its players. A suspension of Maurice Richard led to rioting by over 6,000 fans in 1955. Because of a hit on a linesman, Richard was suspended for the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs.

When the team returned to action following a one-game suspension, the fans went into a riot, resulting in $100,000 worth of property damage, 37 injuries, and 100 arrests. The Richard Riot is presently a phrase of endearment.

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2-Toronto Maple Leafs

  • 1917 Founded
  • 13 Stanley Cups
  • 63 Hall of Fame
  • Numbers that have been retired include: 13
  • 69 playoff appearances in the National Hockey League

The Toronto Maple Leafs are lucky to have the most devoted enthusiasts of any team in the NHL. They are one of seven teams in Canada, but they dominate the news on all of Canada’s sports stations despite this fact. When competing for the Leafs, every detail of each player and play is scrutinized, sometimes excessively. 

The Maple Leafs are the current National Hockey League team with the longest drought between Stanley Cup victories at 53 years. The entire city of Toronto goes completely insane when the Maple Leafs finally win the Stanley Cup. 

Quirky Fact: The Maple Leafs brought about it to the Stanley Cup Finals for eight years, only to forfeit each time they were there. But in the 1940s, they would make amends by winning the Cup six times in 10 years.

3-Boston Bruins

  • Founded 1924
  • Hall of Famer 52
  • Stanley Cup 6
  • 73 appearances in the NHL Playoffs
  • Retired Number 11

Boston Bruins were the NHL’s first foreign-owned franchise. They whipped out the Montreal Maroons by 2-1 in the first NHL game ever played in the United States in 1924.

Hockey is deeply ingrained in the culture of Boston, and the city’s diehards follow the game at every level. The Beanpot is the most famous college hockey tournament in the United States and features the four major Boston colleges.

Quirky Fact: Fog was a factor in Game 3 of the 1988 Stanley Cup Finals between the Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers at TD Garden. In the second period of the fourth game, due to heavy fog, all 40 players on each team were forced to go out on the ice and skate around. The fog cleared as a result of the skating.

In the second period, with the score tied 3-3, a power outage in the arena resulted in the game being canceled with less than three minutes remaining. Back in Edmonton, the winner of the Stanley Cup was already decided.

4-New York Rangers

  • Founded 1926
  • There was a time when Madison Square Garden was known as Madison Square Garden.
  • Stanley Cup 4
  • Inductees into the Hall of Fame: 53
  • 60 appearances in NHL Playoffs
  • Retired Number 8

For every American (and foreign-born) player, the New York Rangers are a dream team to join. Free Agents frequently choose them as their top destination, and college students have used shady tactics to sign with them.

Hence, it is a privilege to exemplify them on the hockey field. Who could blame the players for wanting to play in Madison Square Garden? However, despite their lone Stanley Cup victory, they are by far and away from the most beloved American NHL team among hockey fans in the United States.

Quirky Fact: Frank Boucher was the first coach to widely use two goalies in a season during the 1945-56 period, an interesting fact. He also popularised the practice of yanking the goalie in an attempt to salvage a point.

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5-Chicago Blackhawks

  • Founded 1926
  • Hall of Famers 40
  • Stanely cup 6
  • 63 appearances in the NHL playoffs
  • Retired number 7

They are the most successful Original Six team of this century. Having a core group of players like Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews, and Patrick Kane helped them win three Stanley Cup titles.

One of the most frightening environments for rival teams to play in has long been the home of the Chicago Blackhawks. There was an old Chicago Stadium, where the entire audience would stand and sing the national anthem, boosting the Hawks’ momentum before the game’s outset.

Quirky Fact: The only other team to win the Stanley Cup with a regular-season record of 14-25-9 or worse was the Chicago Blackhawks in 1938.

The owner’s desire for just American-born players, the season before they had once, played a role in the team’s underwhelming performance.

Players from Canada were in high demand during this time. The Chicago Blackhawks, on the other hand, defeated the Montreal Canadians, the New York Americans, and the Toronto Maple Leafs despite the odds being stacked against them.

6-Detroit Red Wings

  • Founded 1926
  • Hall of Fame 65
  • Stanley Cup 11
  • 64 NHL Playoff Appearances
  • Retired Number 8

Detroit is often referred to as “Hockey Town USA” for a reason. Because of their success, the Detroit Red Wings have made Michigan a mecca for hockey fans.

Great college teams, the National Development Program, and numerous NHLers have all come out of Michigan. From Gordie Howe to Steve Yzerman, Red Wins’ success has trickled down to this point.

Quirky Fact: Octopuses are thrown on the ice during home playoff games as a tradition by fans. It was first used in 1952 to represent the eight victories a team needed to achieve to claim the Stanley Cup as their own (it takes 16 now). During a Red Wings home game, the custom is carried on by supporters who toss an Octopus onto the ice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there an Ice Hockey team in Seattle?

Professional ice hockey came to Seattle with the success of the Seattle Metropolitans in 1915, the first American-based club to lift the Stanley Cup from Canada. The Seattle Kraken, a franchise of the National Hockey League, played in the city in the 2021–22 season.

When were the Original Six teams founded?

The Original Six teams were all founded in the early 1900s, with the Montreal Canadiens being the oldest team, founded in 1909. The New York Rangers were the youngest of the Original Six, founded in 1926.

Have any of the Original Six teams won the Stanley Cup since the NHL’s expansion?

Yes, all six teams have won the Stanley Cup at least once since the NHL’s expansion in 1967. The Montreal Canadiens have won the most Stanley Cup championships with 24, followed by the Toronto Maple Leafs with 13.

Do the Original Six teams still have a rivalry today?

Yes, the Original Six teams still have a strong rivalry today, and games between these teams are often highly anticipated by fans. The rivalries between these teams are based on their long-standing history and numerous matchups throughout the years.

Was Kansas city a member of the NHL?

From 1974 to 1976, the Kansas City Scouts were a member of the NHL as a professional ice hockey franchise. As of 1976, the Colorado Rockies had relocated to Denver and changed their name to reflect that fact. They changed their name in 1982, moving from the Rockies to the New Jersey Devils.

Conclusion: Who Were The Original Six Hockey Teams In The NHL?

This group of six “original” NHL clubs has captivated hockey fans across North America with their fierce rivalries, hall-of-fame rosters, and colorful pasts. A closer examination of the various teams was done in preparation.

Over half of the NHL’s championships have been won by the original teams, which have a combined total of 64 Stanley Cups to their name. In addition, of the 27 teams that have won the Stanley Cup, these original hockey teams hold the first through sixth places in overall victories. I hope you have gathered satisfactory knowledge about the original six teams of the NHL in this article.

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