National Hockey League

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The National Hockey League (NHL) is a professional hockey league with teams across Canada and the United States. Comprised of 31 teams, divided into two Conferences (Eastern and Western) and four Divisions each (Atlantic and Metropolitan in the East and Central and Pacific in the West), the NHL teams play for their top championship, the Stanley Cup. The teams play 82 game seasons, and the top 16 teams (three top teams from each division plus two wild-card teams from each conference) from the regular season advance to a playoff phase where a best of seven series are played between the seeded teams. However, unlike the NBA (where the playoff brackets are fixed), after the first round the teams are re-seeded; the highest-remaining seed in each conference will play the lowest-remaining seed, and the other two remaining teams play each other.

Canadian and American players make up the majority of the players in the NHL, however many skilled players have been brought into the league from Europe, making it a premier place for playing hockey. The large number of Canadian players and the large support for the sport of hockey make the NHL a popular draw in Canada, with playoff hockey actually drawing more viewers in Canada than in the United States.

The NHL is mostly popular in the upper United States, Canada, and European countries that speak Germanic and Slavic languages.

On December 4, 2018, the NHL announced the approval of a proposed expansion to Seattle, Washington for the 2021-22 NHL season[1] which would be the 32nd team.

List of Teams

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division
Metropolitan Division

Western Conference

Central Division
Pacific Division


  1. Seattle NHL expansion approved by Board of Governors at