10 Fascinating NHL Fun Facts You Probably Didn't Know

April 22, 2024

With the 2024 NHL Playoffs just around the corner, we figured this might be a great time to drop some fun facts about the league while we wait for the action to begin. Ice hockey, with its breakneck speed and bone-jarring hits, has hooked sports fans for generations. At the heart of professional ice hockey is the National Hockey League (NHL), a league rich in history and tradition. But beyond the goals and the glory, there are plenty of intriguing tidbits that make the NHL even more fascinating.

Here are 10 fun facts that might just surprise you:

NHL’s Original Six:

When people refer to the "Original Six" NHL teams, they're talking about the six teams that comprised the league from 1942 to 1967: the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Blackhawks, and New York Rangers. These teams are the bedrock of NHL history and still hold a special place in the hearts of many fans.


The Stanley Cup’s Surprising Beginnings

Lord Stanley of Preston, the Governor General of Canada, donated the Stanley Cup in 1892 as an award for Canada's top-ranking amateur ice hockey club. It wasn't until 1926 that the Cup became the trophy for the NHL champion.


Wayne Gretzky's Records

Known as "The Great One," Wayne Gretzky holds an astonishing 61 NHL records, including most career goals (894) and most career points (2,857). His dominance on the ice is unparalleled and solidifies his status as one of the greatest athletes of all time.


The "Original" Zamboni

The Zamboni ice resurfacer, a staple of every NHL game, was invented by Frank Zamboni in 1949. Before the Zamboni, ice resurfacing was done manually with shovels and squeegees, making for a much longer and labor-intensive process.


The Fastest Hat Trick

Bill Mosienko of the Chicago Blackhawks holds the record for the fastest hat trick in NHL history, scoring three goals in just 21 seconds against the New York Rangers on March 23, 1952. Talk about lighting up the scoreboard in a hurry!


The Goalie Who Scored

On December 8, 1987, Ron Hextall, goaltender for the Philadelphia Flyers, became the first NHL goalie to score a goal by shooting the puck into the opponent's net. His historic feat added an extra layer of excitement to the game.


The Only Player to Captain Two NHL Teams to Stanley Cup Victories

Mark Messier is the only player in NHL history to captain two different teams to Stanley Cup championships—the Edmonton Oilers in 1990 and the New York Rangers in 1994. His leadership and skill left an indelible mark on both franchises.


Longest Game in NHL History

The longest game in NHL history took place on March 24, 1936, between the Detroit Red Wings and the Montreal Maroons. The game lasted a staggering 176 minutes and 30 seconds of play time (including six overtime periods) before Mud Bruneteau scored the game-winning goal for Detroit.


The Mystery of the Missing Puck

In the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers, a puck that was shot by Patrick Kane in overtime to win the Cup went missing for several minutes. It was eventually found stuck in the padding of the net, leading to a moment of confusion and disbelief among players and fans alike.


The Birth of the "Gordie Howe Hat Trick"

A Gordie Howe Hat Trick occurs when a player records a goal, an assist, and a fight in the same game. It's named after the legendary Gordie Howe, known for his scoring prowess and physical play. Howe's well-rounded skills epitomize the grit and determination of NHL hockey.


From legendary players to unforgettable moments, the NHL continues to draw fans around the world with its unique combination of skill, speed, and passion for the game. Whether you're a die-hard fan or a casual observer, there's always something new to discover and appreciate in the world of professional hockey.


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