100 years is a huge time for most human endeavors. On December 19, 1917, the first match in the history of the National Hockey League was played, in which "Ottawa" lost to "Montreal". A few days ago, the NHL solemnly celebrated this event with its "Centennial Classics", but one century ago neither the hockey players nor the organizers of the game could even imagine, in the wildest dreams, what the league would look like after a hundred years.
The National Hockey League was formed in late November 1917, becoming the successor of the National Hockey Association (NHA). Reasons for changing the name and reorganization of the economy were the same as those of the current disputes and lockouts, that is, purely business and commercial: the owner of the club from Toronto, Eddie Livingston, quarreled with the rest of the members of the NHA who decided to create a new league, but without it.
November 26, it was announced the creation of the NHL, and the initial rules and principles of the league were very little. All organizational moments were copied by the NHA, Frank Calder was appointed president and secretary (later he would be called the best newcomer by his name), and there were only four participating teams: Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators and a hockey club from Toronto, the former owner of which tried to sue the new organization because of the conflict with the rental of the stadium and the reluctance of the other participants to share their income.
The first half of the debut season was won by the Montreal Canadiens, which won 10 games in 14 games, and Toronto became the winner of the second part, but the participants and matches unexpectedly became smaller. The home ice rink burned at the Montreal Wanderers, and three teams had to finish the season. Between the "Canadiens" and "Toronto" was held the champion series of the playoffs, the rules of which were then very similar to the current football European cups: the winner was determined by the difference of goals on the basis of home and guest matches.
Toronto won 7-3 at home and lost 3-4 at home, which gave the team from the Ontario coast the right to be called the NHL Champion and the O'Brien Cup winner, the main trophy of the collapsed NHA. However, the fans of "Montreal" still do not agree with this and believe that the last full owner of "O'Brien Trophy" was precise "Canadians", since the NHA in 1918 has already ceased to exist. 40 years later, this prize will return to the NHL for a short time as a trophy for the winners of one of the divisions.
That "Toronto" often appears in the statistics as "Toronto Arenas", but in fact then this name was not used. Moreover, the club from this city was considered temporary, as a transitional stage from the "Toronto Bluesherts" (it was owned by the disgraced Livingston) to a new collective, which later became really called "arenas", then "holy patricks", and then habitual " maple leaves ".
However, there was still the main final - the battle for the Stanley Cup, which then did not belong to the NHL. In order to get the Silver Cup, the champion of the new league was to fight the champion of the Pacific Hockey Association (PCHA), the Vancouver Millionaires team. The series was organized up to three wins, but the matches contained a lot of wonderful nuances.
The rules in the two leagues were different, and it was this difference that became the key to determining the final winner. In particular, the rules of the Pacific Association allowed the transfer of the puck forward, and on the ice, each team had seven people. In the NHL, a pass was forwarded later, and played by traditional six - five field and one goalkeeper.
The rules by which the finals were held alternated through the match and each club won those meetings where the conditions were familiar to him. "Toronto" won the series with a score of 3-2 and became the first owner of the Stanley Cup in the history of the NHL. True, the engraving on the cup was then not made due to disagreements all with the same owner of the club, and only in 1948 there appeared the inscription "Toronto Arenas" -1918 ", disputes about the justice of which do not cease until now.