The National Hockey League

HockeyThe National Hockey League (or NHL) is the largest and most successful North American professional hockey league. The NHL provides Canadians and Americans with the highest caliber and most entertaining hockey on the continent.  

The NHL was created in 1917 by a group of Canadian and American businessmen. Their two central goals were to create a league that provided the most entertaining hockey in North America and generated revenues and profits. This was a somewhat new idea at the time. While there were some for-profit leagues in existence, most were amateur. This meant that players, coaches, and owners of teams were not allowed to make money from playing the game of hockey.  

It took several decades for the NHL to become the most dominant league. In the early days, a few professional or commercial leagues competed with the NHL for the public’s entertainment dollar. Leagues competed vigorously for the best players in order to be successful and attract spectators and fans. While this was beneficial to players because they could command higher salaries, it was bad for business because owners’ expenses skyrocketed. As a result, many teams and leagues went bankrupt.  

By the 1930s, however, the NHL remained as the only major professional league in North America. This effectively kept players’ salaries down and reduced expenses. The NHL’s team owners realized that in order for the league to be a successful commercial business, they would have to stop competing against each other off the ice. This was best accomplished by ensuring that only one major league existed, so that competition was reduced. To this day, the same business model is followed, and the NHL is still the only major professional hockey league in North America.  

For several decades in the mid-twentieth century, the NHL owners were extremely successful financially. They generated very high profits because, having a monopoly on in the hockey market, they could limit the sale and trade of players. When players signed on to a team, they generally did so for life, and at the pay rate determined by the owner. Players were forced to accept these conditions because there were no other leagues in existence.  

This all changed in the 1970s when players organized to form a players’ union. Through the collective bargaining process, players gradually fought owners for higher pay and greater rights. Today, many players are very wealthy for this reason. If it was not for the players’ union, it is likely they would still be working in similar conditions to those during the early days of the NHL: low pay and little freedom to move from team to team.  

With NHL owners and players cooperating, the NHL continues to be the most successful and entertaining hockey league in North America. Teams across Canada and the United States compete for the prized Stanley Cup, the most sought-after trophy in North American hockey.

1 thought on “The National Hockey League

  • League
    a group of sports teams or players who play games against each other to see who is best

    He makes his football league debut tomorrow.
    the Rugby League Championship
    be (at the) top/bottom of the league (=be the best or the worst team in a group)
    the local basketball league    
    our team is the league champion


    to produce or cause something
    ᅳsynonym create
    a useful technique for generating new ideas.
    The program would generate a lot of new jobs.
    generate revenue/profits/income etc
    Tourism generates income for local communities.
    generate excitement/interest/support etc
    The project generated enormous interest.
    The accident generated a lot of public interest in the nuclear power issue.
    to generate 15 million dollars’ worth of business.
    This computer program will generate a list of random numbers.
    poverty generates despair.  

    to produce heat, electricity, or another form of energy
    Wind turbines generate electricity for the local community.



    income, esp. that which the government receives as tax:
    The government was short of money because of falling oil revenues.
    an increase in tax revenues of 8.4%
    advertising revenue
    Strikes have cost £20 million in lost revenues

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    opposite of not-for-profit and non-profit


    more powerful, important, or noticeable than other people or things
    ᅳsee also dominate
    The dominant male gorilla is the largest in the group.
    Japan became dominant in the mass market during the 1980s.
    its dominant position within the group.
    Blue is the dominant color in his later paintings.
    Peace was the dominant theme of the conference.

    entertainment dollar
    the amount of money that people budget for entertainment. It’s pretty much only used in the context we have here, of somebody competing for people’s “entertainment dollar”s.


    using a lot of energy and strength or determination
    Your dog needs at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise every day.

    Environmentalists have begun a vigorous campaign to oppose nuclear dumping in the area.
    a vigorous debate Vigorous efforts are being made to find a solution to the problem.
    The measures provoked vigorous opposition in right-wing circles.
    a vigorous protest  
    the vigorous enforcement of the laws  
    vigorous exercise is not good for everyone  
    ᅳvigorously adverb

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    a person who watches esp. an event or sport without taking part:
    The big game attracted 25,000 spectators.
    Baseball is our most popular spectator sport. (=sport that people go and watch)


    having a good effect
    ᅳopposite detrimentala drug that has a beneficial effect on the immune system
    beneficial to/for
    Cycling is highly beneficial to health and the environment.
    an arrangement that is mutually beneficial (=it has advantages for everyone who is involved)
    ᅳbeneficially adverb


    to get something such as respect or attention because you do something well or are important or popular
    command respect/attention/support etc
    Philip was a remarkable teacher, able to command instant respect.
    command a high fee/wage/price etc
    Which graduates command the highest salaries?
    She can command a high fee for her services.
    His paintings command a high price these days.
    The proposals command wide support in Congress.


    cost in money, time, or effort:
    I don’t know how the government can justify the expense of the project.
    It’s too much of an expense to own a car.
    At great expense (=by paying a lot of money) I was finally able to buy the painting.
    She spared no expense/went to a lot of expense (=spent a lot of money) to make the wedding a success.
    I don’t want to put you to the expense of (=make you pay for) buying me dinner.
    (fig.) He finished the job at the expense of (=causing the loss of) his health.
    legal/medical/living/travel etc expenses (=the money that you spend for a particular purpose)
    He borrowed £150,000 and used the money for legal expenses.
    at great/considerable/vast expense
    Conference rooms were equipped at great expense.
    The council must now decide whether to go to the expense of appealing through the courts.
    Julie’s parents had spared no expense for her wedding (=they spent all the money necessary to buy the best things) .
    Everything has been provided tonight – no expense spared .
    medical expenses  
    we must cut down on our expenses  
    travel expenses


    (esp. of a price, amount, etc.) to go up suddenly and steeply
    if a price or an amount skyrockets, it greatly increases very quickly

    The trade deficit has skyrocketed.
    skyrocketing inflation
    meat prices have skyrtocketed


    without enough money to pay what you owe
    ᅳsynonym insolvent

    The firm went bankrupt before the building work was completed.
    In 1977 he was declared bankrupt (=by a court) .
    Mr Trent lost his house when he was made bankrupt .
    Seventeen years of war left the country bankrupt.
    a bankrupt electrical company


    plural monopolies
    control of all of the market for a product or service:

    That airline has a monopoly on flights to Kodiak Island.
    The postal service used to be a government monopoly. (=no one else was allowed to provide this service)
    the government’s monopoly of cigarete production  
    monopoly of
    They are demanding an end to the Communist Party’s monopoly of power . the state monopoly of television
    monopoly on/in
    For years Bell Telephone had a monopoly on telephone services in the US.
    a monopoly in copper trading


    to officially decide something : 
    The date of the court case has not yet been determined.
    determine how/what/who etc
    The tests will help the doctors determine what treatment to use.


    (esp. in names and titles) a club or society, esp. a LABOR UNION: Do you belong to a union? | the Textile Workers Union


    of or shared by a number of people or groups of people considered as one or acting as one:
    the collective opinion of the delegates
    collective ownership/leadership
    a collective decision made by all board members
    our collective responsibility for the environment


    discussion in order to reach an agreement about a sale, contract etc
    ᅳsynonym negotiation
    wage/pay bargaining
    The government would not intervene in private-sector wage bargaining.
    The 4% pay raise was the result of some hard bargaining .


    to think that someone or something is very important or valuable
    He is someone who prizes truth and decency above all things.

    The company’s shoes are highly prized by fashion conscious youngsters.


    the past tense and past participle of seek


    a large object such as a silver cup or plate that someone receives as a prize for winning a competition

    walls lined with banners and athletic trophies
    Football League/Masters/Heisman etc Trophy (=the name given to a particular competition for which the prize is a trophy)

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