Professional hockey is currently associated with today's National Hockey League, with many people believing it was the first league of professional hockey. This is a far cry from the truth. The history of the various professional leagues, especially in the early 1900's, shows how what we today call the NHL spread from many roots.
professional hockey leaguesFollowing thedevelopment of the early professional hockey leagues from 1904 to the end of the 1920's is a great look at the sport of hockey as we know it today. A variety of rules were in place including the number of players on the ice, goaltenders not being allowed off their skates and the development of the bluelines and redlines high-lited this era of hockey.
- Canadian Hockey Association (1909-1910) - League formed by the all-pro teams of the Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association. Folded after just two weeks of play.
- National Hockey Association (1909-1917) - Formed around Wanderers in opposition to Canadian Hockey Association. Reorganized in 1917 as the National Hockey League.
- International Pro Hockey League (1905-1907) - the first recognized professional hockey league.
- Interprovincial Professional Hockey League (1910-1911) - A limited Eastern Canada professional league.
- Maritime Professional Hockey League (1912-1914) - the second variation of the Interprovincial League
- Eastern Professional Hockey League (1914-15) - the third variation of the Interprovincial League
- Manitoba Professional Hockey League (1907-1909) - a look at the first western Canada professional league
- Alberta Professional Hockey League (1907-1910) - a short lived western league that twice challenged for the Stanley Cup.
- Ontario Professional Hockey League (1907-1911) - the first attempt at professional teams in Ontario.
- Pacific Coast Hockey Association (1911-1924) - The western professional hockey built by the Patrick brothers. When league folded remaining teams joined West Coast Hockey League.
- National Hockey League (1917-2004)
- Western Canada Hockey League (1921-1926) - League renamed Western Hockey League forthe 1926-26 season.
Western Hockey League (1925-1926) - Best players sold as whole teams to two new National Hockey League franchises.
- World Hockey Association (1972-1979) - An upstart league that helped shaped today's National Hockey League. Four teams entered the National Hockey League.