If you’re not familiar with ice hockey, it might come as a surprise that the National Hockey League (the world’s top-ranked professional league) comprises both United States-based and Canadian-based teams. Each season, teams from across North America battle it out for the Stanley Cup, which is the region’s oldest professional sporting trophy.
When the NHL was established in 1917, there were just four Canadian teams in the league. Today, 7 of the 32 teams hail from the “Great White North”, including some of the most competitive outfits in the competition. In this guide, we’ll help you to identify your “Flames” from your “Oilers” and pick a team to get behind during your stay.
Experiencing the thrill of a live ice hockey game is a “must” if you’re visiting Canada during the season, which extends from October to April. At Rentola, you’ll find accommodation to suit all budgets near the home stadium of your chosen team, whether you’re heading to Vancouver, Calgary, or Winnipeg. With lots of fans flocking to watch games, be sure to book early so that you secure a rental apartment or house close to all the action.
With 24 Stanley Cups to their name, the Montreal Canadiens are one of the top Canadian teams in the NHL. In fact, you’ve probably seen their red, white, and blue shirt without even knowing it, as it’s one of the most worn ice hockey shirts in the world. The club was formed back in 1917 and is renowned for its fierce rivalry with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Montreal Canadiens are based out of the globe’s largest ice hockey rink, the 21,000-seat Bell Centre.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Another of Canada’s legendary ice hockey teams, the Toronto Maple Leafs, play out of the Scotiabank Arena in the heart of Toronto. Since the club was founded in 1917, they have appeared in 21 Stanley Cup finals and come away with 13 trophies. If you attend a Maple Leafs game, you’ll quickly realize just how passionate their fans are, with the price of home game tickets being the highest amongst any NHL team. Blue and white are the colours to wear if you’re supporting them!
Yet to win a Stanley Cup, the Vancouver Canucks were founded in 1945 and joined the NHL in 1970. Over that time, they have advanced to the finals three times. The Canucks play their home games at the 19,000-seat Rogers Arena, which is located in the heart of Vancouver (adjacent to the home ground of the Vancouver Whitecaps soccer team). Their colours help to set them apart, with a kit that’s blue, green, and white.
Founded in 1971, the Edmonton Oilers have won 5 Stanley Cups, although the last time was in 1990. With their last division title in 1987, they have the longest division title drought of any professional sporting team in North America. But that’s no reason not to support them and they still have plenty of passionate fans as the northernmost team in the National Hockey League. The Oilers play out of Rogers Place and wear blue, orange, and white.
The Oilers’ main rivals are the Calgary Flames, which play home games at the Scotiabank Saddledome, which can host more than 19,000 spectators. The club was established in 1972 in Atlanta and relocated to Calgary in 1980, although they have only won the Stanley Cup once since (1988-1989). The Flames are the third professional ice hockey team to represent Calgary, following on from the Tigers and the Cowboys. Their colours are red, yellow, black and white.
Established back in 1992, the Ottawa Senators have yet to get a Stanley Cup under their belt. That being said, the original Ottawa Senators team (founded in 1883) won the cup 11 times during their playing stint from 1917 to 1935. The Senators also aren’t lacking in superstars, with Dany Heatley setting records for the most goals scored in a season in both the 2005/2006 and 2006/2007 seasons. The Senators play out of the Canadian Tire Centre and wear red, gold, black and white.
Previously known as the Atlanta Thrashers, the Winnipeg Jets came into being in 2011 following a relocation from Georgia to Manitoba. Due to their young age, it’s understandable that they are yet to win a Stanley Cup. Their kit is coloured red, white, silver, and blue, although at home playoff games, fans get behind what’s known as the “Winnipeg Whiteout”, with everyone wearing white to try and intimidate the other team. The Winnipeg Jets host home games at the Canada Life Centre, a 15,000-seat stadium in the downtown area.