NHL (National Hockey League) (gif)
The National Hockey League (NHL) is a professional ice hockey league composed of 30 teams in North America. It is considered to be the premier professional ice hockey league in the world, and one of the North American major professional sports leagues. The Stanley Cup, the oldest professional sports trophy in North America, is awarded annually to the league champion at the end of each season. The league was formed in 1917 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada from a predecessor organization, the National Hockey Association (NHA), founded in 1909. It started with four teams, and through a series of expansions, contractions and relocations, the league is now composed of 30 teams, 24 of which are based in the United States and six in Canada. After a labour dispute that led to the cancellation of the entire 2004–05 season, the league has staged a successful comeback, including revenue and profit growth.