Cup of Hockey Timeline
The first organized hockey games are played in Montreal.
1896 - The first
bandy club is formed in Sweden. (The game of bandy is a form of field hockey on
ice. Hockey was not introduced in Sweden until 1919).
1899 - The first
hockey game is played in Finland. Bandy would remain the game of choice until
hockey was taken up again in 1927.
1905 - The game
of hockey is introduced to Bohemia (Czechoslovakia). Bandy had been played there
since 1890 and provided a basis for the growth of hockey.
1920 - The
International Olympic Committee agrees to recognize ice hockey as a
demonstration sport at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp.
Ice Hockey is officially introduced as an Olympic sport at the first Winter
Olympic Games in Chamonix, France.
1932 - The 1932
Winter Olympics, staged for the first time in the United States (Lake Placid),
feature the first international hockey tournament ever held in North America.
1938 - The
Montreal Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings play a series of postseason exhibition
games in Europe. This is the first overseas tour by NHL players.
1946 - After
sporadic attempts to start up the game in the 1930s, hockey is first officially
played in the Soviet Union.
Czechoslovakia's Jaroslav Drobny, who died September 19, 2001, becomes the first
European player to be placed on an NHL team's reserve list when selected by the
Boston Bruins, though he never plays in North America. Tennis was his primary
sport. He won the French Open in 1951 and 1952 and Wimbledon in 1954.
1957 - Sweden's
Sven "Tumba" Johansson becomes the first European-trained player to
attend an NHL team's training camp (Boston Bruins). He never plays in the NHL.
1957 - The Moscow
Selects become the first Soviet team to tour North America, playing an
eight-game series against Senior and Junior teams in Canada.
1959 - The
Soviets make their debut in the United States with a 5-1 win over the U.S.
national team on January 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
1959 - The Boston
Bruins and New York Rangers make the second tour of Europe by NHL clubs.
1960 - The United
States wins its first Olympic gold medal at Squaw Valley, California.
1965 - On January
27, 1965, Swede Ulf Sterner becomes the first European-trained player to appear
in the NHL as his New York Rangers defeat Boston 5-2.
1968 - The first
formal rules governing the transfer of European players to the NHL are adopted
on September 24.
1969 - The NHL
conducts its first universal Amateur Draft. For the first time in NHL history, a
European-trained player is selected. The St. Louis Blues choose Finland's Tommi
Salmelainen 66th overall.
Czechoslovakian Jaroslav Jirik becomes the second European to play in the NHL,
five years after Ulf Sterner's debut with the Rangers. Jirik plays three NHL
games with St. Louis in 1969-70.
1970 - In May,
Canada withdraws from international competition over a dispute as to whether
professional players should be permitted to compete in international events.
Canada would not compete in official IIHF events until the 1977 World
1972 - Sweden's
Thommie Bergman becomes the first European player to play as a regular in the
NHL (Detroit Red Wings).
1972 - The first
series between Canadian NHL players and the Soviets is held in September. The
Summit Series is won by Canada, 4-3-1.
Czechoslovakian forward Vaclav Nedomansky becomes the first player to defect to
North America to play hockey. "Big Ned" joins the Toronto Toros of the
World Hockey Association.
1975 - Viktor
Khatulev becomes the first player from the Soviet Union to be drafted by an NHL
club when the Philadelphia Flyers make him the 160th selection. He never plays
an NHL game.
1975 - In the
first of what would become almost annual fixtures involving NHL and Soviet teams
until 1990, Soviet club teams tour North America to face NHL clubs.
1976 - The NHL's
California Seals become the first club to select a European player in the first
round of the Draft. Sweden's Bjorn Johansson is selected fifth overall but never
plays an NHL game.
1980 - Twenty-six
players drafted by NHL clubs participate in the Olympics at Lake Placid,
including 15 members of the gold medal-winning U.S. team. Ken Morrow becomes
only player to win a gold medal and the Stanley Cup in the same year (NY
1980 - Anders
Kallur and Stefan Persson of Sweden become the first European-trained players to
have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup (NY Islanders).
Czechoslovakia's Peter Stastny becomes the first player to defect to the NHL,
joining the Quebec Nordiques. He also becomes the first European to finish in
the top 10 in NHL scoring (1980-81 season).
1986 - In the
1985-86 season, Finland's Jari Kurri (Edmonton Oilers) becomes the first
European to lead the NHL in goal scoring with 68.
1988 - In
January, the International Olympic Committee agrees to allow limited
participation in the Olympics by professional hockey players. Seven NHL players
join Team Canada for the Olympics: Brian Bradley, Andy Moog, Randy Gregg, Jim
Peplinski, 2002 Canadian Olympic director of player personnel Steve Tambellini,
Tim Watters and Ken Yaremchuk.
1989 - On June
17, Sweden's Mats Sundin becomes the first European player to be chosen first
overall in the NHL Entry Draft (Quebec Nordiques).
1989 - On March
29, Sergei Priakin, a right winger with the Soviet national team, becomes the
first player to be permitted by the USSR Ice Hockey Federation to play in the
NHL. Priakin signs a contract with the Calgary Flames and makes his NHL debut on
1989 - In
September, the Calgary Flames and Washington Capitals make NHL history when they
conduct a portion of training camp in the Soviet Union where they played four
games against Soviet club teams.
1989 - Three days
after helping his Soviet team capture the World Championships, on May 4,
Alexander Mogilny becomes the first player to defect to the NHL from the Soviet
Union. He joins the Buffalo Sabres.
1989 - On
November 9, the Berlin Wall falls, further paving the way for players from the
former Eastern bloc countries to join the NHL.
1989 - The
percentage of European players in the NHL tops 10 for first time in the 1989-90
season (12 percent).
1990 - The NHL
embarks on expanding international broadcast reach with distribution of a weekly
highlights package to 20 countries.
1992 - The NHL
distributes approximately 20 taped-delay regular-season games to approximately
25 countries overseas through various syndicated distributors.
1994 - Five years
after the arrival of the first Soviet players in the NHL, the New York Rangers
win the Stanley Cup with four Soviet regulars in their lineup: Alexander
Karpovtsev, Alexei Kovalev, Sergei Nemchinov and Sergei Zubov.
1994 - On
September 16, the NHL and IIHF reach agreement on NHL players participating at
the 1998 Olympic Winter Games.
1994 - The NHL
signs an agreement with ESPN International to create an overseas programming
arm. Approximately 50 games (two-three per week) are distributed on a live or
taped-delay basis to 77 countries worldwide, plus weekly highlights.
1995 - The
percentage of European players tops 20 for the first time in the 1995-96 season
1995 - On May 3,
Czech native Jaromir Jagr of the Pittsburgh Penguins becomes the first European
player to lead the NHL in scoring.
1997 - The NHL
opens the regular season with games outside North America for the first time.
Two games in Tokyo between Vancouver and Anaheim are broadcast back to North
1997 - The NHL
World Feed is created, with the cooperation of ESPN, and the NHL All-Star Game
(San Jose) and Stanley Cup Finals are distributed live or on taped-delay to 150
countries. During the regular season, approximately 100 games (three-four per
week) are transmitted worldwide.
1998 - The NHL
changes its All-Star Game format from Conference-based to North America vs. The
1998 - 122
players from the NHL represent their countries at the Winter Olympics in Nagano.
The Czech Republic captures the gold medal.
1999 - Pittsburgh's
Jaromir Jagr becomes the first European to win the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP.
2000 - A record
123 European players are selected at the 2000 NHL Entry Draft (42 percent of
total drafted players).
2000 - On May 22,
Finland's Alpo Suhonen becomes the first European to be named a head coach in
the NHL (Chicago Blackhawks). One month later, on June 21, Ivan Hlinka of the
Czech Republic is named head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
2000 - The
percentage of European players in the NHL tops 30 for first time during the
2000-01 season (31.8 percent).
2001 - For the
2001-02 season, 300 NHL telecasts are distributed to 180 countries worldwide.
NHL programming includes five-to-seven regular-season games per week, the NHL
All-Star Game, the Stanley Cup playoffs and Power Week, the League's
international weekly highlight show. NHL overseas distribution now has the
potential to reach 260 million households worldwide on a weekly basis.
2002 - The NHL
suspends the 2001-2002 regular season for 12 days to allow more than 125 NHL
players to represent their countries in the XIX Olympic Winter Games in Salt
Lake City, Utah. Canada earns its first gold medal in 50 years, while the USA
claims silver and Russia earns bronze.
- The NHL suspends the 2005-2006 regular season to allow NHL players
represent their countries in the Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy. Sweden
wins the Gold, Finland gets the silver, and the Czech Republic earns the bronze.
- The NHL suspends the 2009-2010 regular season to allow NHL players represent
their countries in the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada. Canada wins
the Gold, USA claims the silver, and Finland takes the bronze.
- The NHL will be suspending the 2013-2014 regular season for player Olympic
participation in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Tournament will
be in February 2014.
talks with IIHF and NHL for more international play currently in progress. World
Cup of Hockey is speculated to return to 2016.
- NHL announces it will revive the World Cup of Hockey and will be hosted by the
city of Toronto in 2016 and details of television, teams & format for the
- Logo's unveiled and team rosters announced, in March 2016, also strong
possibility of a 2020 World Cup Tournament.