The National Hockey League was born out of a series of disputes between the owners of four National Hockey Association clubs and Eddie Livingstone, the owner of the Toronto Blueshirts. Instead of resolving their disputes the four other owners left the NHA and formed the new National Hockey League in 1917 with a new league-owned temporary team in Toronto to replace Livingstone's Blueshirts. The teams of the inaugural NHL season consisted of the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators, and the Toronto Hockey Club. For the first decade of it's existance, the NHL competed for it's coveted Stanley Cup championship prize with two other leagues, the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, and the Western Canada Hockey League. The NHL took complete ownership of the Cup in 1947.
While relocation and expansion occurred frequently in its early years, the NHL is famous for its "Original Six" period which spanned from 1942 through 1967, despite only one of those clubs, the Canadiens, actually being an original league team. Along with the Canadiens, the Boston Bruins, Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, and Toronto Maple Leafs all belong to this historical and traditional group of franchises. In 1967 the NHL doubled in size by adding six expansion teams and rapidly grew from there adding two more teams in each of the 1971, 1973, and 1975 seasons. A merger with the World Hockey Association added four in 1979 and further expansion took place throughout the 1990s when nine additional teams joined the fold. The Montreal Canadiens are the all-time leaders in Stanley Cup championships having won 24, the Toronto Maple Leafs come in second with 11.