Major League Hockey Franchises
As you might have noticed, the prevous article dealt with the
most travelled players. Apparently I should have defined what a
franchise is in this article, and list what I considered
to be franchises, but I didn't. Since this
definition would probably be about half of the "normal" size of these
articles, I had two options:
- Add the bit about franchises to the previous article, and then
write this article about another topic, or
- Just write an article about franchises for this article, and have
the time to get back to the stuff I was doing outside.
As you might have guessed, I chose the second option. So, here goes...
So, what is a franchise? Looking at the Winnipeg Jets
of 1972-73 and the 2001-02 Phoenix Coyotes, I've lumped both
instances of those teams under the same franchise. Why?
The two teams in question are in different cities,
have different nicknames, played in different leagues, have none of
the same players, owners, managers, coaches, scouts, and probably even
have none of the same staff.
What makes these two teams part of the same franchise?
I remember that, in one of the philosophy classes that I took in
university, the professor discussing "The Problem of Personal
Identity". At a physical level, the individual
cells in your body are continuously being replaced. After a while,
all of the material in your body is replaced. So physically you are
a completely different person than you were when you were seven
years old (assuming that you are currently an adult or fairly close).
On a mental level you've probably also changed completely from when
you were seven years old - your thoughts are completely different,
your interests are probably very dissimilar (okay, maybe you still
like hockey, but you probably like it in a different way than
you did then). So far, so good. In other words, you've completely
changed from when you were, say, seven years old.
The problem is this: If I were to give you a photograph of you
that was taken when you were seven years old and asked you who was
in it, you would say that you were. But how can that be, since we've
shown that you're a completely different person now compared to when you
were seven? The ancient Greeks tackled this problem in the form of
Theseus' Ship: The ancient Athenians had a ship that once belonged
to the semi-legendary hero Theseus, and kept it in good repair,
including replacing planks that had rotted. Eventually they had replaced all
of the planks in the boat. So, is the boat still the same boat, or
not? And if it isn't, what if you saved the rotted planks that were
removed from the ship and reconstructed them in the pattern of the
original ship? Would that ship be the same as Theseus' ship?
I won't get into a long philosophical discussion here (If you're
interested, there's a link in the bibliography,
but to summarise in one sentence, the key is that identity is transitive.
So, if you're the same person at time a that you are at
time b, and you're the same person at time b
that you are at time c, then you're the same person at
time a that you were at time c. Continuing
this reasoning, it would be possible to show that you are the same
person now that you were at seven years of age.
We can apply the same logic to franchises as we do with people.
Therefore, the 2001-02 Phoenix Coyotes and 1972-73 Winnipeg Jets
are the same franchise because the 1972-73 Winnipeg Jets are the
same as the 1973-74 Winnipeg Jets, which are the same as the 1974-75
Winnipeg Jets, which are the same as... [25 steps or so skipped
here] ... which are the same as the 2000-01 Phoenix Coyotes, which
are the same as the 2001-02 Phoenix Coyotes. Whew!
The Complete List of Major League Franchises
When you apply this logic to the real world, there are some pitfalls.
For example, what if a franchise folds, but another franchise with the
same name appears in the same town next year, containing most of the
same people? In such cases, I've generally felt that the requisite
amount of continuity was present, and so counted the teams from both
years as a single franchise. There are three cases like that below:
The 1909-10/1910-11 Montreal Canadiens, the 1916-17/1917-18 Toronto
Blueshirts/Arenas, and the 1975-76/1976-77 Minnesota Fighting Saints.
In general, I've attempted to keep the idea of continuity in mind - if
there seemed to be a sufficient degree of continuity, it's still the
So here's the list! I've arranged it so that current NHL teams are
at the top, and there's a list of defunct clubs from all leagues, in
reverse order of when the league was last active.
Active NHL Franchises
- Anaheim Mighty Ducks (1993-94 - )
- Atlanta Thrashers (1999-00 - )
- Boston Bruins (1924-25 - )
- Buffalo Sabres (1970-71 - )
- Atlanta Flames (1972-73 - 1979-80) - Calgary Flames (1980-81 - )
- New England Whalers (WHA, 1972-73 - 1978-79) - Hartford Whalers
(NHL, 1979-80 - 1996-97) - Carolina Panthers (NHL, 1997-98 - )
- Chicago Black Hawks (1926-27 - 1984-85) - Chicago Blackhawks (1985-86 - )
- Quebec Nordiques (WHA, 1972-73 - 1978-79) - Quebec Nordiques (NHL,
1979-80 - 1994-95) - Colorado Avalanche (NHL, 1995-96 - )
- Columbus Blue Jackets (2000-01 - )
- Minnesota North Stars (1967-68 - 1992-93) - Dallas Stars (1993-94 - )
- Detroit Cougars (1926-27 - 1929-30) - Detroit Falcons (1930-31 - 1932-33) -
Detroit Red Wings (1933-34 - )
- Alberta Oilers (WHA, 1972-73) - Edmonton Oilers (WHA, 1973-74 - 1978-79) -
Edmonton Oilers (NHL, 1979-80 - )
- Florida Panthers (1993-94 - )
- Los Angeles Kings (1967-68 - )
- Minnesota Wild (2000-01 - )
- Montreal Canadiens (NHA, 1909-10 - 1916-17) - Montreal Canadiens (NHL,
1917-18 - )
- Nashville Predators (1998-99 - )
- Kansas City Scouts (1974-75 - 1975-76) - Colorado Rockies (1976-77 -
1981-82) - New Jersey Devils (1982-83 - )
- New York Islanders (1972-73 - )
- New York Rangers (1926-27 - )
- Ottawa Senators (1992-93 - )
- Philadelphia Flyers (1967-68 - )
- Winnipeg Jets (WHA, 1972-73 - 1978-79) - Winnipeg Jets (NHL, 1979-80 -
1995-96) - Phoenix Coyotes (NHL, 1996-97 - )
- Pittsburgh Penguins (1967-68 - )
- St. Louis Blues (1967-68 - )
- San Jose Sharks (1991-92 - )
- Tampa Bay Lightning (1992-93 - )
- Toronto Blueshirts (NHA, 1912-13 - 1916-17) - Toronto Arenas (NHL,
1917-18 - 1918-19) - Toronto St. Pats (NHL, 1919-20 - 1926-27) -
Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL, 1926-27 - )
- Vancouver Canucks (NHL, 1970-71 - )
- Washington Capitals (NHL, 1974-75 - )
Defunct NHL Franchises
- Montreal Wanderers (ECHA, 1908-09) - Montreal Wanderers (NHA, 1909-10 - 1916-17) - Montreal Wanderers (NHL, 1917-18) (note 1)
- Pittsburgh Pirates (1925-26 - 1929-30) - Philadelphia Quakers (1930-31)
- Ottawa Senators (ECHA, 1908-09) - Ottawa Senators (NHA, 1909-10 - 1916-17)
- Ottawa Senators (NHL, 1917-18 - 1930-31, 1932-33 - 1933-34) -
St. Louis Eagles (NHL, 1934-35) (note 1)
- Quebec Bulldogs (ECHA, 1908-09) - Quebec Bulldogs (NHA, 1910-11 - 1916-17)
- Quebec Bulldogs (NHL, 1919-20) - Hamilton Tigers (NHL, 1920-21 - 1924-25) -
New York Americans (NHL, 1925-26 - 1940-41) - Brooklyn Americans (NHL, 1941-42)
(note 1) (note 2)
- Montreal Maroons (1924-25 - 1937-38)
- California Seals (1967-68) - Oakland Seals (1967-68 - 1969-70) -
California Golden Seals (1970-71 - 1975-76) - Cleveland Barons (1976-77 -
Defunct WHA Franchises
- Chicago Cougars (1972-73 - 1974-75)
- Los Angeles Sharks (1972-73 - 1973-74) - Michigan Stags (1974-75) -
Baltimore Blades (1974-75)
- Cleveland Crusaders (1972-73 - 1975-76)
- Denver Spurs (1975-76) - Ottawa Civics (1975-76)
- Minnesota Fighting Saints (1972-73 - 1975-76, 1976-77)
- New York Raiders (1972-73) - New York Golden Blades (1973-74) -
New Jersey Knights (1973-74) - San Diego Mariners (1974-75 - 1976-77)
- Phoenix Roadrunners (1974-75 - 1976-77)
- Philadelphia Blazers (1972-73) - Vancouver Blazers (1973-74 - 1974-75) -
Calgary Cowboys (1975-76 - 1976-77)
- Houston Aeros (1972-73 - 1977-78)
- Indianapolis Racers (1974-75 - 1978-79)
- Cincinnati Stingers (1975-76 - 1978-79)
- Ottawa Nationals (1972-73) - Toronto Toros (1973-74 - 1975-76) -
Birmingham Bulls (1976-77 - 1978-79)
Defunct PCHA/WCHL/WHL Franchises
- Victoria Senators (PCHA, 1911-12) - Victoria Aristocrats (PCHA, 1912-13 - 1915-16) - Spokane Canaries (1916-17)
- Seattle Metropolitans (PCHA, 1915-16 - 1923-24)
- New Westminster Royals (PCHA, 1911-12 - 1913-14) - Portland Rosebuds
(PCHA, 1914-15 - 1917-18) - Victoria Aristocrats (PCHA, 1918-19 - 1919-20) -
Victoria Cougars (PCHA, 1920-21 - 1923-24) - Victoria Cougars
- Vancouver Millionaires (PCHA, 1911-12 - 1921-22) - Vancouver Maroons
(PCHA, 1922-23 - 1923-24) - Vancouver Maroons (WCHL/WHL, 1924-25 - 1925-26)
- Saskatoon Sheiks (WCHL, 1921-22) - Moose Jaw Sheiks (WCHL, 1921-22) -
Saskatoon Sheiks (WCHL, 1922-23) - Saskatoon Crescents (WCHL/WHL, 1923-24 -
- Regina Capitals (WCHL, 1921-22 - 1924-25) - Portland Rosebuds
- Edmonton Eskimos (WCHL/WHL, 1921-22 - 1925-26)
- Calgary Tigers (WCHL/WHL, 1921-22 - 1925-26)
Defunct NHA Franchises
- Montreal Shamrocks (ECHA, 1908-09) - Montreal Shamrocks (NHA, 1909-10)
- Haileybury Hockey Club (1909-10)
- Cobalt Silver Kings (1909-10)
- Toronto Tecumsehs (1912-13) - Toronto Ontarios (1913-14 - 1914-15) -
Toronto Shamrocks (1914-15)
- 228th Battalion (1916-17)
Defunct ECHA Franchises
All of these franchises are covered in one of the "Defunct NHA Franchises"
or "Defunct NHL Franchises" sections.
- Team was founded before the dawn of Major League Professional hockey
- Quebec Bulldogs played in the ill-fated CHA in 1909-10, but not in the NHA.
Writing this list out, I couldn't help thinking that the names of
a lot of those defunct franchises are a lot more classier than most
of the names of active franchises. It's hard to find anything less classier
than "Mighty Ducks".
Anyway, there's the list.
Wow, this turned out to be pretty close to the size
of a "regular" article. I'm going outside now...
- Dan Diamond (ed.), Total Hockey: Second Edition.
Total Sports Publishing, Kingston, NY, 2000.
- Jeff Z. Klein and Karl-Eric Reif, The Hockey Compendium
(2001 edition). McClelland & Stewart Ltd., Toronto, ON, 2001.
- "Identity, Persistence, and the Ship of Theseus",
For questions or comments, please e-mail
This article is Copyright © 2002, James Yolkowski.
You may reprint or reproduce this article, as long as this paragraph
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