Original Ottawa Senators 1883-1884

My brother is a walking hockey encyclopedia. Ask him anything and he has the answer. As for me, I barely know team names so it might shock people to learn I questioned my brother and the NHL on which teams were part of the “original six”.

To me, the original six means the founding members of the NHL in 1917.

When Ottawa was awarded a team in the 90’s, there had been a lot of hype around all the accomplishments of the original Ottawa Senators team. This is what sparked the great debate between my brother and I. Normally I don’t question my brothers hockey knowledge but knowing the year the NHL was founded and that the Ottawa Senators had won multiple Stanley Cups in the early 1900 – 1920’s, I couldn’t understand why they were never mentioned as an original six team.

My brother and I debated for almost an hour as the NHL 100 Classic game was starting. He paused the game multiple times as we debated back and forth and I finally took to the internet to settle the matter.

The NHL’s (and my brother’s) opinion differs from mine. In their opinion the original six teams refers to the active franchises participating in the league as of the 1942 – 1943 season.

Thank you Wikipedia and other websites for the information – I have links to the reference sites I used below.

The NHL was founded in 1917 and the Ottawa Senators were a founding member along with the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers and the Quebec Bulldogs. Many teams played in the NHL in the early days, some stayed for only a season others longer. Due to financial issues, the original Ottawa Senators team was sold to St. Louis in 1934 and became the St. Louis Eagles. By 1942 the original six that we know today would make up the NHL. The teams were the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, Chicago Black Hawks, Detroit Red Wings and the New York Rangers. Thus the Original Six reference was born.

On one website that I found, they referred to the “Original Six” as a marketing ploy created in 1942 that was meant to generate interest in hockey during the NHL’s financially troubling times. In all fairness, the original six really are the original six teams that were part of the NHL for 25 years (between 1942 – 1967) before the expansion era. It just bothers me that there are so many other teams that contributed to the continuation of the NHL from 1917 onward that are not recognized.

In the end, I feel like the great debate ended in a tie. I now know why the Ottawa Senators are not part of the Original Six and knowing they were instrumental in the NHL’s creation and participated for 3 decades I feel somehow justified in questioning my brothers knowledge.


Original Ottawa Senators

The Original Six

NHL History

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