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The NHL, or National Hockey League, is one of the most physical sports in the world. It is the one team sport where fighting is not only tolerated, but encouraged. Widely considered the premier ice hockey competition in the world, the NHL consists of 30 teams; 23 from the United States and 7 from Canada, all contesting for the Stanley Cup.
It started on November 26, 1917, in Montreal, Quebec and comprised of only four teams, which were all based in Canada. But through expansions and relocations, it is now 30 strong and continues to grow. While the National part of the name originally referred to Canada, it has been binational since 1924, when the first American team (Boston Bruins) was introduced.
The league is now split into two conferences - the Eastern and Western, and four divisions - the Atlantic Division, the Metropolitan Division, the Pacific Division and the Central Division. Like other American and Canadian sports, the NHL consists of both a regular season and a playoff series, known as the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Each team plays 82 regular season games to determine their standings.