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Why was the NHL created?

Updated: 9/28/2023
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13y ago

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Until the mid-1950s, the game of football in Canada was governed by a non-profit organization called the Canadian Rugby Union (CRU). Much of the makeup of the CRU executive generally came from various university or amateur minor leagues. The CRU dictated the rules of the game, and every member league had to play by CRU rules. The CRU also determined which of its member leagues were able to challenge for the Grey Cup (the Canadian equivalent of the Super Bowl trophy). In the post-war years, two leagues emerged as being 'professional' or 'major league.' These were the Western Interprovincial Football Union (WIFU) and the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union (IRFU), better known as 'the Big Four.' The WIFU consisted of five teams in the major cities in western Canada (Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina and Winnipeg), and the Big Four was made up of four teams from eastern Canadian cities (Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal). Those cities were, at the time, the largest cities in Canada. Until about 1955, a minor semi-pro league, the Ontario Rugby Football Union (ORFU) always challenged for the Grey Cup, with the approval of the CRU. It was an embarassment to the WIFU and the Big Four to have to play the ORFU champions before playing in the Grey Cup game. (Imagine, if you will, some sandlot football team from North Podunkville USA having the right to play either the NFC or AFC champions, with the winner going to the Super Bowl.) The ORFU played either the Western or Eastern champions, alternating annually. The game was played in the middle of the week, on the Wednesday before the Grey Cup game. For at least a decade, the game had regularly been somewhat of a blowout. The main concern of the two professional leagues was the risk of injury to one of its stars in a virtually meaningless game. Finally, the WIFU and the Big Four said, 'Enough is enough!' They formed a committee to develop themselves into one professional football league, separate from the CRU. At first, the CRU threw around the phrase 'outlaw league.' But the writing was on the wall and the CRU knew its days of having complete control of football in Canada were over. Partly through arm-twisting, and partly through some financial sweeteners, the CRU agreed to transfer the Grey Cup to the professionals, as well as to give up the right to control football at the professional level. In 1958, the WIFU and the Big Four merged into one league, which was named the Canadian Football League (CFL).

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15y ago
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13y ago

The Canadian Football League was created on January 19, 1958.

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13y ago

http://www.tmlfever.com/TheGame.html

That link should be helpful to providing you the origins of the NHL.

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10y ago

January 19, 1958 is the date that the Canadian Football League was founded. It is the second oldest North American gridiron football league in operation.

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