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The National Hockey League held its first full season in 1917. The league gradually expanded over the years to become the biggest hockey league in the world. The NHL has seen a total of 48 teams play in the league over the last 100 years. Some of these teams have been much more successful than others. These are the five greatest hockey franchises in NHL history.

Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens are the only NHL team that was founded before the league. In addition to being the oldest team in the NHL, the Canadiens are also the most decorated. The franchise has won the Stanley Cup 24 times over the years. They also managed to make it to the finals 10 other times. No other hockey team has played in the Stanley Cup more than 24 times. Montreal’s last title came in 1993.

Toronto Maple Leafs

The second most successful hockey team of all-time is the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Maple Leafs played their first game in 1917. They won the Stanley Cup the following year. The Maple Leafs have won the Stanley Cup 12 more times since their impressive second season. Just like the Montreal Canadiens, the Maple Leafs have not had much recent success. Toronto last hoisted the Stanley Cup in 1968.

Detroit Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings have actually appeared in the Stanley Cup Finals more times than the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Red Wings have just had less success than Toronto when playing for the biggest prize in hockey. Detroit’s 24 appearances in the finals are second only to the Canadiens, but they have only held the trophy 11 times. Detroit won their last Stanley Cup title in 2008.

Boston Bruins

The Boston Bruins have been competing in the NHL since 1924. Boston has played for the Stanley Cup title 20 times in their history, but they have only won the trophy six times. These six championships are still tied for the fourth-best in NHL history. Boston’s last championship came in 2011.

Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks are the other team with six Stanley Cups victories. They won these six titles with only 13 trips to the finals. Three of their Stanley Cup victories have come in the last 10 years.