On this day 100 years ago, the NHL was founded in Montreal, giving rise to the sport you all know and love today. You probably know that this season is the NHL’s 100th year in operation, considering all of the pomp and circumstance around it, but Nov. 26 is the date officially listed by the league of its founding.
The NHL has seen vast growth in the first 100 years of the league. What started with six teams has now become 31, touching many more in cities like Atlanta and Hartford along the way. We’ve seen some incredible talent over the years, and with players like Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, and Auston Matthews we’re in a golden age of skill.
The 100th anniversary got us thinking, though. If this is what the NHL looks like now, what will it look like 100 years into the future when all of us are likely dead and gone? Let’s take some guesses, shall we?
Nothing major occurs, but many rules change
The NHL continues to expand here and there when they can, and some teams change cities along the way. While the sport continues to grow and players continue to shine, one possible scenario is that a ground breaking rules change turns the NHL on its head.
Some potential rule changes could be:
- The nets are widened to increase scoring.
- All minor penalties become majors, meaning teams stay on the power play for all two minutes.
- Scoring becomes a tiered system like basketball, with “three-pointers” coming from the blue line.
- Play goes from five-on-five to four-on-four in regulation.
- The current point system goes away, with ties returning and overtime becoming a thing of the past.
- The blue lines go away, and so does the concept of offsides.
The possibilities of rule changes are endless for the NHL to adopt in the next 100 years. After all, we only got the forward pass rule after the NHL played their first 12 seasons.
Hockey becomes the dominant sport after a global catastrophic event
Let’s go full 17776 on this thing. A global weather event strikes in the next few decades, causing the earth to freeze. The remaining surviving population on earth helps rebuild the NHL, as the world is covered in ice and we as humans need something to entertain ourselves with.
Hockey is now a worldwide phenomenon, with the NHL expanding to over a hundred teams across the globe. The Stanley Cup is an event to rival, or exceed, the Super Bowl as humanity has only one thing to hold on to as we slowly rebuild society from the frozen ashes of this world-changing event.
And yes, Gary Bettman is somehow still alive and making tons of money with the NFL and NBA out of the picture. You just know he would survive a global catastrophe to raise the NHL to its highest heights.
The NHL folds, and a few smaller hockey leagues emerge
In this scenario, hockey owners get too greedy and the NHL locks out sometime in 20XX to never return over monetary squabbles and escrow percentages. Even though the NHL is down and out, hockey players rally to create a few different leagues across North America to continue to entertain the masses and hone their crafts.
Instead of a Stanley Cup, the four or so leagues that emerge play an Olympic-type tournament to determine the year’s hockey victor. The leagues establish a look and feel of European hockey leagues, with smaller venues and more engaged fans. Ads litter the jerseys and ice, but the leagues make it by as the creativity and skill only get better.
I’d like to think if we get a few smaller leagues instead of the NHL, we get the Hartford Whalers 2.0 with Brass Bonanza once again as the goal song. No team is threatened with relocation, but relegation to a second tier of leagues based on performance is implemented within time.
The NHL expands to... space!
The world gets back to space travel sometime within the next 100 years, putting colonies of people on the moon and Mars as the world’s population increases. Eager to become the first professional sports team in space, the NHL expands to add a team on the moon and eventually, Mars, once we get better at space travel.
The travel time is a pain, but the views can’t be beat in the PNC’s Lunar Arena. And sometimes for fun, scrimmages get played in anti-gravity to the amusement of all. Eventually, a Blitzball-style version of hockey breaks out, clearly inspired by the opening scene of Final Fantasy X.
The NHL perishes when we all perish in an apocalyptic event
The NHL won’t see its 200th anniversary because, clearly, we’re headed for an apocalypse within the next century. Somehow, the world ends and so will Canada’s quest to bring another Stanley Cup back to their country. It was a valiant effort, Maple Leafs, but even they couldn’t stop the world from ending with their glut of talent.
Where do you think the NHL will be in 100 years?
Tell us in the comments!!!