California NHL Teams

How Many Hockey Teams Are In California?

California, typically celebrated for its iconic landmarks and laid-back lifestyle, is home to three formidable contenders in the National Hockey League (NHL).

How Many Hockey Teams Are In California?

California has 3 NHL teams that are currently active:

  1. Los Angeles Kings
  2. Anaheim Ducks
  3. San Jose Sharks

California also has 3 extinct NHL teams that are no longer around:

  1. The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (1993~2005)
  2. California Golden Seals (1970~1976)
  3. Oakland Seals (1967~1969)

Los Angeles Kings

Los Angeles Kings

City: Los Angeles
Established: 1967
Stanley Cups: ๐Ÿ†(2012) ๐Ÿ†(2014)
GOATS: Wayne Gretzky, Marcel Dionne, Anze Kopitar

The LA Kings entered the NHL as part of the 1967 NHL expansion – the largest in NHL history.

The number of teams in the league was effectively doubled from the “Original 6” to a total of 12.

The Kings entered the league alongside the Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, St. Louis Blues, and Minnesota North Stars, and Oakland Seals and they were immediately at a disadvantage.

Number of NHL Teams Over Time

In fact, all the teams in the 1967 expansion were at a disadvantage when joining the NHL because of how the 1967 expansion draft was set up.

1967 Expansion Draft

The Original 6 teams were allowed to protect virtually all of their good players, leaving the new expansion team fighting over crumbs.

The Original 6 teams were allowed to protect and exclude the following players from the expansion draft:

  1. One goaltender.
  2. Eleven players.
  3. Any player younger than ~20 years of age.
  4. Any player sold to the following minor leagues before June 1st, 1966:
    • Western Hockey League (WHL)
    • Central Professional Hockey League (CPHL)

1988 Gretzky Trade

One of the most memorable moments in Kings’ history is when they traded for the captain of the Edmonton Oilers, and the greatest player of all time, Wayne Gretzky.

The 1988 trade sent shockwaves through the hockey world and brought attention and popularity to ice hockey in LA.

With the help of Gretzky, the Kings were able to make it to the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals but were ultimately unable to secure the Cup, losing to the Montreal Canadiens.

LA Kings Win Loss Record

2012 Stanley Cup Champions

Following the 90s, the Kings entered an underwhelming era of hockey until winning their first Stanley Cup in 2012.

The 2012 Kings were DIFFERENT.

The Kings were incredibly dominant throughout the playoffs, losing only 4 games on the way to winning the cup.

They swept the St. Louis Blues in the second round, and beat the New Jersey Devils 6-1 in game six of the Stanley Cup Finals – it wasn’t even close.

Their goalie, Jonathan Quick, put on the performance of a lifetime, winning the Conn Smyth Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs.

Much like Gretzky in the 80s, the 2012 Stanley Cup win brought tons of attention and popularity to hockey within LA.

Anaheim Ducks

City: Anaheim
Established: 2006
Stanley Cups: ๐Ÿ† (2007)
GOATS: Teemu Selanne, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger

The Anaheim Ducks entered the NHL in 2006 when Disney sold their team, The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, to American Businessman Henry Samueli.

Samueli dropped “Mighty” from the name and rebranded the team as the Anaheim Ducks.

The Ducks soared to glory that very season, clinching their first Stanley Cup – they were the first California team to do so.

Today, the Ducks maintain their competitive edge and a devoted fan base in the Pacific Division. Their transformation and Stanley Cup victory remain highlights in NHL history.

Anaheim Ducks Win Loss Record

2007 Stanley Cup Champions

The Ducks were the first California team to win the Stanley Cup.

Much like the LA Kings’ first Stanley Cup playoff run, the Ducks absolutely dominated the competition in the post-season.

They recorded 16 wins and only 4 losses on the way to winning the cup – ultimately beating the Senators, 6-2 in game five of the finals.

Their top players that year included:

  1. Teemu Selanne
  2. Scott Niedermayer
  3. Chris Kunitz
  4. Chris Pronger
  5. Ryan Getzlaf
  6. Corey Perry

San Jose Sharks

San Jose Sharks

City: San Jose
Established: 1991
Stanley Cups: ๐Ÿšซ
GOATS: Joe Thorton, Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau, Brent Burns, Owen Nolan

In 1991, the San Jose Sharks joined the NHL, sporting iconic teal jerseys and a shark fin logo.

Despite early struggles, they made the playoffs in their third season, earning a special place in fans’ hearts.

The 1993 NHL All-Star Game hosted in San Jose highlighted the team’s growing influence, and the “Shark Tank” became their fortress.

San Jose Sharks Win Loss Record

The late 1990s and 2000s saw stars like Owen Nolan and Joe Thornton, who turbocharged the team’s offense.

In 2016, they reached the Stanley Cup Final for the first time, a monumental achievement.

With legendary players like Patrick Marleau and Evgeni Nabokov, the Sharks continue to leave their mark on NHL history.

The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim

Mighty Ducks of Anaheim

City: Anaheim
Established: 1993
Folded: 2005
Stanley Cups: ๐Ÿšซ
GOATS: Paul Kariya, Teemu Selanne

In 1993, The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim entered the NHL, inspired by Disney’s movie, “The Mighty Ducks.” They adopted teal and eggplant colors and featured a duck head mask logo.

As Disney ventured into the NHL, the team had a distinct identity but initially faced on-ice struggles.

In their sophomore season, the Mighty Ducks managed to defy expectations by clinching a playoff spot, largely thanks to star player Paul Kariya.

Mighty Ducks Win Loss Record

Disney sold the franchise in 2005 to the Samueli family, marking the end of the Disney era and paving the way for the team’s transformation.

The rebranded Anaheim Ducks emerged in 2006, shedding the “Mighty” from their name and donning a new look that eventually led to their Stanley Cup victory in 2007.

The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim may have flown into history, but their unique journey and Disney-inspired legacy continue to resonate with hockey fans and movie buffs alike.

California Golden Seals

City: Oakland
Established: 1970
Folded: 1976
Stanley Cups: ๐Ÿšซ
GOATS: Gilles Meloche

In 1970, the California Golden Seals – owned by Charles O. Finley, owner of baseball’s Oakland Athletics – began their season going by the name, “Bay Area Seals.”

However, their name was changed to the “California Golden Seals” just two games into the season – and so began their rocky and chaotic legacy as a franchise.

Under Finley’s ownership, the team introduced player names on the back of jerseys, a trend that continues today in the NHL, as well as white skates for the players to wear.

Despite these innovations, the Golden Seals struggled throughout their time as a club.

California Golden Seals Win Loss Record

Their trade of the first-overall pick in 1971 to the Montreal Canadiens – which led to the selection of Guy Lafleur – is considered one of the worst blunders in NHL history.

Finley eventually sold the team back to the NHL in 1974, where they were renamed once again – this time to the “California Seals.”

The team was sold again in 1975 to a private investor, moved to Cleveland in 1976, and ultimately merged with the Minnesota North Stars.

The Golden Seals indirectly paved the way for the San Jose Sharks in the Bay Area, and their colorful history continues to be a subject of interest in books and documentaries, leaving a lasting legacy in NHL history.

Oakland Seals

Oakland Seals

City: Oakland
Established: 1967
Folded: 1970
Stanley Cups: ๐Ÿšซ

The Oakland Seals were originally a WHL team owned by entrepreneur Barry Van Gerbig before they were granted a spot in the NHL in 1967.

The Seals joined the NHL in 1967 as part of the 1967 expansion, alongside the LA Kings. – however, the respective fates of the two clubs couldn’t be more different.

As mentioned before the 1967 expansion heavily protected and favored the existing Original 6 teams, putting the Seals on the backfoot from the start.

Oakland Seals Win Loss Record

So the Seals weren’t very good from the start.

But their real problem wasn’t their team. It was their location.

There just weren’t any hockey fans in Oakland.

Prior to joining the NHL, the Seals were doing alright in terms of attendance, playing out of an arena on the west side of the Bay Area in San Mateo County. After moving the team to Oakland, things just weren’t the same.

The team was eventually sold to Charles O. Finley, owner of baseball’s Oakland Athletics, in 1970 and the team was renamed, the “Bay Area Seals.”





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