American Hockey League
The American Hockey League is a professional ice hockey league based in the United States and Canada that serves as the primary developmental league for the National Hockey League. Since the 2010–11 season, every team in the league has an affiliation agreement with one NHL team; when NHL teams do not have an AHL affiliate, players are assigned to AHL teams affiliated with other NHL teams. Twenty-seven AHL teams are located in the United States and the remaining four are in Canada; the league offices are located in Springfield and its current president is David Andrews. In general, a player must be at least 18 years of age to play in the AHL or not be beholden to a junior ice hockey team; the league limits the number of experienced professional players on a team's active roster during any given game. The AHL allows for practice squad contracts; the annual playoff champion is awarded the Calder Cup, named for Frank Calder, the first President of the NHL. The reigning champions are the Toronto Marlies.
The AHL traces its origins directly to two predecessor professional leagues: the Canadian-American Hockey League, founded in 1926, the first International Hockey League, established in 1929. Although the Can-Am League never operated with more than six teams, the departure of the Boston Bruin Cubs after the 1935–36 season reduced it down to just four member clubs – the Springfield Indians, Philadelphia Ramblers, Providence Reds, New Haven Eagles – for the first time in its history. At the same time, the then-rival IHL lost half of its eight members after the 1935–36 season leaving it with just four member teams: the Buffalo Bisons, Syracuse Stars, Pittsburgh Hornets, Cleveland Falcons. With both leagues down to the bare minimum in membership, the governors of each recognized the need for action to assure their member clubs' long-term survival, their solution was to play an interlocking schedule. While the Can-Am League was based in the Northeast and the IHL in the Great Lakes, their footprints were close enough for this to be a viable option.
The two older leagues' eight surviving clubs began joint play in November 1936 as a new two-division "circuit of mutual convenience" known as the International-American Hockey League. The four Can-Am teams became the I-AHL East Division, with the IHL quartet playing as the West Division; the IHL contributed its former championship trophy, the F. G. "Teddy" Oke Trophy, which would go to the regular-season winners of the merged league's West Division until 1952. The Oke Trophy is now awarded to the regular-season winners of the AHL's Northeast Division. A little more than a month into that first season, the balance and symmetry of the new combined circuit suffered a setback when its membership unexpectedly fell to seven teams; the West's Buffalo Bisons were forced to cease operations on December 6, 1936, after playing just 11 games, because of what proved to be insurmountable financial problems and lack of access to a suitable arena. The makeshift new I-AHL played out the rest of its first season with just seven teams.
At the end of the 1936–37 season, a modified three-round playoff format was devised and a new championship trophy, the Calder Cup, was established. The Syracuse Stars defeated the Philadelphia Ramblers in the final, three-games-to-one, to win the first-ever Calder Cup championship; the Calder Cup continues on today as the AHL's playoff championship trophy. After two seasons of interlocking play, the governors of the two leagues' seven active teams met in New York City on June 28, 1938, agreed that it was time to formally consolidate. Maurice Podoloff of New Haven, the former head of the Can-Am League, was elected the I-AHL's first president; the former IHL president, John Chick of Windsor, became vice-president in charge of officials. The new I-AHL added an eighth franchise at the 1938 meeting to fill the void in its membership left by the loss of Buffalo two years earlier with the admission of the two-time defending Eastern Amateur Hockey League champion Hershey Bears; the Bears remain the only one of these eight original I-AHL/AHL franchises to have been represented in the league without interruption since the 1938–39 season.
The newly merged circuit increased its regular-season schedule for each team by six games from 48 to 54. After the 1939–40 season the I-AHL renamed itself the American Hockey League, it enjoyed both consistent success on the ice and relative financial stability over its first three decades of operation. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the cost of doing business in professional ice hockey began to rise with NHL expansion and relocation and the 1972 formation of the World Hockey Association, which forced the relocation and subsequent folding of the Cleveland Barons, Baltimore Clippers, Quebec Aces; the number of major-league teams competing for players rose from six to thirty in just seven years. Player salaries at all levels shot up with the increased demand and competition for their services; this did not seem to affect the AHL at first, as it expanded to 12 teams by 1970. However, to help compensate for the rise in player salaries, many NHL clubs cut back on the number of p
Tappara is a Finnish ice hockey team playing in the Liiga. They play at Tampereen jäähalli in Finland; the team has won 14 Finnish league championships with its current name. Tappara was established in 1955 in Tampere and a major part of the players came to the newly founded team from local team TBK, when Tappara inherited their place in the national top league. Tappara borrowed TBK's colors for themselves and got their place in the top league. Tappara played its first official game in the same year, 1955; the transition was led by team president Harry Lindblad. Tappara went on to win three championships, three second places, three third places in just nine years, their winning streak was followed by a more silent period, with Tappara playing one season at the second highest level, gaining immediate promotion back to the top flight. In 1965, an indoor arena Tampereen jäähalli was built in Hakametsä to be the home arena of Tappara and their local rivals and Koo-Vee. 1965 World Ice Hockey Championships were held there in the same year.
Tappara fans had to wait until the mid-seventies until Tappara started to be successful again, thanks to some legendary players such as the goalkeeper Antti Leppänen and the defender Pekka Marjamäki. The bronze medals in 1973 and silver medals in 1974 were followed by Finnish championship in 1975; this successful period was longer than the first period of glory in the 1950s and early sixties. Tappara won the Finnish championships in 1977, 1979, 1982, 1984, the long streak ended by winning three consecutive championships in 1986–1988. Many fans regard the Tappara team of the late 1980s – coached by Rauno Korpi – as their strongest of all time. Behind the senior players such as Timo Susi and Erkki Lehtonen, the likes of Teppo Numminen and Janne Ojanen led the way as new talented youngsters. In 1988, the Finland national team gained its first success by winning the Olympic silver medal in Calgary, Tappara players formed a substantial part of the Finnish team. Tappara players, Erkki Lehtonen and Janne Ojanen, were the goal scorers for Finland in the decisive win against the Soviet Union.
During the 1990s, Tappara did not gain any notable success besides finishing third in the league in spring 1990. In 1992, the once so mighty team had to fight for its place at the top level in relegation playoffs against Oulun Kärpät. A glimpse of glory was, achieved on the international level, as Tappara player Timo Jutila captained the Finnish national team to win the ice hockey world championship in 1995. In the early 2000s, Tappara played some good seasons, winning silver medals in both 2001 and 2002. In 2003 – to the surprise of many – Tappara won the Finnish championship, coached by Jukka Rautakorpi. After that, Tappara reached 3rd place in the top league in 2008 and placed second three seasons in a row from 2013 to 2015. In 2014 and 2015 the final series were decided in a decisive seventh game, but Kärpät won both titles in overtime. In 2016, Tappara won the championship after beating HIFK in the finals. In 2017, Tappara won the regular season for the first time since 2002, advanced to the finals for the fifth time in a row and won another championship.
In 2018, Tappara reached the Finals for a record-breaking 6th year in a row, but lost to Kärpät in 6 games. Tappara has played their home games in Tampereen jäähalli since it was built in 1965; the local rival Ilves uses the same arena. The arena was the first indoor arena in Finland and it is located in the neighborhood of Hakametsä; the capacity was 10,200 spectators, but it has declined in various renovations over the years. In its current form, the arena accommodates 7,300 spectators. A new arena is being built in the city center of Tampere on a covered rail yard; the arena is supposed to open in 2021. The 2022 Ice Hockey World Championships has been granted for Finland and in the application process the plan was to play the games in Tampere and Helsinki. Host cities haven't been confirmed yet, though. Tampereen jäähalli will be converted into a venue for other indoor sports when the new arena is opened. Updated November 12, 2018. SM-liiga Kanada-malja: 1977, 1979, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 2003, 2016, 2017 SM-sarja Kanada-malja: 1953, 1954, 1955, 1959, 1961, 1964, 1975 Finnish Cup: 1957 SM-liiga: (1958, 1960, 1963, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1981, 2001, 2002, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018 SM-sarja: 1958, 1960, 1963, 1974 SM-liiga: 1990, 2008 SM-sarja: 1946, 1947, 1948, 1950, 1951, 1956, 1957, 1962, 1973 Finnish Cup: 1964, 1966 IIHF European Cup:1980 IIHF European Cup:1983, 1988 2 - Kalevi Numminen 3 - Pekka Marjamäki 7 - Timo Jutila 8 - Janne Ojanen 10 - Timo Susi Official website
The SM-liiga, colloquially called the Finnish Elite League in English, is the top professional ice hockey league in Finland. It is one of the six founding leagues of the Champions Hockey League and allocated five spots - the maximum number - based on success in previous editions, it was created in 1975 to replace the SM-sarja, fundamentally an amateur league. The SM-liiga is not directly overseen by the Finnish Ice Hockey Association, but the league and association have an agreement of cooperation. SM is a common abbreviation for Suomen mestaruus, "Finnish championship"; the SM-liiga had a system of automatic promotion and relegation in place between itself and the Mestis, the second highest level of competition in Finland, but the automatic system was ended in 2000. The league was allowed KalPa to get a promotion. In 2009, a new system was introduced and it includes the last placed SM-liiga team facing the Mestis champion in a best of seven playout series. In 2013, the relegation system was abandoned again and replaced by a procedure in which successful clubs of Mestis may apply for a promotion if they fulfill definite financial criteria.
Since 2013, Jokerit joined the KHL and Espoo Blues went bankrupt, but Sport, KooKoo and Jukurit were promoted. Therefore Liiga is a competition of 15 teams in the 2016 -- 2017 -- 18 seasons; the SM-liiga was constituted in 1975 to concentrate the development of top-level Finnish ice hockey, pave the way towards professionalism. Its predecessor, the SM-sarja, being an amateur competition, had its disadvantages, which were perceived as impeding Finland's rise to the highest ranks of ice hockey. One of the main problems was that the governing of the SM-sarja was based on the annual meeting of the Finnish Ice Hockey Association, where all important issues were decided by vote. Since all clubs registered under the Finnish Ice Hockey Association had the right to vote, the many amateur clubs prevailed over the few business-like clubs. Therefore, the concentrated development of top-level Finnish ice hockey by the motivated and financially capable clubs proved arduous; the new SM-liiga was to be run by a board consisting of its participating clubs only and to have an agreement of cooperation with the Finnish Ice Hockey Association.
The SM-sarja was outdated on its own, as it was run according to amateur principles. Clubs were not supposed to pay their players beyond compensation for lost wages. However, by the 1970s many clubs were run like businesses and recruited players through a contract of employment, paying their wages secretly and evading taxes. However, in 1974, accounting reform in Finland extended book-keeping standards to cover sports clubs, shortfalls were exposed in audit raids; the SM-liiga was to allow wages for players, clubs were put under a tighter supervision. They were to establish their own association for SM-liiga ice hockey only, separating their commitments from junior activities and other sports. Copies of all player contracts were to be sent to the SM-liiga to provide players with adequate security, such as insurance and pensions; the SM-sarja had other limits for players. According to amateur ideals, no player could represent more than one club within one season. Personal sponsorship was forbidden.
To discourage trading, a system of quarantine was in force. The SM-liiga stripped the limitations for players, replaced quarantine with a then-modest transfer payment, introduced the transfer list. Players wanting a transfer were to sign up, the SM-liiga would distribute the right of negotiations to clubs. In practice, the list was not successful, as both parties worked their way around the formalities; these changes led to a transition towards professional ice hockey as the league became semi-professional. Only a few players would make a livelihood out of ice hockey in Finland in the 1970s, many players the young, would settle for a contract in the SM-liiga without a wage. A major financial development for professional ice hockey in Finland was the introduction of playoffs. Gate receipts and other income from playoffs were distributed as a placement bonus. Although playoffs were the standard way of determining the champions in North American professional sports, at the time they were not common in Europe.
The SM-liiga was established rather hastily. The required changes were initiated at the 1974 annual meeting, the SM-liiga was launched for the 1975–76 season, it was the first Finnish professional sports league, its solutions were untried. However, there had been a mounting demand for these changes, as the popularity of ice hockey had been rising in the previous decade; the SM-liiga picked up. The four best of the regular season were to proceed to the playoffs; the system of promotion and relegation from the SM-sarja remained in force: last-placed teams of the regular season had to qualify for their position in the SM-liiga against the best teams of the second-highest series. The combined attendance for the first eleven regular seasons hovered around 900,000. In 1986–87, the number of games for each team was increased from 36 to 44, reaching its current level of 56 games in 2000–01, the SM-liiga was expanded to 12 clubs for the 1988–89 season; the general popularity of ice hockey strengthened through international success of the Finland men's national ice hockey team, the combined attendance climbed through the 1990s to about 1.8 million.
This prompted an increase in the profitability of the ice hockey business and the completion of the transition to full professionalism. By the mid-1990s, all players were full-time, by 2000, most clubs had reformed into limited companies. In late 1990s and early 2000s the S
National Hockey League
The National Hockey League is a professional ice hockey league in North America comprising 31 teams: 24 in the United States and 7 in Canada. The NHL is considered to be the premier professional ice hockey league in the world, one of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada; the Stanley Cup, the oldest professional sports trophy in North America, is awarded annually to the league playoff champion at the end of each season. The National Hockey League was organized on November 26, 1917, at the Windsor Hotel in Montreal after the suspension of operations of its predecessor organization, the National Hockey Association, founded in 1909 in Renfrew, Ontario; the NHL took the NHA's place as one of the leagues that contested for the Stanley Cup in an annual interleague competition before a series of league mergers and folds left the NHL as the only league left competing for the Stanley Cup in 1926. At its inception, the NHL had four teams—all in Canada, thus the adjective "National" in the league's name.
The league expanded to the United States in 1924, when the Boston Bruins joined, has since consisted of American and Canadian teams. From 1942 to 1967, the league had only six teams, collectively nicknamed the "Original Six"; the NHL added six new teams to double its size at the 1967 NHL expansion. The league increased to 18 teams by 1974 and 21 teams in 1979. Between 1991 and 2000, the NHL further expanded to 30 teams, it added its 31st team in 2017 and has approved the addition of a 32nd team in 2021. The league's headquarters have been in New York City since 1989 when the head office moved there from Montreal. After a labour-management dispute that led to the cancellation of the entire 2004–05 season, the league resumed play in 2005–06 under a new collective agreement that included a salary cap. In 2009, the NHL enjoyed record highs in terms of sponsorships and television audiences; the International Ice Hockey Federation considers the Stanley Cup to be one of the "most important championships available to the sport".
The NHL draws many skilled players from all over the world and has players from 20 countries. Canadians have constituted the majority of the players in the league, with an increasing percentage of American and European players in recent seasons; the current NHL Champions are the Washington Capitals, who defeated the Vegas Golden Knights four games to one in the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals. The National Hockey League was established in 1917 as the successor to the National Hockey Association. Founded in 1909, the NHA began play one year with seven teams in Ontario and Quebec, was one of the first major leagues in professional ice hockey, but by the NHA's eighth season, a series of disputes with Toronto Blueshirts owner Eddie Livingstone led team owners of the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators, Quebec Bulldogs to hold a meeting to discuss the league's future. Realizing the NHA constitution left them unable to force Livingstone out, the four teams voted instead to suspend the NHA, on November 26, 1917, formed the National Hockey League.
Frank Calder was chosen as its first president, serving until his death in 1943. The Bulldogs were unable to play, the remaining owners created a new team in Toronto, the Arenas, to compete with the Canadiens and Senators; the first games were played on December 19, 1917. The Montreal Arena burned down in January 1918, causing the Wanderers to cease operations, the NHL continued on as a three-team league until the Bulldogs returned in 1919; the NHL replaced the NHA as one of the leagues that competed for the Stanley Cup, an interleague competition back then. Toronto won the first NHL title, defeated the Vancouver Millionaires of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association for the 1918 Stanley Cup; the Canadiens won the league title in 1919. Montreal in 1924 won their first Stanley Cup as a member of the NHL; the Hamilton Tigers, won the regular season title in 1924–25 but refused to play in the championship series unless they were given a C$200 bonus. The league refused and declared the Canadiens the league champion after they defeated the Toronto St. Patricks in the semi-final.
Montreal was defeated by the Victoria Cougars of the Western Canada Hockey League for the 1925 Stanley Cup. It was the last time a non-NHL team won the trophy, as the Stanley Cup became the de facto NHL championship in 1926 after the WCHL ceased operation; the National Hockey League embarked on rapid expansion in the 1920s, adding the Montreal Maroons and Boston Bruins in 1924. The Bruins were the first American team in the league; the New York Americans began play in 1925 after purchasing the assets of the Hamilton Tigers, were joined by the Pittsburgh Pirates. The New York Rangers were added in 1926; the Chicago Black Hawks and Detroit Cougars were added after the league purchased the assets of the defunct WCHL. A group purchased the Toronto St. Patricks in 1927 and renamed them the Maple Leafs; the first NHL All-Star Game was held in 1934 to benefit Ace Bailey, whose career ended on a vicious hit by Eddie Shore. The second was held in 1937 in support of Howie Morenz's family when he died of a coronary embolism after breaking his leg during a game.
The Great Depression and the onset of World War II took a toll on the league. The Pirates became the Philadelphia Quakers in 1930 folded one year later; the Senators became the St. Louis Eagles in 1934 lasting only one
Minor ice hockey
Minor hockey is an umbrella term for amateur ice hockey, played below the junior age level. Players are classified with each age group playing in its own league; the rules as it relates to body contact, vary from class to class. In North America, the rules are governed by the national bodies, Hockey Canada and USA Hockey, while local hockey associations administer players and leagues for their region. Many provinces and states organize regional and provincial championship tournaments, the highest age groups in Canada and USA participate in national championships. Minor hockey is not to be confused with minor league professional hockey. In Canada, the age categories are designated by each provincial hockey governing body based on Hockey Canada's guidelines, each category may have multiple tiers based on skill. To qualify in a category, the player must be under the age limit as of December 31 of the current season. Initiation: under 7 years of age In some larger areas with multiple associations in close proximity, Tyke is broken up by age into Hockey 1 for 5-year-old players and Hockey 2 for 6 years old players.
In the Province of Quebec, players start in Pre-MAHG to initiate skating technics. Over the next two following years they are in levels MAHG 1 and MAHG 2 to develop a sense of the game. Novice: under 9 years of age In some larger areas, Novice is broken up by age into Hockey 3 for 7-year-old players and Hockey 4 for 8-year-old players. Atom: under 11 years of age Peewee: under 13 years of age Bantam: under 15 years of age Midget: under 18 years of age Juvenile under 20 years of age, for players who want to remain in hockey at a minor hockey association level; those not playing Senior. Junior: under 21 years of age Junior: divided into Major Junior, Junior A, Junior B and Junior C. Senior: No age limit There are two broad grouping of skill levels: competitive and non-competitive. From house league/recreation hockey, progression is made to competitive travel hockey. A competitive team will hold tryouts and players will be selected for the roster depending upon skill level and fit. At this level, players chosen to compete experience a higher level of on-ice competition and coaching.
Players learn systems. HL teams are intra-city and players may be of any skill level. Rostered Select teams will consist of better House League players who in addition to HL play, will play in additional games and practices which are organized on an ad-hoc basis. League Select teams will consist of better House League Players but can play in a league for a full season in addition to the House League Season; this is known as Select in some area. Higher-skilled players will play on "representative" or "travel" teams that will travel to play representative teams from other areas; these teams are classified by skill. Not all cities will have teams at all skill levels, depending on size and the popularity of hockey, however small communities may field teams at multiple levels; the classifications are not certified by any external organization, so there is speculation about what levels are better or stronger than others. AAA, AA, A hockey are nationally recognized as competitive levels of organized hockey, with AAA being elite competition.'House Level' Inter Association hockey never leaving own association'C' Playing other associations in a region.'B"A"AA"AAA' is the highest caliber of minor hockey In British Columbia, BC Hockey has a different system as the province has no "B" level hockey.
All teams are either non-competitive "C" house or competitive Rep teams "A". Rep teams "A' compete association vs. association under the guidance of PCAHA, OMAHA, VIAHA, are labeled as A1, A2, A3, A4. No Atom level Provincial championship exists; the OMAHA and VIAHA have "Atom Development" rep teams, while the PCAHA follows "A1,A2,A3, etc" similar to older ages. Midget Rep has a BC run Midget AAA league, the highest level of midget rep, in addition to association run rep teams "A" level teams are designated by the following tiers: Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 and Tier 4. For the purposes of affiliation regulations, each Tier designation will be considered a category. BC Hockey Registrations of male Midget and Pee Wee players from the previous three years with the Associations tiers are determined the according to the following schedule: The above chart shall be utilized to determine the tier of the "initial entry" team at each division. 1.03 a) Associations may register additional teams in any Division in accordance with the following chart: b) Any association registering more than two hundred and fifty players in any Age division of Peewee, Bantam and Juvenile shall be required to register teams in that division in accordance with the following chart: First Entry, Second Entry Team Must register two Tier 1 teams Third Entry Team Tier 2 Fourth Entry Team Tier 3 Fifth Entry Team Tier 4 1.04 All Winter Clubs are designated Tier 1.
This designation is to be reviewed annually by the BC Hockey Executive Committee following consultation with the District Association. Quebec house leagues are labeled C, B, A. Competitive teams are urbanly known as the "double letters" an
The Edmonton Oilers are a professional ice hockey team based in Edmonton, Alberta. They are members of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League; the Oilers were founded in 1971 by W. D. "Wild Bill" Hunter and Dr. Chuck Allard; the team played its first season in 1972, as one of the twelve founding franchises of the major professional World Hockey Association. They were intended to be one of two WHA Alberta teams, along with the Calgary Broncos. However, when the Broncos relocated to Cleveland, before the WHA's first season began, the Oilers were renamed the Alberta Oilers, they returned to their current name in the following year, subsequently joined the NHL in 1979 as one of four franchises absorbed through the NHL merger with the WHA. After joining the NHL, the Oilers went on to win the Stanley Cup on five occasions: 1983–84, 1984–85, 1986–87, 1987–88 and 1989–90. Along with the Pittsburgh Penguins, they are tied for the most championships won by any team since the NHL-WHA merger and the most won by any team that joined the league in or after 1967.
Among all NHL teams, only the Montreal Canadiens have won the Stanley Cup more times since the League's 1967 expansion. For their success in the 1980s, the Oilers team of this era has been honoured with dynasty status by the Hockey Hall of Fame. However, the Oilers began to struggle shortly after the 2004–05 NHL lockout, having missed the playoffs every year since 2006, with the exception of 2016–17; the Oilers have drafted 12 first round selections since 2007, 10 of which were within the first 10 draft choices overall, 6 of those picks were within the first 4 picks overall, 4 of those 6 were first overall selections. In the NHL Entry Draft Edmonton Selected first overall Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Nail Yakupov and Connor McDavid with those picks, only two of those players remain with the Oilers today; the Oilers are one of two NHL franchises based in Alberta. Their close proximity to each other has led to a fierce rivalry known as the "Battle of Alberta". On November 1, 1971, the Edmonton Oilers became 1 of the 12 founding WHA franchises.
The original owners were "Wild Bill" Hunter and partner, Dr. Charles A. "Chuck" Allard who, a decade also brought the SCTV sketch comedy TV series to Edmonton. Hunter owned the Edmonton Oil Kings, a junior hockey franchise, founded the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League. Hunter's efforts to bring major professional hockey to Edmonton via an expansion NHL franchise had been rebuffed by the NHL. So, he looked to the upstart WHA instead, it was Hunter. This was a name, used as a nickname for the Edmonton Oil Kings in the 1950s and 1960s. Hunter served as head coach during the 1972–73, 1974–75, 1975–76 seasons, the Oilers' mascot, Hunter, is named in his honour. After the newly founded Calgary Broncos folded prior to commencement of the inaugural WHA season, the Oilers were renamed the Alberta Oilers as it was planned to split their home games between Edmonton and Calgary. For financial reasons or to allow for a less complicated return of the WHA to Calgary, the team played all of its home games in the Edmonton Gardens and changed its name back to the Edmonton Oilers the following year.
They won the first game in WHA history 7–4 over the Ottawa Nationals. The Oilers drew fans with players such as defenceman and team captain Al Hamilton, goaltender Dave Dryden and forwards Blair MacDonald and Bill Flett. However, a little-noticed move in 1976 would have an important impact on the history of the franchise; that year, journeyman forward Glen Sather was acquired by the Oilers. It turned out to be his final season as a player and was named player-coach late in the season, moving to the bench full-time after the season. Sather would be the coach or general manager of the Oilers for the next 23 years. Although the Oilers' on-ice performance for most of the WHA's history was mediocre, they remained well-supported and financially stable by WHA standards. In 1976, Hunter and Allard sold the franchise to Vancouver real estate tycoon Nelson Skalbania, who would become notorious for flipping property, both real and franchised. Skalbania soon made Peter Pocklington a full partner sold his shares to him the following year.
The team's fortunes improved in 1978 when Pocklington acquired underage player Wayne Gretzky, as well as goaltender Eddie Mio and forward Peter Driscoll, for cash, from Skalbania's folded Indianapolis Racers. His first year of WHA experience prevented Gretzky from being an official 1979–80 NHL rookie). However, Edmonton failed to win the championship, as they fell to the Winnipeg Jets in the Avco World Trophy Final. Dave Semenko of the Oilers scored the last goal in WHA history in the third period of the final game, which they lost 7–3; the Oilers joined the NHL for 1979–80, along with fellow WHA teams Hartford Whalers, Quebec Nordiques and the Jets following a merger agreement between the two leagues. Of these four teams, only Edmonton has avoided renaming; the Oilers lost most of the players from 1978–79 when the NHL held a reclamation draft of players who had bolted to the upstart league as they were allowed to protect two goaltenders and two skill players. Gretzky was not el
Finland the Republic of Finland, is a country in Northern Europe bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, Gulf of Finland, between Norway to the north, Sweden to the northwest, Russia to the east. Finland is situated in the geographical region of Fennoscandia; the capital and largest city is Helsinki. Other major cities are Espoo, Tampere and Turku. Finland's population is 5.52 million, the majority of the population is concentrated in the southern region. 88.7% of the population is Finnish and speaks Finnish, a Uralic language unrelated to the Scandinavian languages. Finland is the eighth-largest country in Europe and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union; the sovereign state is a parliamentary republic with a central government based in the capital city of Helsinki, local governments in 311 municipalities, one autonomous region, the Åland Islands. Over 1.4 million people live in the Greater Helsinki metropolitan area, which produces one third of the country's GDP. Finland was inhabited when the last ice age ended 9000 BCE.
The first settlers left behind artefacts that present characteristics shared with those found in Estonia and Norway. The earliest people were hunter-gatherers; the first pottery appeared in 5200 BCE. The arrival of the Corded Ware culture in southern coastal Finland between 3000 and 2500 BCE may have coincided with the start of agriculture; the Bronze Age and Iron Age were characterised by extensive contacts with other cultures in the Fennoscandian and Baltic regions and the sedentary farming inhabitation increased towards the end of Iron Age. At the time Finland had three main cultural areas – Southwest Finland and Karelia – as reflected in contemporary jewellery. From the late 13th century, Finland became an integral part of Sweden through the Northern Crusades and the Swedish part-colonisation of coastal Finland, a legacy reflected in the prevalence of the Swedish language and its official status. In 1809, Finland was incorporated into the Russian Empire as the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland.
In 1906, Finland became the first European state to grant all adult citizens the right to vote, the first in the world to give all adult citizens the right to run for public office. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, Finland declared itself independent. In 1918, the fledgling state was divided by civil war, with the Bolshevik-leaning Red Guard supported by the new Soviet Russia, fighting the White Guard, supported by the German Empire. After a brief attempt to establish a kingdom, the country became a republic. During World War II, the Soviet Union sought to occupy Finland, with Finland losing parts of Karelia, Kuusamo and some islands, but retaining their independence. Finland established an official policy of neutrality; the Finno-Soviet Treaty of 1948 gave the Soviet Union some leverage in Finnish domestic politics during the Cold War era. Finland joined the OECD in 1969, the NATO Partnership for Peace in 1994, the European Union in 1995, the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1997, the Eurozone at its inception, in 1999.
Finland was a relative latecomer to industrialisation, remaining a agrarian country until the 1950s. After World War II, the Soviet Union demanded war reparations from Finland not only in money but in material, such as ships and machinery; this forced Finland to industrialise. It developed an advanced economy while building an extensive welfare state based on the Nordic model, resulting in widespread prosperity and one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. Finland is a top performer in numerous metrics of national performance, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life, human development. In 2015, Finland was ranked first in the World Human Capital and the Press Freedom Index and as the most stable country in the world during 2011–2016 in the Fragile States Index, second in the Global Gender Gap Report, it ranked first on the World Happiness Report report for 2018 and 2019. A large majority of Finns are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, freedom of religion is guaranteed under the Finnish Constitution.
The earliest written appearance of the name Finland is thought to be on three runestones. Two have the inscription finlonti; the third was found in Gotland. It dates back to the 13th century; the name can be assumed to be related to the tribe name Finns, mentioned at first known time AD 98. The name Suomi has uncertain origins, but a candidate for a source is the Proto-Baltic word *źemē, meaning "land". In addition to the close relatives of Finnish, this name is used in the Baltic languages Latvian and Lithuanian. Alternatively, the Indo-European word * gʰm-on "man" has been suggested; the word referred only to the province of Finland Proper, to the northern coast of Gulf of Finland, with northern regions such as Ostrobothnia still sometimes being excluded until later. Earlier theories suggested derivation from suomaa or suoniemi, but these are now considered outdated; some have suggested common etymology with saame and Häme, but that theory is uncertain