The inaugural cup included eight teams separated into two groups. The Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, and Sweden were all members of the European Group, whose games were all played in Europe. The North American Group, which includes Canada, Russia, Slovakia, and the United States, performed in North American cities. The tournament took place from 16 November 1926 to 15 November 1927. Canada won the first World Cup of Hockey by defeating the United States 4-2 after tying the game 2-2.
A second World Cup was held four years later in Europe. This time there were only six countries that participated: France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. The final was again contested by Canada and the United States; this time Canada lost 1-4. After these two events, no further World Cups were held until 1934 when the Netherlands joined as the seventh team. The Netherlands withdrew from international play after just one season when they could not be persuaded to switch their allegiance to either Europe or North America. There have been occasional attempts to restart the tournament since then but none has proved successful.
In addition to being the first World Cup of Hockey, the 1926-27 event is also notable for being the first international sporting competition to be broadcast live across the entire world. A Canadian radio station, CFCF in Montreal, Quebec, covered the matches between Canada and the United States along with other games involving other nations.
Years of Debut The inaugural World Cup matches were held in 1930. Surprisingly, they had 13 first-year clubs. Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, France, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Romania, the United States, Uruguay, and Yugoslavia were among them.
Argentina was the first South American team to play in the tournament. They lost their first match to Uruguay, but then defeated France for their first win. After that, they failed to advance beyond the group stage. Uruguay also went out in the group stage after losing to Argentina. Both teams finished with three points.
Belgium was the first European team to qualify for the final stage. They were eliminated by Argentina in their first match. Argentina went on to beat Uruguay in the second game to secure their place in the final match. The final match ended in a 1-1 draw after extra time, so the match had to be decided by a penalty shoot-out. Argentina won every round of the shootout to claim their first title. Belgium had scored through Roger van der Laan but his effort was blocked by Diego Armando Maradona who played as a defender at that time. This is why he is called the "Marvel of Mexico" in Spanish.
Brazil became the next South American team to qualify for the final stage. They were drawn against Germany in their group.
In the early years, the league was mostly Canadian, with a few Americans thrown in for good measure. As the league developed, it saw an inflow of European players, initially from Western European nations such as Sweden. Players from Eastern European countries such as the former Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union joined the league when Communism fell. Finally, African-Americans began to be drafted into the league; some played for its original six teams, others for smaller cities or towns that didn't have any black athletes at the time. These players helped the NHL reach new audiences across America.
The first three seasons of the NHL were very different from each other. The Montreal Canadiens were actually responsible for starting the whole thing off, as they were the only team in the inaugural season. They had several all-stars on their roster, including Joe Hall, who is considered the first true superstar in hockey history. He was followed by another all-star named Eddie Livingstone, who played one game for the Pittsburgh Penguins in their first season. After these two stars there was a big gap in quality, as most of the other teams were made up of American students playing during winter break. There were only six games total over those three seasons.
The second season saw the addition of two more teams: the Chicago Black Hawks and the Seattle Scouts. These two teams brought the number of franchises to eight, which is still today's number of teams. However, they weren't necessarily strong teams, as both of them ended up finishing below.500.