If you want to experience a real spectacle, including some rough and entertaining sporting prowess, hockey ranks high on the list of must-see sports for people travelling to the USA.
Thirty member clubs, 23 in the US and seven in Canada, make up the National Hockey League (NHL), the world’s premier professional ice hockey league, with headquarters in New York City. The NHL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the US and attendance figures at live games are high.
Each team in the NHL plays 82 games in the regular season (October to April), 41 on their home ground and 41 away. Teams play four or five games against the other teams in their division, three games against other non-divisional teams in their conference, and play inter-conference teams twice. This allows every team in the league to play each other twice. Teams rotate season-to-season and the schedule is in place to ensure that every NHL team plays all arenas at least once a year.
When the regular season finishes in April, 16 teams qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs, which is an elimination tournament. There are three rounds of the best-of-seven from each conference, determining which teams will make it to the Stanley Cup Final.
There’s no other sport like ice hockey. While the atmosphere in the crowd is electric, the players take a humbler approach to celebrating a goal. Hockey has its own soundtrack too, with the slap of the puck off a stick, players slamming into the glass, the carving of a skate blade on ice and the ping of a puck going off the post.
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