The National Hockey League (NHL) is a professional ice hockey league in North America, widely considered the premier league of the sport. Founded on November 26, 1917, the NHL currently consists of 32 teams, with 24 located in the United States and 7 in Canada. The league's regular season runs from October to April, with each team playing 82 games. The top teams advance to the playoffs, culminating in the awarding of the Stanley Cup to the league champion. Known for its fast-paced and physical gameplay, the NHL showcases the world's top hockey talent and holds a special place in the hearts of hockey enthusiasts globally.