With the kick off Hockey Week in America, I thought it would be a great time to look at some player country origin data across the league.
Nationality in the NHL
The trend of US players in the league has been increasing since the 1980s. Events like the Miracle on Ice, Gretzky playing for the LA Kings, and the NHL southern expansion have been big catalysts for the growth.
Item of note: All the roster date referenced below is comparing a partial season to full prior seasons. There is a seasonality factor with more North American players making their season debut later in the season; therefore, the % of Canadian and US players increase by the end of the season.
For US players, there are more NHLers coming from more states than any other time in the league’s history.
Just isolating a few of the NHL expansion/relocation markets of the 90s you can clearly see the impact on developing elite hockey players.
It starts with participation
USA Hockey membership has been increasing steadily since as far back as 1997-98 season (as far back as I have the data). I built this report last spring when USA Hockey released their numbers and will update it again when they release the 2018-19.