Can You Unscramble the Names of All 31 NHL Teams?


By: Beth Hendricks

6 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons by Keith Allison

About This Quiz

If we asked you to guess the name of the oldest professional sports trophy in North America, what would you say? The Lombardi Trophy? The Commissioner's Trophy? What about the Larry O'Brien Trophy? Maybe the Heisman Trophy? (Psych, that last one is for the top player in college football.) Would the Stanley Cup have ever entered your mind? 

You know, the Stanley Cup. That oversized, gaudy silver bowl-like cup thing that the best team in the National Hockey League hoists at the end of the season. That's the oldest trophy awarded for professional sports teams in all of North America.

The NHL currently has 31 member organizations competing for that piece of hardware — soon to be 32, with the addition of the as-yet-unnamed Seattle franchise. Despite the longevity of its trophy, the NHL does share some similarities with its pro sports brethren. There are Panthers and Rangers. Similar to the NFL, NBA and MLB, California and New York have multiple NHL franchises. And, like the others, the team names can be darn hard to unscramble!

So, don your sweater and "light the lamp" — it's time for a scrambled barnburner! Can you sort out the "candnseai" from the "tsoprdrae"? Let's hit the ice!

"Nrgaers" danger! Which New York team plays its home games at Madison Square Garden?

The New York Rangers take the ice at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, just down the street (sort of) from the New York Islanders, who play in two different arenas: Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale and Barclays Center in Brooklyn.


Colorado's NHL team draws its name from a natural occurrence. What is this word — "eavanchal"?

It's an appropriate name for a hockey team based in Denver, Colorado — the Avalanche. With the Rocky Mountains in the background, an avalanche is always a possibility and a concern!


Ottawa's "nosraest" are hockey players, not lawmakers. What is this team's name?

We typically think of Senators as lawmakers, but not in Ottawa; they are 100% hockey players, with a logo representing a Roman general and member of the Roman Senate. The current Ottawa Senators aren't the originals, though. The first Senators team dates back to 1883 through 1934.


You might think the Dallas "rsats" draws its name from its home state, but it actually relates to its origins in Minnesota. What is this team's name?

The Dallas Stars started in Minnesota as the North Stars, so instead of coming up with an entirely new name when they moved south, they just dropped the word "North." Since Texas is the Lone Star State, the name is still applicable.


They're no angels! This New Jersey team has a wicked nickname. Can you unscramble "vdleis"?

The New Jersey Devils of the NHL's Eastern Conference have been around since 1974 (not nearly as long as the real devil, but we digress). They began as the Kansas City Scouts and then took a detour as the Colorado Rockies, before landing in New Jersey in 1982.


You can look to the Florida "nashpret" if you're trying to figure out the NHL's southernmost franchise. What team is it?

You probably wouldn't pair the idea of "ice hockey" with a subtropical climate like the city of Sunrise, Florida. Nevertheless, the Panthers were founded in 1993, just a few miles from Fort Lauderdale.


Montréal might be proud of its heritage, with a team name like "nsaicadne." What is it?

Montreal's team name is the French spelling of Canadians, using the letter E instead (so, Canadiens). They chose that name all the way back in 1909 before the NHL was even founded. That happened in 1917.


The Winnipeg "estj" name may have been inspired by an NFL team. Can you unscramble it?

J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets! Rumor has it that the original Jets team owner was a big fan of the NFL franchise, the New York Jets, and named his team accordingly. Additionally, Winnipeg is home to a Royal Canadian Air Force base.


The Pittsburgh "pngienus" are owned in part by a former player, Mario Lemieux. What franchise is it?

Mario Lemieux and Ronald Burkle purchased the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1999, two years after his initial retirement as a player. He later returned to the ice for the Penguins in 2000.


There's a "French Connection" in the Buffalo "arbess" organization. What team are we referencing?

The Buffalo Sabres' French Connection was actually three players — Gilbert Perreault, Rick Martin and Rene Robert — who made up the forward line for the team in the 1970s. Each has since had his number retired by the team.


You may not associate the word "ardelssni" with the state of New York, but here we are. What team are we talking about?

The Islanders, one of New York's three NHL teams, earned its name for its fanbase, which resides primarily on Long Island. The Islanders have been a fixture in New York since the early 1970s.


Thank Walt Disney for the name of this Anaheim team. Can you unscramble "csudk"?

You've got an NHL team named after a song, so why not this team, named after a movie? The Anaheim Ducks came to life following Disney's release of the hockey film "The Mighty Ducks." Disney owned the team until 2005 when its name was reduced to just "Ducks."


The "lefsma" have nothing to do with Calgary and everything to do with where the team originated. What is the word?

The team started in Atlanta, before relocating to Calgary in 1980. The name "Flames" is a reference to General Sherman's march from Atlanta to Savannah during the Civil War. When the team moved, Calgary kept the moniker.


This team is named after an animal you might find nearby. Who are the Arizona "etyscoo"?

The Arizona Coyotes beat out the alternative, the Arizona Scorpions. (Neither is something we'd want to run into!) The Arizona Coyotes got their start in Winnipeg as the Jets before relocating to Arizona in 1996.


The "tlpsiaca" nickname is kind of a no-brainer for this Washington, D.C., club. What is it?

What better name for a hockey team based in our nation's capital than the Capitals? It just makes sense! This club is nearly 50 years old, having occupied a place in the sports world of Washington, D.C., since 1974.


Appropriately, the Tampa Bay "tghginnli" have a bolt on their jerseys. How would you unscramble the team name?

A lightning bolt, of course! The Tampa Bay Lightning, often called "The Bolts," was founded in 1992. It's another team in a state not readily paired to the sport of ice hockey, but it works: Tampa Bay won the Stanley Cup in the 2003 season.


This Boston-based team holds the distinction of being the oldest NHL franchise in the United States. Can you figure out the "runsbi"?

The Boston Bruins hold the distinction of being the oldest U.S. member of the National Hockey League. "Bruin" is an Old English term for a brown bear. The team's brown and yellow were chosen to match the colors used in the first owner's grocery stores.


The Chicago "kaakwclbsh" used to be a two-word name, but was changed to a single word in the 1980s. What is its name?

This team's founder commanded the Black Hawk regiment, named for the Sauk Chief Black Hawk, during World War I — hence the team's name. It was shortened to one word in 1986. The use of Native American imagery by sports teams is controversial in the current day.


If you're sad, maybe you've got the St. Louis "lsube." What team is it?

There's nothing sad about this team! The St. Louis Blues drew inspiration from a song title, "St. Louis Blues," for its team name. It remains the only NHL team to be named after a song. Pretty cool!


The name and logo of the Columbus "lebu cjstaek" pay homage to Ohio's Civil War history. What team are we talking about?

"Blue Jackets" during the Civil War were soldiers who fought for the Union. Beyond that, the blue jackets those soldiers wore were manufactured in the city of Columbus itself. Pretty neat, huh?


This Los Angeles team shares a venue with the Lakers. What team is behind the "gknsi"?

The Los Angeles Kings are among about a dozen professional teams located in California's most famous city. They share a venue with the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers (and, of course, LeBron James).


Wonder if they've got any syrup? How would you unscramble Toronto's "emlpa ealfs"?

Toronto is so cutting edge that its hockey team's name, the Maple Leafs, predates even the maple leaf on the Canadian flag. The maple leaf is said to represent unity and peace for our neighbors to the north.


No babies here! What is the San Jose NHL franchise known as: "asrskh"?

Baby shar ... nope, we're not going there! (But, it's stuck in your head now, isn't it?) The San Jose Sharks have been around a lot longer than that popular children's song, since the team was founded in 1991.


Minnesota opted for a team name that represented its surroundings. Can you unscramble "dwli"?

"Wild" seemed like an appropriate choice for a state with a plethora of woods and wildlife. The Minnesota Wild began to play in 2000 and made it all the way to the Stanley Cup playoffs just two seasons later.


Vancouver's NHL team, the "cnaucsk," is named after a fictional character. Can you unscramble it?

The Vancouver Canucks draw their name from the fictional character Johnny Canuck, which is similar to the United States' Uncle Sam and Britain's John Bull. Does that mean we're all related?


The Nashville "rstpreoda" relied on a prehistoric discovery in its city for its team name. What is it?

In 1971, years before the Predators were founded in Nashville, the fang of a saber-tooth cat was discovered in the city's downtown. The name and logo of the Predators seemed an appropriate fit after such a discovery.


The Carolina "siheurrnac" have a name that most would just as soon not deal with in real life. What is it?

The name "Hurricanes" is regionally appropriate for this North Carolina team, but it represents a real-life situation most people would like to avoid. The Hurricanes have been in North Carolina since moving out of Hartford, Connecticut, in 1997.


This Philadelphia team's name might remind you of an airport. Can you detangle "frlyes"?

Did you know "Flyers" aren't a real thing? Well, the team name is, but that's about it. "Flyers" has nothing to do with an airport, either. It was simply a term used to describe the fast-paced action of ice hockey.


The Vegas "noegdl ktsgnhi" are the baby of the NHL. Which team is it?

The Golden Knights became a franchise in Las Vegas, playing their first season in 2017. They also surprised everyone, winning their conference championship in their first year of existence. While the Golden Knights are currently the NHL's newest team, Seattle will introduce the league's 32nd franchise in 2021.


Can you unscramble the Edmonton "soirel," who are part of the Battle of Alberta?

The Edmonton Oilers earned their name for the presence of oil fields in the vicinity of the franchise. The Oilers are one of two NHL teams in Alberta, leading to an Oilers-Flames rivalry known as the Battle of Alberta.


If you're going to Hockeytown, you're going to see the Detroit "erd wgnsi" play. Who is it?

The Detroit community, home to the Red Wings, has been referred to as "Hockeytown" since the mid-1990s, when the term was incorporated in a marketing campaign for the franchise. It was so clever that they trademarked it!


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