The 1960s were the last decade of the traditional National Hockey League. It was in the 1960s that the league expanded for the first time in decades. For decades, there had only been a very few teams in the league. This is how things were in the early 1960s. During those years, the only teams in the league were the “Original Six.” These were the Montreal Canadiens, the Chicago Blackhawks, the Boston Bruins, the New York Rangers, the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In the 1967-8 season, the league expanded because it wanted a television contract and because other leagues were threatening to compete with it. For the last three seasons of the decade, the league doubled in size, creating a Western Division made up of the St. Louis Blues, the Philadelphia Flyers, the Los Angeles Kings, the Oakland Seals, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Minnesota North Stars.
There were a number of important players during this decade. Among them were Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, Maurice Richard (who played his last season in 1960), Jean Beliveau, Doug Harvey, Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, and Phil Esposito.