the Original Six

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jun 10 01:10:06 UTC 2013

I wonder how old/common the term really is. I have no memory of the phrase
from my childhood, but hockey is one of my least favorite sports.

There are few ghits before 2000.


On Sun, Jun 9, 2013 at 3:13 AM, Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at>wrote:

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      the Original Six
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> With the Blackhawks and the Bruins making up the first Original Six pair
> in the Stanley Cup finals since 1979 (and only the third time such a
> matchup did not involve a Montreal, Toronto or Detroit team), it seems
> appropriate to point out that "the Original Six" does not appear to be
> in the OED. I am not sure if the omission is deliberate or an oversight.
> OneLook also finds the expression only in Wikipedia, which is not
> particularly surprising.
> However, the expression is in common use in texts relating to hockey.
> Compare this to two versions of "the Six" that do appear in the OED
> (six, 2.i. and 2.j.).
> > 2.i. Chiefly as French phr. Les Six (le sis) a Parisian group of six
> > composers, Louis Durey (1888–1979), Arthur Honegger (1892–1955),
> > Darius Milhaud (1892–1974), Germaine Tailleferre (1892–1983), Georges
> > Auric (1899–1983), and Francis Poulenc (1899–1963), formed after the
> > war of 1914–18, whose music represents a reaction against romanticism
> > and impressionism.
> > j. the Six, the group of countries (Belgium, France, the German
> > Federal Republic, Holland, Italy, and Luxembourg) which were the
> > original members of the European Economic Community from 1958 until
> > the admission of others in 1973.
> The Original Six are the six hockey teams that were the only NHL teams
> to survive past the Great Depression and WWII. Of the ten teams that
> formed the NHL and its 1924 and 1926 expansions, only the Montreal
> Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs (originally the Toronto Arenas and
> Toronto St. Pats), Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers
> and Chicago Black Hawks were still playing by the end of WWII (the last
> other team, the New York Americans, suspended operations in 1942). The
> league has recently resurrected one of the other early names (Ottawa
> Senators), but it was an entirely new franchise.
> Hockey writers often refer to "the Original Six matchup" in reference to
> games between any of the six teams, particularly the Canadiens, Bruins
> and Rangers. The term also shows up in promotional literature for the
> games.
> VS-)
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