Here is a fun crossword puzzle for hockey fans. It is a NHL hockey teams crossword featuring all 31 teams currently playing in the 2020-2021 season. (Do we just call it the 2021 season due to the pandemic?) It is a free printable PDF that you can print off at home and start enjoying right away.
Who is this NHL crossword for?
I created this hockey crossword with my young niece and nephew in mind, but hockey fans of all ages can enjoy it. If they love hockey and the NHL, they’ll be able to do this puzzle.
It has been downloaded by over 300 teachers as a free crossword on TeachersPayTeachers so thousands of children have already had a chance to enjoy this puzzle in the classroom.
Now your kids can enjoy it at home!
What does the NHL teams crossword look like?
Below is a picture of what the hockey crossword looks like. If you click the picture below it’ll open up the crossword puzzle in a new browser window. From there you can print it off and start enjoying.
Click here to open the NHL teams hockey crossword puzzle in a new browser window. (It is in PDF format.)
Is there an Answer page for this crossword puzzle?
Yes the second page of the PDF has the answers to the crossword puzzle.
Plus, it has an additional activity for your kids.
I think that enjoying sports and sports leagues can be a fun way to learn geography.
So on the answers page there is a small map of North America. As a little side project you can get your kids to draw on the map where each hockey city is located.
This will help them learn where the various cities are located in the United States and Canada.
(The map may be a little small so you may need to print off a larger map. Here is a free printable map of the US from a different website. And here is blank printable map of Canada from a different website.)
For extra bonus points have them draw in the time zones. (I learned many of the time zones in North America because of sports and when a hockey game would come on the TV.)
Below is a picture of the Answer page for the Hockey Crossword
What about the NHL’s 32nd team?
I have not added the Seattle Kraken yet to this puzzle because they are not playing in the current 2020-2021 season. This puzzle includes the 31 NHL teams that are playing right now. I’ll have to redo the puzzle in the future to include the Kraken.
What’s in an NHL’s team name?
In the NHL many of the team names give hints to what the city is proud of, is known for, or has in that area. Meanwhile, some just sound good, and some have really interesting background stories.
NHL teams related to the weather
For instance, three NHL teams have names that are weather related. The Colorado Avalanche, the Carolina Hurricanes and the Tampa Bay Lightning. There are good reasons why these cities adopted these weather nicknames.
- According to this website, Tampa has the most lightning of any city in the US with over 500,00 people hence the name Tampa Bay Lightning is very fitting
- The Carolina Hurricanes play in Raleigh, North Carolina. According to this website, North Caroline is tied for 3rd as the state with the most hurricanes.
- The Colorado Avalanche play in the “Mile High City” of Denver, Colorado. It is located very close to the Rocky Mountains and thousands of avalanches occur in Colorado each winter.
NHL Teams that just sound good
Some team names don’t really signify much about their home city, they just sound good. Such as the Philadelphia Flyers. (Apparently other ideas for their team name were the “Liberty Bells” and the “Quakers”.)
The Pittsburgh Penguins name is an example of team named because of a pleasant sounding alliteration. It sounds good. And the Penguins original hockey arena was the Civic Arena (later called the Mellon Arena) and its nickname was “The Igloo” due to its white spherical roof. So the Penguins played in the Igloo. (Though of course if real life penguin birds live near the South Pole and Southern Hemisphere while Igloos are associated with the North Pole and Northern Canada.)
NHL Team names related to another country’s civil war (strange but true)
I never understood why the Calgary Flames were called the Flames. I thought perhaps they were named for the burning gas flares at oil wells. But I was surprised to learn that they are actually named after something to do with the US Civil War! (Reference – NHL.com)
You see the Calgary franchise used to be located in Atlanta, Georgia. They were called the Atlanta Flames in reference to the Union General William Tecumseh Sherman’s ‘March to the Sea’. A military campaign in the winter of 1864 that led to houses in Georgia being burned down if they fought against the advancing Union army. (Reference – History.com)
The Flames aren’t the only NHL team with connections to the US Civil War though. The Columbus Blue Jackets are thus named because Ohio was a state that contributed a lot of soldiers to the Union side of the Civil War and they wore blue military jackets. That is why the Columbus hockey team has that rather intriguing team name. (Reference – NHL.com)
For more interesting facts about NHL team names check out this article on NHL.com
Massive Hockey Word Search Puzzle (free printable PDF for your kids to enjoy)
Plus, check out:
NFL Football Teams Crossword puzzle (a fun free printable for football fans)
Football word search puzzle [another fun free printable for kids]
Basketball word search puzzle [great for basketball lovers]
Copyright Disclaimer – I do not own or claim to own the rights to any of the hockey teams’ names included in this puzzle. I am using the names under fair use of Copyright for educational purposes.
Thank you and I hope you enjoy the hockey crossword!
Tim from Puzzletainment