NHL Nationality Breakdown from 1917‑18 to 2016‑17
Charts below show the percentages of NHL player nationalities between 1917‑18 and 2016‑17 seasons. Contribution of each nationality is displayed across the following statistics: Number of Players, Games Played, Goals, Assists, Points and Penalty Minutes. Chart data for each season can be viewed in the NHL Totals by Nationality stats page.
Looking back at over 90 years of NHL history, the league has evolved from having an almost exclusively Canadian player base to a highly diverse league with player nationalities ranging from Canada to Japan.
After the 1970s, the Canadian dominance gradually diminished as players from the United States, Sweden and Finland began to find their way to the NHL in greater numbers. By the end of the 1980s, the share of Canadians in the league had dropped to approximately 75% and hovers now around the 50% mark.
Percentage of American players has risen considerably during the last decade. At the beginning of Millennium the share of players from United States was 15%. Ten years later it has increased to almost 25%.