Pro ice hockey has been in existence for longer than you probably would have thought. Way back in 1902 the Western Pennsylvania Hockey League was formed, the first-ever competition featuring pro-fessional ice hockey players. Eight years later (1910) over in Montreal, the National Hockey Association was formed but seven years after that, in 1917, it became known by a name you’ll surely recognise- the National Hockey League.
It may have started over in North America but it didn’t take long for Europe to follow suit with most countries starting their own professional leagues. The Kontinental Hockey League in Russia, the Swedish Hockey League and the Czech Extraliga among the most competitive and prominent, with all of them still going to this day.