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Canadian teams top Forbes' most valuable list

(Reuters) - Canadian teams dominated the top end of Forbes' annual list of the National Hockey League's (NHL) most valuable franchises on Monday with the Toronto Maple Leafs leading the pack for an eighth consecutive year.

For the first time since Forbes began tracking NHL team valuations in 1998, three of the league's five most valuable franchises are Canadian.

The Toronto Maple Leafs were deemed the most valuable at $1.15 billion, a 15 percent jump from last year, while the Montreal Canadiens ($775 million) and Vancouver Canucks ($700 million) were third and fourth, respectively, in the survey.

The New York Rangers ($850 million) were second on the list while the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks ($625 million) rounded out the top five.

The NHL's 30 teams are worth an average $413 million, a 46 percent rise over last year but still below the average values of franchises in the other major North American sports leagues.

Forbes has previously said teams in the National Football League are worth an average of $1.17 billion, followed by teams in Major League Baseball ($744 million) and the National Basketball Association ($509 million).

For the complete list visit: (www.forbes.com/nhl)

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Julian Linden)