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(Reuters) - The New York Rangers have ended a decade-long reign by the Toronto Maple Leafs as the most valuable franchise in the National Hockey League (NHL), according to an annual survey released by Forbes on Tuesday.
The Rangers, who return to the top of the rankings for the first time since 2004, were valued at $1.2 billion with the Montreal Canadiens ($1.17 billion) second on the list and the Maple Leafs ($1.15 billion) third.
The Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks ($925 million) and the Boston Bruins ($750 million) rounded out the top five.
According to Forbes, the financial strength of the Rangers is the result of a $1 billion renovation of their home venue, Madison Square Garden, along with the team's run to the Stanley Cup finals in 2014 and the semi-finals last season.
The Maple Leafs, one of the NHL's "Original Six" members as are the other top-five valued teams, have reached the playoffs only once since 2004 and dropped 12 percent in their overall worth from last year.
The NHL's 30 teams are valued at an average $505 million, a three percent rise over last year with most of the Canadian franchises decreasing in worth as the Canadian dollar fell 10 percent relative to the U.S. dollar during the 2014-15 season.
For the complete list visit: (www.forbes.com/nhl-valuations)
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Larry Fine