The entire set of games in the NHL, from the preseason to the regular season, is all in anticipation and preparation for a very important part of the NHL known as the playoff season. The playoffs consist of a series of games that lead to a final matchup between two teams for a very prestigious trophy, the Stanley Cup.
The Stanley Cup is awarded annually at the end of the playoff after the final games. The cup is considered to be one of the most prestigious trophies in sport, the oldest in North America, and the biggest in ice hockey.
In this content, we will be taking a look at a lot of information on the Stanley Cup. But first, let’s take a look at the history of the trophy.
History Of The Stanley Cup
The Stanley Cup has a long history, long before the NHL, NHA, or any other hockey league. The cup was introduced into ice hockey after Lord Stanley of Preston and his family attended a game during the winter carnival in 1889. The ice hockey game was between the Montreal Victorias and the Montreal Hockey Club.
The game eventually created an interest in ice hockey in the kids of Lord Stanley, who was appointed Governor General of Canada at the time. His sons (Arthur and Algernon) would eventually find the “Ottawa Rideau Hall Rebels”.
Three years later, after great pressure from his sons, Lord Stanley decided to present a trophy to the best amateur hockey team in Canada. The cup was a “Silver Rose Bowl” created in Sheffield, England.
The bowl that now houses the Stanley Cup was purchased for ten guineas, which was equivalent to $48.67 at the time. In today’s market, the sum is comparable to $1,585.
After purchasing the cup, Lord Stanely had the words “Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup” etched on one side and “From Lord Stanley of Preston” engraved on the other. The current name of the cup, the Stanley Cup, originates from an article published in the Ottawa Journal in 1893.
Dominion Challenge Cup Era
The Dominion Challenge Cup era was from the time in ice hockey when the Stanley Cup (Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup) was awarded by Lord Stanley. Because there was no properly organized league at the time, there were only two options for clubs to win the title.
- The first was if a team in the same league as the current winners won the regular season
- Or, if a team from another league (or of the same league as the defending champions), gets a match-up for the cup and wins over the current champions. For a match to be made for the cup, there had to be a negotiation between the current champions and the challenger. The match could be held at any place as far as the ice conditions were right and okay.
There was no such thing as a playoff season back then, so if a victor was to be determined using the first method indicated above, the team’s regular season record was used. However, there were some ties in the regular season standings of teams. This was obvious in the 1894 season when five AHAC ice hockey teams tied for the regular season lead.
The era of the Challenge Cup lasted 22 years. It lingered from 1893, when Lord Stanley donated the cup, until 1913. Unlike the present structure of the Stanley Cup, which can only be won once a year, the Challenge Era saw numerous victors of the cup each year. The cup was awarded a total of 54 times between the 1892-93 season and the 1913-14 season.
The season with the most winners was the 1907-08 season, which had five.
The Organised Inter-League Competitions
The Stanley Cup was contested by two main ice hockey leagues throughout the era of organized interleague competition (NHA and PCHA). The Maritime Professional Hockey League, the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA), and the National Hockey Association (NHA) were the first three leagues to compete for the Cup.
Maritime Hockey League only lasted one season before folding, leaving the NHA and PCHA as its sole competitors. A team from each of the leagues fought for the Stanley Cup every season according to the format of the regulated structure.
Due to the contrast in the rules that governed the NHL and PCHA, the regulations that controlled the final series were made to alternate between the two leagues. As a result, if the NHA rules were used in a season, the PCHA rules would be used in the next season.
Subsequently, a third league joined the two already present leagues. With the addition of a third league (the Western Canada Hockey League), the playoffs adopted a new structure in which two teams competed against one another for a chance to play the third team in the series finale.
Before this era came to a conclusion, the PCHA and WCHL merged to form the WHL, while the NHA was absorbed into the NHL. From 1914 through to the 1924–25 season, the organized inter-league competition was in effect with the final non-NHL team winning it in 1925.
About The Stanley Cup And NHL
Right from the 1925-26 season, the NHL became the de facto championship title of the NHL since there were no other leagues competing for it. Later on, the NHL made a deal with trustees of the Stanley Cup allowing the league to make the trophy its default championship.
This deal also meant that the NHL could turn down any proposal by any league to compete for the championship, as it was done in the Challenge Era. The NHL continued to have right control over the Stanley Cup up until the 2003-04 season lockout.
During the lockout, an argument came up between the NHL and its player association about the rights of the NHL over the championship. The dispute spanned out for a while before it was eventually resolved with the NHL still having ownership.
At another point in the 1970s, the championship was sought after by the World Hockey Association. However, they were denied since an agreement had been reached with the NHL. Eventually, the NHL made a deal with the WHA which saw the merging of the two leagues.
Fast forward to the present-day NHL, the Stanley Cup is still owned by the NHL, and the right of which league should have possession of it is not even in dispute. The Stanley Cup has grown to be the biggest, oldest, and most respected ice hockey trophy.
Winners Of The Stanley Cup
NHL teams’ primary motivation for competing is to win the Stanley Cup. Every team aspires to add this achievement to their resume as often as possible because it is the ultimate award in ice hockey.
In this section, we will cover the most Stanley Cups won by an NHL team, the most awards won by an NHL player, and some of the year-by-year winners of this prestigious trophy.
NHL Player With The Most Stanley Cup
Almost every member of a team’s roster whose club wins the Stanley Cup will have their name inscribed on the trophy when it is finally engraved. Which player, if this is the case, has had his name inscribed on the Stanley Cup the most times?
Henri Richard currently stands as the NHL player to have won the Stanley Cup the most number of times. The Montreal Canadiens center had his name inscribed on the trophy 11 times, which is the most in NHL history.
The Canadien was the only team he ever played for during his career, and it is where he won all of his Stanley Cup titles. He etched his name on the cup for the following seasons:
Jean Beliveau stands in second place as the player with the most Stanley Cup triumphs, with ten. During his career, Jean Beliveau also played with the Canadiens, which earned him 10 Stanley Cups.
NHL players who played for the Montreal Canadiens back in the day won a number of Stanley Cups because they were the most dominant team in the league at the time.
NHL Teams With The Most Stanley Cup Wins
The Montreal Canadiens have won the most Stanley Cups in NHL history, with 24. There are several consecutive wins among their 24 trophies, such as the five consecutive wins when they won from the 1955-56 NHL season through the 1959-60 NHL season.
Despite being the league’s most dominant club a few years ago, the Canadiens have yet to win another Stanley Cup since the 1992-93 NHL season.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are second only to the Canadiens in terms of Stanley Cups won, with 13 in total. Both franchises were part of the original six NHL teams and had a lot of success before and after the expansion era. The Maple Leafs last won a Stanley Cup in 1966-67.
|No||Teams||No. Of Stanley Cups|
|2||Toronto Maple Leafs||13|
|3||Detriot Red Wings||11|
|8||New York Islanders||4|
|9||New York Rangers||4|
|11||New Jersey Devils||3|
|12||Tampa Bay Lightning||3|
|14||Los Angeles Kings||2|
|16||St Louis Blues||1|
|21||Vegas Golden Knights||1|
NHL Team With The Most Consecutive Stanley Cup Wins
The Montreal Canadiens set yet another Stanley Cup record in the NHL. The Canadiens won the trophy five years in a row, from 1955-56 to 1959-60, and four years in a row, from 1975-76 to 1978-79. Aside from that, they have won the title for two consecutive seasons many times.
The New York Islanders are just next to them. The Islanders won the title four consecutive seasons (1979-80 to 1982-82) to finish third. The Toronto Maple Leafs are in fourth and fifth place, having won the Stanley Cup three times in a row.
First from 1946-47 to 1948-49, and then from 1961-62 to 1963-64.
|NHL Teams||No. Of Consecutive Stanley Trophy|
|New York Islanders||4|
|Toronto Maple Leafs||3|
|Toronto Maple Leaf||3|
|St. Louis Eagles||2|
|Detroit Red Wings||2|
|Detroit Red Wings||2|
Stanley Winners By Year
Winners Of The 2019-20 Playoff Season
The winner of the 2019-20 Stanley Cup playoff season is the St. Louis Blues. The franchise was able to win their first Stanley since they joined the league. They started the playoff by facing the Winnipeg Jets in the round of 16, which they won in six games.
They then face the Dallas Stars and St. Jose Sharks to advance to the finals, where they face the Boston Bruins. The final series lasted for seven games, with the Blues coming out victorious in the seventh game.
|St Louis Blues Vs Winnipeg Jets||16||4-2|
|Dallas Stars Vs St Louis Blues||8||3-4|
|St Louis Blues Vs San Jose Sharks||Semi-Finals||4-2|
|St Louis Blues Vs Boston Bruins||Finals||4-3|
Winners Of The 2020-21 Playoff Season
The winner of the 2020-21 Stanley Cup playoff season is the Tampa Bay Lightnings. The Lightning had won a Stanley Cup during the 2003-04 season and went on to win their second cup in the NHL.
They began the playoff by facing the Columbus Blue Jackets in the round of 16 in which they won in 5 games. In the second round, they faced the Boston Bruins and later on the New York Islanders. The final series lasted for six games, they played the Dallas Stars winning in the sixth game.
|Tampa Bay Lightning Vs Columbus Blue Jackets||16||4-1|
|Tampa Bay Lightning Vs Boston Bruins||8||4-1|
|Tampa Bay Lightning Vs New York Islanders||Semi-Finals||4-2|
|Tampa Bay Lightning Vs Dallas Stars||Finals||4-2|
Winners Of The 2021-22 Playoff Season
The Tampa Bay Lightning won the cup for the third time during the 2021-22 season. This was also their first consecutive win. They started the playoff by facing the Florida Panthers in the round of 16 in which they won in 6 games.
They then face the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders to advance to the finals where they face the Montreal Canadiens. The final series lasted for five games with the Lightning coming out victorious in the fifth game.
|Tampa Bay Lightning Vs Florida Panthers||16||4-2|
|Tampa Bay Lightning Vs Carolina Hurricanes||8||4-1|
|Tampa Bay Lightning Vs New York Islanders||Semi-Finals||4-2|
|Tampa Bay Lightning Vs Montreal Canadiens||Finals||4-1|
Winners Of The 2022-23 Playoff Season
The Vegas Golden Knights are one of the NHL’s newest clubs. They have reached the finals twice in their brief tenure in the league, the second time in the 2022-23 season, when they won their first Stanley Cup.
They defeated the Winnipeg Jets in the fifth game in the round of 16. Eventually, they played the illustrious Edmonton Oilers and Dallas Stars to qualify for the final series.
In the finals, they faced the Florida Panthers winning the champions in the fifth round.
|Vegas Golden Knights Vs Winnipeg Jets||16||4-1|
|Vegas Golden Knights Vs Edmonton Oilers||8||4-2|
|Vegas Golden Knights Vs Dallas Stars||Semi-Finals||4-2|
|Vegas Golden Knights Vs Florida Panthers||Finals||4-1|
So this brings us to the end of this topic on the Stanley Cup. The Stanley Cup holds a very vital role in the NHL. Unlike other personal trophies like the Art Ross, Hart, Calder, or even Conn Smythe, it is a team trophy that is revered by even NHL franchises.
It is occasionally called the Holy Grail or Lord Stanley’s Mug. However, NHL players are not the only ones who get their names engraved onto the Stanley Cup. Read more on: How Many Stanley Cups Have Sidney Crosby Won?