First American team to win the Stanley cup
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First American Team To Win The Stanley Cup

Ice hockey started as a Canadian game with Canadian players accounting for most of the rosters. Now, it is gradually shifting from just being a Canadian game to being a sport that cut across many countries. Among the countries with the largest influence on the sport, we unsurprisingly find the United States. The average American team in the NHL is becoming increasingly more competitive, season after season!

It was not always like this though! After the inception of the NHL, it took an American team 11 years to win the Stanley cup. However, before the first American NHL team won the cup, another ice hockey team had previously held the title.

First American Team To Win The Stanley Cup 

The first American team to win the Stanley Cup is the Seattle Metropolitan hockey team. The U.S based team of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) held the trophy in 1917 after defeating the Montreal Canadiens.

At this time, the NHL had not been formed and its predecessor, the National Hockey Association was still operational. The game between the winners of the NHA and the PCHA was a new system of awarding the cup.

During that period, the leagues that competed for it were the NHA, NHL (after it was created) and the PCHA.

This new mandate came after the end of the Stanley cup “Challenge Era (1893-1913)” which was based on challenges between teams and associations. Unlike the challenge era that ended in 1914, the new era was meant to pick the best teams among the professional ice hockey leagues. 

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Seattle Metropolitan

The winners of the NHA in 1917 were the Montreal Canadiens and they had to face winners of the PCHA which happened to be the Seattle Metropolitan. The Metropolitan was formed in 1915 as an expansion team by the owners of the PCHA. 

The Seattle Metropolitan were the best franchise in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association. They played for nine years in the league, winning five PCHA regular seasons. Also, they made seven postseason games in the PCHA and competed for the Stanley cup three times winning it once in 1917

The lineup and rules that operate the NHL and the PCHA differ from one another. For example, the PCHA team lineup allows seven players on the ice, while hockey allows six. To make it a fair game, Games 1 and 3 were played under PCHA rules while Games 2 and 4 were played under NHA rules. 

The Canadiens won the first of the four games. However, Seattle gave an astonishing come back winning Games 2, 3 and 4 to win the Stanley cup. They outscored Montreal 19-3 with fourteen of their goals coming from Bernie Morris.

First American NHL Team To Win The Stanley Cup

New York Rangers (1927-28 NHL Season)

Even though the Seattle Metropolitan were the first American team to win the Stanley, the New York Rangers are the first American-based NHL team to win the trophy in 1928. This came 11 years after the Metropolitan won the trophy

The NHL after its creation from the NHA had its first season in 1917-18 with four Canadian teams. After eleven years in 1928 due to expansion, the NHL had ten teams and six of those teams were based in the U.S. 

  • Montreal Canadiens (Canadian)
  • Montreal Wanderers(Canadian)
  • Toronto Maple Leafs (Canadian)
  • Ottawa Senators (Canadian)
  • New York Americans
  • Boston Bruins
  • New York Rangers
  • Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Detroit Cougars
  • Chicago Blackhawks 

For the first 10 seasons in the NHL, the four Canadian teams dominated the Stanley cup, however, this would change in the eleventh season. In 1926 (the 10th NHL Season), New York Rangers joined the NHL and would go on to the semi-finals where they lost to the Boston Bruins. 

The Stanley winners for that season were the Ottawa Senators who faced the Bruins in the cup final. 

More determined in the 1927-28 season, the Rangers would go all the way to their first Stanley Cup final where they would defeat the Montreal Wanderers to win their first Stanley cup. With this victory, the Rangers became the first American NHL team to win the Stanley Cup and the second American team in history to win the trophy. 

List Of All American NHL Teams 

The NHL has expanded and currently holds more American-based teams than Canadian-based teams. Currently, of the 32 teams in the NHL, twenty-five is based in the United States. However, the number of Canadians in the game still occupies a whopping 47%. 

The 25 American-based NHL teams are:

  1. Carolina Hurricane
  2. Columbus Blue Jackets
  3. New Jersey Devils
  4. New York Islanders
  5. New York Rangers
  6. Philadelphia Flyers
  7. Pittsburgh Penguins
  8. Washington Capital
  9. Boston Bruins
  10. Buffalo Sabres
  11. Detriot Red Wings 
  12. Florida Panthers
  13. Tampa Bay Lightening
  14. Arizona Coyotes
  15. Chicago Blackhawks
  16. Colorado Avalanche
  17. Dallas Stars
  18. Minnesota Wild
  19. Nashville Predators
  20. St Louis Blues
  21. Anaheim Ducks
  22. San Jose Sharks
  23. Los Angeles Kings
  24. Seattle Krakens
  25. Vegas Golden Knights

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Best American-Born NHL Players 

Mike Modano

The no.1 American-born player is none other than Mike Modano. The ice hockey centre was born in Livonia, Michigan on June 7, 1970. He was the no.1 overall draft pick in 1988 for the Minnesota North Star.

Mike played his first season with the franchise during the 1989-90 season Later on before the 1993-94 season, the Minnesota North Star will move to Dallas and become the popular Dallas Stars. 

He ended his career with the Detroit Red Wings after a contract he had with them in 2010. At the end of his career, he played 1,499 regular season NHL games and had the record of being the American-born NHL player with the most goals and points. Recording 561 goals and 1374 career points.  

Mike won a Stanley cup championship in 1999, was the captain in All-Star games for 5 years and had his Jersey No.9 retired by the Dallas Stars. 

Patrick Kane 

Patrick Kane was born in Buffalo, New York. The right wing was the no.1 over all of the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2007 entry draft and currently plays there. As a member of the Blackhawks, Kane won three Stanley Cups in 2010, 2013, and 2015. 

In 2013, he also won the Conn Smythe Award as the playoffs’ most valuable player. Kane also won the Art Ross Trophy, Ted Lindsey Award and Hart Memorial Trophy in 2016. He also holds the record to be the first American-born player to win the Art Ross and Hart Memorial Trophy. 

He was recognized as one of the 100 greatest NHL players in 2017. In addition, in 2020  he was named the youngest player of American descent to get 1,000 regular-season points.

Auston Matthews   

The no.1 overall first pick for the 2016 NHL entry draft was born in San Ramon, Califonia before relocating to Scottdale Arizona while he was an infant. The 25-year-old centre began his career in 2015, winning the Swiss Cup for the Swiss National League the same year he got drafted into the NHL. 

After Auston was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs, he scored four goals in his debut match making him the first player to do so in modern NHL. That same year he won the Calder Memorial Trophy and would go on to win the Maurice Rocket Richard Trophy in the 2020-21 season for topping the league with 41 goals in 52 games.

The next season was even more fantabulous for the centre as he became the first American-born player and Maple leaf player to reach the 60-goal mark in a season. This would lead him to win the Rocket Richard Trophy for the second time. 

Along with the trophy he also got the Hart Trophy as the MVP and Ted Lindsay Trophy as the most outstanding player. The young American born is still young with a lot of opportunities and time to build himself into an NHL Hall of Famer.

Phil Kessel 

Phil Kessel is an NHL right winger born in Madison Wisconsin, the United States. He has played with four NHL teams, with the Las Vagas Knight being his current team.

Kessel was the fifth overall pick and the first pick of the Boston Bruins during the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. He received the Bill Masterton Memorial Award during his first season in 2006-07 for battling testicular cancer while continuing his professional career. 

Kessel moved from Boston to the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2009, where he stayed for six seasons before being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2015. He won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in consecutive seasons under the leadership of Sidney Crosby.

The natural goal scorer has a record of being the first NHL player to play 1000+ consecutive games. Kessel broke the record from Keith Yandle who held the record for 990  consecutive games.

Johnny Gaudreau

Johnny Gaudreau, also known as “Johnny Hockey“, has become one of the most well-known NHL players in the United States. He was born in Salem New Jersey in  1999. He was drafted 104th overall by Calgary in 2011 and has since emerged as one of their star players.

Gaudreau boasts a near point-per-game average accumulating 333 points in 332 regular-season games. In June 2018, he was awarded Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for his gentlemanly play on the ice and played in the 2015 NHL All-Star game.

Jack Eichel

The second-overall choice in the 2015 NHL Draft, Jack Eichel, is regarded as one of the top athletes in the country. Jack is born in North Chelmsford Massecutte and at age 17 was described as “the new face of American hockey”.

The 22-year-old has 212 points in 234 games with the Buffalo Sabres where he currently serves as captain. During his first year at Boston University, Eichel won the Hobey Baker Memorial Trophy for the outstanding collegiate player. Eichel is now swiftly rising to the top of the NHL.

Alex DeBrincat

Another successful American player in the NHL is Alex DeBrincat. DeBrincat, who was selected by the Blackhawks in the second round, 39th overall, in 2016, rapidly established himself as one of the team’s top scorers. At the age of just 21, he has 129 points in 156 games. DeBrincat most recently joined the team for Team USA’s World Cup of Hockey in July 2018. He was one of five players to reach 40 goals during the 2018–19 NHL season.

Others Include:

  • Ryan Suter
  • Jonathan Quick
  • David Backes
  • John Carlson
  • Zach Parise

Conclusion 

So there you have it, now you know that the first American team to ever lift The Stanley Cup, is not the same as the first American NHL team to do so as well!

When it comes to the best American-born players to play on the ice, there are a lot of honourable mentions. The presence and impact of American players in the NHL will only continue to grow over the years.

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