Canadians made up the majority of the rosters when ice hockey first emerged as a sport in the country. It is now rapidly changing from only being a Canadian sport to becoming a global sport with diverse national representations. Unsurprisingly, the United States is one of the nations having the most impact on the sport. Every season, the typical American NHL club gets more and more competitive!
But it wasn’t always this way! It took an American club 11 years after the NHL’s creation to win the Stanley Cup. Nevertheless, another ice hockey club won the championship before the first American NHL team did.
First American Team To Win The Stanley Cup
The first American team to win the Stanley Cup was 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, the 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 and make them compete with each other.
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The Montreal Canadiens, who had won the NHA in 1917, were pitted against the Seattle Metropolitans, who had won the PCHA. The PCHA’s owners created the Metropolitan in 1915 as an expansion team.
The Pacific Coast Hockey Association’s top team was the Seattle Metropolitan. They competed in the league for nine years, earning five regular-season PCHA championships. Also, they played seven PCHA postseason games, participated in three Stanley Cup competitions, and won the trophy in 1917.
The NHL and PCHA have different lineups and operating procedures. For instance, while hockey permits six players on the ice, the PCHA team lineup allows seven. Games 1 and 3 were played in accordance with PCHA regulations, while Games 2 and 4 were played in accordance with NHA rules to ensure a fair game.
The first of the four (Game 1) games was won by the Canadiens. Seattle, however, made an incredible comeback, winning Games 2, 3, and 4 to claim the Stanley Cup. Bernie Morris scored fourteen of their goals as they outscored Montreal 19-3.
First American NHL Team To Win The Stanley Cup
New York Rangers (1927-28 NHL Season)
Although the Seattle Metropolitan was the first American club to win the Stanley Cup, the New York Rangers were the first American-based team to bag the trophy. The Rangers made this history in 1928. In addition, this occurred 11 years after the Metropolitan won the trophy.
Four Canadian clubs competed in the NHL’s inaugural season in 1917–18 after the league split from the NHA. The NHL had 10 clubs after eleven seasons in 1928 as a result of expansion, and six of those teams were headquartered in the United States.
- 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
The Stanley Cup was controlled by the four Canadian clubs for the first ten seasons of the NHL, but in the eleventh season, things started to change. The New York Rangers entered the NHL in 1926 (the tenth NHL season), and they advanced to the semifinals before falling to the Boston Bruins.
The Ottawa Senators, who took on the Bruins in the Stanley Cup final, were the season’s Stanley Cup victors.
The Rangers, who played with greater grit in the 1927–28 season, made it all the way to their first Stanley Cup final, where they defeated the Montreal Wanderers to claim their first Stanley Cup. The Rangers won the Stanley Cup with this victory, making them the second American club in history and the first American NHL team to do so.
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 are based in the United States. However, the number of Canadian players in the game still occupies a whopping 47%.
The 25 American-based NHL teams are:
- Carolina Hurricane
- Columbus Blue Jackets
- New Jersey Devils
- New York Islanders
- New York Rangers
- Philadelphia Flyers
- Pittsburgh Penguins
- Washington Capital
- Boston Bruins
- Buffalo Sabres
- Detriot Red Wings
- Florida Panthers
- Tampa Bay Lightening
- Arizona Coyotes
- Chicago Blackhawks
- Colorado Avalanche
- Dallas Stars
- Minnesota Wild
- Nashville Predators
- St Louis Blues
- Anaheim Ducks
- San Jose Sharks
- Los Angeles Kings
- Seattle Krakens
- Vegas Golden Knights
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Best American-Born NHL Players
Mike Modano is the top player who was born in the United States. On June 7, 1970, the ice hockey center was born in Livonia, Michigan. He was selected first overall by the Minnesota North Star in the 1988 draft.
In 1989–1990, Mike participated in the team’s inaugural season. The Minnesota North Star will eventually relocate to Dallas before the 1993–94 season, becoming the well-known Dallas Stars.
After signing a deal with them in 2010, he completed his career with the Detroit Red Wings. He played 1,499 regular-season NHL games during his career, setting the record for most goals and points by an NHL player born in the United States. 561 goals and 1374 points in a career.
In 1999, Mike won the Stanley Cup, served as the All-Star game captain for five years, and had the Dallas Stars honor his jersey number 9.
Buffalo, New York, is where Patrick Kane was born. In the 2007 entry draft, the right wing was selected first overall by the Chicago Blackhawks, where he presently plays. Kane won three Stanley Cups with the Blackhawks in 2010, 2013, and 2015.
He also received the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2013 for being the playoffs’ most valuable player. In 2016, Kane further received the Art Ross Award, Ted Lindsey Award, and Hart Memorial Trophy. He is also the first player born in the United States to get the Art Ross and Hart Memorial Trophy.
In 2017, he was named one of the top 100 NHL players. Also, he received the distinction of becoming the youngest player of American heritage to score 1,000 points in a season in 2020.
The 2016 NHL entry draft’s top overall pick was born in San Ramon, California, before being moved to Scottdale, Arizona, as a baby. The 25-year-old center began his career in 2015, winning the Swiss Cup for the Swiss National League the same year he was chosen for the NHL.
Auston scored four goals in his debut game after being picked by the Toronto Maple Leafs, making him the only player in contemporary NHL history to accomplish it. The same year, he won the Calder Memorial Award and went on to win the Maurice Rocket Richard Trophy in the 2020-21 season after leading the league with 41 goals in 52 games.
The next season, he became the first American-born player and Maple Leaf player to score 60 goals in a season. This would result in his winning the Rocket Richard Trophy for the second time.
Together with the championship, he received the Hart Award as MVP and the Ted Lindsay Trophy as the most outstanding player. The young American-born has a lot of possibilities and time to become an NHL Hall of Famer.
Right winger Phil Kessel was born in Madison, Wisconsin, and currently plays in the NHL. He now plays for the Las Vegas Knights after having played for four NHL clubs before.
Kessel was selected by the Boston Bruins first overall and with the fifth overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. For fighting testicular cancer while continuing his professional career, he was given the Bill Masterton Memorial Award during his debut season in 2006–07.
After moving from Boston to Toronto in 2009, Kessel played with the Maple Leafs for six seasons before being traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2015. Under Sidney Crosby’s guidance, he won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in back-to-back seasons.
The NHL player who scores goals naturally has the record for playing 1000+ straight games. Keith Yandle, who held the record for 990 straight games, was surpassed by Kessel.
One of the most well-known NHL players in the US is Johnny Gaudreau, popularly known as “Johnny Hockey.” In 1999, he was born in Salem, New Jersey. He was selected by Calgary in the 104th round of the 2011 draft, and has since become one of their top players.
With 333 points in 332 regular-season games, Gaudreau has a nearly point-per-game average. He participated in the 2015 NHL All-Star game and was given the Lady Byng Memorial Award in June 2018 for his gentlemanly play on the rink.
Jack Eichel, the second overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, is considered one of the best athletes in the nation. The North Chelmsford Massecutte native Jack was dubbed “the new face of American hockey” when he was 17 years old.
The 22-year-old captain of the Buffalo Sabres has 212 points in 234 games with the team. Eichel earned the Hobey Baker Memorial Award for the best collegiate player in his first year at Boston University. Now quickly ascending to the NHL’s top spot is Eichel.
Alex DeBrincat is an additional accomplished American player in the NHL. In 2016, the Blackhawks chose DeBrincat in the second round with the 39th overall pick. He quickly became one of the team’s best scorers. He has 129 points in 156 games at the young age of 21. DeBrincat most recently joined the group in July 2018 for the hockey World Cup competition for Team USA. During the NHL season of 2018–19, he was one of just five players to score 40 goals.
- Ryan Suter
- Jonathan Quick
- David Backes
- John Carlson
- Zach Parise
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 honorable mentions. The presence and impact of American players in the NHL will only continue to grow over the years.