The Stanley Cup is the championship trophy given each year to the National Hockey League's (NHL) playoff victor. It is the oldest known trophy still in operation to recognize a professional sports franchise in North America.
The trophy was created in 1892 as the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup. It was given to Canada's greatest amateur ice hockey club by Lord Stanley of Preston, the Governor General of Canada. The Stanley children participated in the sport and helped spread its awareness. Winners were chosen through challenge matches and league competitions from 1893 to 1914. The Montreal Hockey Club received the first cup in 1893.
In 1906, permission was given to the professional teams to contend for the Stanley Cup. The two major professional ice hockey leagues, the National Hockey Association (NHA) and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA), came to a gentleman's agreement in 1915 that mandated that their champions would compete against one another every year for the Stanley Cup.
It was adopted as the NHL's de jure championship trophy in 1947 after serving as the league's de facto trophy since 1926. In fact, there are three Stanley Cups: the original bowl of the "Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup," the authenticated "Presentation Cup," and the spelling-corrected "Permanent Cup."
The NHL (National Hockey League) does not officially own the trophy; rather, it uses it under a contract with the two Canadian trustees of the cup. The NHL has control over the trophy and any connected trademarks.
The 2023 Stanley Cup Finals were the NHL's season-ending championship series for the 2022–23 regular season. In the best-of-seven series, the Western Conference champion Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Eastern Conference champion Florida Panthers by scoring four games to one to win their first title in their sixth season.
Lord Stanley of Preston and his family developed a strong passion for ice hockey after he was named Governor General of Canada by Queen Victoria on June 11, 1888. Lord Stanley watched the Montreal Victorias play the Montreal Hockey Club for the first time during Montreal's Winter Carnival in 1889.
According to the Montreal Gazette, Lord Stanley expressed his interest in the game of hockey and praised the players' expertise. Only Montreal and Ottawa had leagues at that time since organized ice hockey in Canada was still in its infancy.
Hockey was taken up by Stanley's entire family. A new team called the Ottawa Rideau Hall Rebels was founded by two of his sons, Arthur and Algernon. Along with helping to establish the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA), Arthur is credited with starting ice hockey in the United Kingdom. Father was convinced to donate a trophy by Arthur and Algernon so that it would serve as "an outward and visible sign of the hockey championship."
Stanley appointed Sheriff John Sweetland and Philip D. Ross as trustees of the cup, who presented it in 1893 to the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association. They believed Montreal was the best team in Canada. Lord Stanley never attended a Stanley Cup final and never delivered the trophy.
Lord Stanley was compelled to return to England on July 15, even though his tenure as Governor General ended in September 1893. Following the death of his elder brother, Edward Stanley, the 15th Earl of Derby, in April of that same year, Stanley became the 16th Earl of Derby.
Trustees of the Stanley Cup
According to Lord Stanley's rules, there should be two Trustees, who, up until 1947, held sole and shared authority over the cup and the criteria for awarding it. After that, the NHL was given power.
Even though the original rules allow a trustee to resign, all Cup Trustees have served until their deaths. A successor for a deceased or resigned trustee is chosen by the surviving trustee in the event of a vacancy.
Nine men have held the position of Stanley Cup Trustee to date, including:
Sheriff John Sweetland served from 1893 to 1907.
P. D. Ross served as a trustee from 1893 to 1949.
William Foran succeeded Sweetland in 1907.
Cooper Smeaton took over in 1946 from Foran.
Mervyn "Red" Dutton succeeded Ross in 1950.
Clarence Campbell served from 1979 to 1984.
Justice Willard Estey succeeded Campbell in 1984.
Brian O'Neill took over in 1987 from Dutton.
Ian "Scotty" Morrison succeeded Estey in 2002 and is the current trustee.
Stanley Playoffs and Finals
In simple terms, the NHL's playoff competition, which takes place after the regular season, is known as the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Based on their results throughout the regular season, 32 teams—sixteen from each conference—qualify. They compete in elimination stages to get to the Stanley Cup Final, often in best-of-seven series.
The Stanley Cup Final is the playoffs' final round. It consists of a best-of-seven series between the Eastern and Western Conference winners. The Stanley Cup is awarded to the first team to win all four games of the NHL championship, claiming victory.
Stanley Cup’s Winners List
The Stanley Cup was a challenge cup open to all teams before 1927, not just the NHL teams. The Western Hockey League (WHL), the final non-NHL league to compete for the cup, collapsed and sold its assets to the NHL in 1926, so the NHL champions changed after 1927.
The NHL was the only league with teams that qualified for the cup. The NHL and the Cup trustees came to an agreement in 1947, giving the league sovereignty over the cup and the right to veto challenges from other leagues. Since then, the NHL playoff champion has been the only recipient of the Stanley Cup.
|1928||New York Rangers|
|1932||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|1933||New York Rangers|
|1934||Chicago Black Hawks|
|1936||Detroit Red Wings|
|1937||Detroit Red Wings|
|1938||Chicago Black Hawks|
|1940||New York Rangers|
|1942||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|1943||Detroit Red Wings|
|1945||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|1946||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|1947||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|1948||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|1949||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|1950||Detroit Red Wings|
|1951||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|1952||Detroit Red Wings|
|1954||Detroit Red Wings|
|1955||Detroit Red Wings|
|1961||Chicago Black Hawks|
|1962||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|1963||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|1964||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|1967||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|1980||New York Islanders|
|1981||New York Islanders|
|1982||New York Islanders|
|1983||New York Islanders|
|1994||New York Rangers|
|1995||New Jersey Devils|
|1997||Detroit Red Wings|
|1998||Detroit Red Wings|
|2000||New Jersey Devils|
|2002||Detroit Red Wings|
|2003||New Jersey Devils|
|2004||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|2008||Detroit Red Wings|
|2012||Los Angeles Kings|
|2013||Chicago Black Hawks|
|2014||Los Angeles Kings|
|2019||St. Louis Blues|
|2020||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|2021||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|2023||Vegas Golden Knights|
A. The Stanley Cup is a trophy given to the NHL's champion team at the end of each season.
A. The Stanley Cup began in 1892 when Lord Stanley gave it to Canada's best amateur hockey club.
A. The NHL uses the Stanley Cup, but they don't officially own it. Two Canadian trustees manage it.
A. Ian "Scotty" Morrison is the current trustee of the Stanley Cup.
A. Playoffs are a tournament after the regular season, and the final is the last series to determine the champion.