Montreal: The Promised Land of Hockey

In 1892, Lord Stanley of Preston (then Governor General of Canada) donated the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup to Canadian amateur hockey. Originally awarded to Canada’s amateur hockey teams who won a combination of challenge games and league play. It was first awarded in 1893 to the Montreal Hockey Club (also known as the  Montreal Amateur Athletic Association Winged Wheels) of the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada.

To date, it has been awarded 160 times. Since 1915, it was awarded once per year, and in that time only twice was it not awarded:

  • in 1919 the Montreal Canadiens were playing against the Seattle Metropolitans. After game 5 there was a record of 2-2-1 (each team won twice, and there was one tied game) when the series was cancelled because of the flu epidemic; and
  • In 2005 the series was cancelled due to the NHL lockout.

Some other interesting statistics (which are admittedly mostly about Montreal hockey):

  • stanley_cupThe Stanley Cup (The Cup) has been won 37 times by Montreal franchises;
  • Seven separate teams from Montreal have won The Cup (The MAAA Winged Wheels, The Victorias, The Shamrocks, Montreal AAA, The Wanderers, The Maroons, and of course twenty-four times by the Montreal Canadiens.
  • While the Montreal Canadiens have won The Cup 24 times, the first win in 1916 pre-dated the creation of the National Hockey League (NHL), and so they have only won the NHL championship 23 times.
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs are the only team to have won the cup under three different team names (also the Toronto Arenas and the Toronto St. Pats).
  • The top-five teams with the most Stanley Cup wins (modern era only) are all Original-Six teams (Montreal, Toronto, Detroit, Boston, Chicago).
  • A team called the Ottawa Senators won The Cup eleven times (7 pre-NHL, 4 modern era). That team folded in 1934. In 1992 a new franchise with the same name joined the NHL. Despite having no connection to the previous team other than geography, the Ottawa Senators fly eleven Stanley Cup banners in their arena, giving them the dubious distinction of Most Dishonest Club in Hockey.
  • The longest winning streak belongs,of course, to the Montreal Canadiens (1956-1960 – defeating Detroit in 56, Boston in 57-58, and Toronto in 59-60).
  • In the modern era, two teams are tied for the second-longest winning streak, having won The Cup four straight years – Montreal (1976-79) and the New York Islanders (1980-83).
  • Of the Original Six, the team with the longest Stanley Cup drought is the Toronto Maple Leafs (last win: 1967). Sadly, the runner up is the Montreal Canadiens (last win: 1993).
  • Of the teams currently playing, eighteen of them have won The Cup at least once (excluding the dishonest Senators – a possibly redundant term).
  • Of those 18 teams, five have won once, three have won twice, but only the New Jersey Devils have won three times.
  • There are two identical Stanley Cups; one resides in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
  • The Stanley Cup has a full-time guardian who is with The Cup always, wherever it goes.
  • In 1984, the owner of the championship Edmonton Oilers included his father’s name (Basil Pocklington) to be engraved onto The Cup… and it was. It was subsequently XXed out – You do not get to have your name on Lord Stanley’s Cup without earning that right. In 1993, following Montreal’s victory, the XXed out name was removed when the band on which it was engraved broke, and was replaced – minus the correction. Unfortunately, engravers accidentally misspelled the 1981 New York Islanders (misspelled Ilanders). Incidentally, the replica (that resides in the HHOF) does not include the XXed out name, nor the misspelled Ilanders.
  • Between 1956-1960 the Montreal Canadiens – backed by legendary goalie Jacques Plante – won the cup five times in a row. Somehow Mr. Plante’s name is spelled differently each time.

**Bonus Fun Fact: The Toronto  Maple Leafs are are the only franchise currently playing that have won The Cup, but never in my lifetime. (Again, discounting the Dishonest Senators)

May this year see Lord Stanley’s Cup return gloriously to Montreal. Go Habs Go!

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