Ice Hockey Wiki
O'Brien Trophy
O'Brien Trophy.jpg
Established 1910
Current holder None (Retired trophy)
Awarded to the 1910–17: NHA champion
1918–1923: NHL playoff champion
1927–1938: NHL Canadian Division Champion
1939–50: NHL Playoff Runner-Up

The O'Brien Trophy is a retired trophy that was awarded in the National Hockey Association and the National Hockey League ice hockey leagues of North America from 1910 to 1950. It was originally donated to the NHA by Canadian Senator M.J. O'Brien in honor of his son, Ambrose O'Brien, and has been awarded under four definitions: from the 1910 to 1916–17 NHA seasons, it was awarded to the NHA champion; for the 1917–18 season, the trophy was purchased by the NHL and awarded to the NHL playoff champion until 1923 after which it was retired; for the 1927–28 season, it was reactivated and awarded to the Canadian Division Champion until 1938; and starting with the 1938–39 season, it was awarded to the NHL Playoff Runner-Up. In 1950, the trophy was retired for a second time and has not been awarded since. The O'Brien Trophy has been awarded at the end of 37 seasons to 12 different teams.


The O'Brien Trophy was donated to the National Hockey Association by Canadian Senator Michael J. O'Brien in honor of his son, Ambrose O'Brien, who was credited with the formation of the National Hockey Association, the forerunner to the NHL. The Trophy was originally meant to be the league's championship.[1] After the NHA folded in 1917, the Trophy was taken over by the National Hockey League and awarded to the NHL champions and the winner of this trophy would move on to face the winners of other leagues for the Stanley Cup. After the donation of the Prince of Wales Trophy in 1924, the O'Brien Trophy was retired and was not awarded from 1924 to 1927. After the NHL expanded to two divisions in 1928, the Trophy was reactivated and awarded to the winner of the Canadian Division, while the Prince of Wales Trophy was awarded to the winner of the American Division.[2] It would be awarded under this definition until the end of the 1937–38 season. The 1938-39 NHL season saw the NHL move back to a single division, and from that point to on it was awarded to the Stanley Cup runner-up. The O'Brien Trophy was not formally awarded from 1939 to 1943 and it would not be until 1944 that the winning teams from that period were inscribed on the Trophy. At the end of the 1949-50 NHL season, the Trophy was retired for a second time, and has not been awarded since.[1] It is now in the collection of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have won the trophy nine times, seven as the Maple Leafs, once as the St. Patricks and once as the Torontos. The Montreal Canadiens are second, having won the trophy eight times and the Detroit Red Wings have won the trophy the most times of any American team, having won it five times.


Total awards won
Wins Team
9 Toronto Maple Leafs (7 wins)
St. Patricks (1 win)
Toronto1 (1 win)
8 Montreal Canadiens
5 Detroit Red Wings
Ottawa Senators
2 Quebec Bulldogs
Montreal Maroons
Boston Bruins
1 Chicago Black Hawks
New York Rangers
Toronto Blueshirts
  • * = Defunct Teams
  • ^ =       Eventual Stanley Cup champions

NHA Champion[]

Season Winner Win #
1910 Montreal Wanderers * ^ 1
1911 Ottawa Senators * 1
1911–12 Quebec Bulldogs * ^ 1
1912–13 Quebec Bulldogs * ^ 2
1913–14 Toronto Blueshirts * ^ 1
1914–15 Ottawa Senators * 2
1915–16 Montreal Canadiens ^ 1
1916–17 Montreal Canadiens 1

NHL Playoff Champion[]

Frank Nighbor of the Ottawa Senators was a part of three O'Brien Trophy winning teams.

Season Winner Win #
1917–18 Toronto


1918–19 Montreal Canadiens 3
1919–20 Ottawa Senators * ^ 3
1920–21 Ottawa Senators * ^ 4
1921–22 Toronto St. Patricks ^
(Formerly Toronto)
1922–23 Ottawa Senators * ^ 5

NHL Canadian Division Champion[]

Season Winner Win #
1927–28 Toronto Maple Leafs
(Formerly Toronto St. Patricks)
1928–29 Montreal Canadiens 4
1929–30 Montreal Maroons * ^ 1
1930–31 Montreal Canadiens ^ 5
1931–32 Montreal Canadiens 6
1932–33 Toronto Maple Leafs 4
1933–34 Toronto Maple Leafs 5
1934–35 Toronto Maple Leafs 6
1935–36 Montreal Maroons * 2
1936–37 Montreal Canadiens 7
1937–38 Toronto Maple Leafs 7

NHL Playoff Runner-Up[]

Season Winner Win #
1938–39 Toronto Maple Leafs 8
1939–40 Toronto Maple Leafs 9
1940–41 Detroit Red Wings 1
1941–42 Detroit Red Wings 2
1942–43 Boston Bruins 1
1943–44 Chicago Black Hawks 1
1944–45 Detroit Red Wings 3
1945–46 Boston Bruins 2
1946–47 Montreal Canadiens 8
1947–48 Detroit Red Wings 4
1948–49 Detroit Red Wings 5
1949–50 New York Rangers 1


Note 1: The Toronto club was operated by Arena Co., and had no nickname from 1917 to 1918.


  1. 1.0 1.1 O'Brien Trophy history Trophy. Retrieved on 2007-09-24.
  2. History of the Prince of Wales Trophy. Retrieved on 2007-09-24.

See also[]