Stanley Cup Finals
Stanley Cup no background
The Stanley Cup is awarded to the winner of the Final series.
Established: 1915
Most recent: 2016

The Stanley Cup Finals are the championship series to determine the winner of the Stanley Cup, emblematic of the professional club championship of ice hockey. The original Stanley Cup Final originated as a 'World Series' between the National Hockey Association (NHA) and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA). Today, the Final is contested as the championship series of the National Hockey League (NHL). It is a best-of-seven series played between the champions of the Eastern and Western Conferences.


The Stanley Cup had been won and contested since 1893, when the Montreal Hockey Club was the first winner, for winning the 1893 AHAC season. The Cup winner would then have to defend its championship both through league championships and challenge games or series organized by the Stanley Cup trustees.

This changed in 1914 with the inauguration of the first "World Series" of ice hockey,[1] a series between the Stanley Cup and league champion Toronto Blueshirts of the National Hockey Association (NHA) and the Victoria Aristocrats, champions of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA). Since the Aristocrats never formally submitted a challenge, the Cup trustees viewed the series as illegitimate. However, the controversy was moot as Toronto successfully defended the Cup by sweeping a best-of-five series.[2] This was the start of the end of the influence of the Stanley Cup trustees on the challengers and series for the Cup.

Victoria vs. Toronto

Date Winning Team Score Losing Team Rules Notes
March 14, 1914Toronto Blueshirts5–2Victoria Aristocrats NHA
March 17, 1914Toronto Blueshirts6–5Victoria Aristocrats PCHA 15:00, OT
March 19, 1914Toronto Blueshirts2–1Victoria Aristocrats NHA
Toronto wins best-of-five series 3 games to 0

All games played at Arena Gardens in Toronto.

One year later, the NHA and the PCHA concluded a gentlemen's agreement in which their respective champions would face each other for the Cup. Under the new proposal, the Stanley Cup championship finals alternated between the East and the West each year, with alternating games played according to NHA and PCHA rules.[3] The Cup trustees agreed to this new arrangement, because after the Allan Cup became the highest prize for amateur hockey teams in Canada, the trustees had become dependent on the top two professional leagues to bolster the prominence of the trophy.[4] After the Portland Rosebuds, an American-based team, joined the PCHA in 1914, the trustees issued a statement that the Cup was no longer for the best team in Canada, but now for the best team in the world.[3] Two years later, the Rosebuds became the first American team to play in the Stanley Cup championship final.[4] In 1917, the Seattle Metropolitans became the first American team to win the Cup.[5] After that season, the NHA dissolved, and the National Hockey League (NHL) took its place.[3]

In 1919, the Spanish influenza epidemic forced the Montreal Canadiens and the Seattle Metropolitans to cancel their series tied at 2–2–1, marking the first time the Stanley Cup was not awarded.[6]

The format for the Stanley Cup championship changed in 1922, with the creation of the Western Canada Hockey League (WCHL). Now three leagues competed for the Cup and this necessitated a semi-final series between two league champions, with the third having a bye directly to the final.[7] In 1924, the PCHA and the WCHL merged to form the Western Hockey League (WHL) and the championship reverted to a single series.[8] After winning in the 1924–25 season, the Victoria Cougars became the last team outside the NHL to win the Stanley Cup.[9]

The WHL folded in 1926, and its assets were bought by the NHL. This left the NHL as the only league left competing for the Cup. Other leagues and clubs have issued challenges, but from that year forward, no non-NHL team has played for it, leading it to become the de facto championship trophy of the NHL.[8] In 1947, the NHL reached an agreement with trustees P. D. Ross and Cooper Smeaton to grant control of the cup to the NHL, allowing the league itself to reject challenges from other leagues that may have wished to play for the Cup.[10][11] A 2006 Ontario Superior Court case found that the trustees had gone against Lord Stanley's conditions in the 1947 agreement.[12] The NHL has agreed to allow other teams to play for the Cup should the league not be operating, as was the case in the 2004–05 NHL lockout.[11]


For more details on this topic, see List of Stanley Cup Final broadcasters.

The first television broadcast of a Final was in 1953. It was broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), with the play-by-play called by Danny Gallivan and colour commentary by Keith Dancy, hosted by Wes McKnight. The Hockey Night in Canada team would cover the next eight Finals. Gallivan would call his last Final in 1978. At the same time, CBC's Télévision de Radio-Canada (TRC) division broadcast the series in French, called by René Lecavalier, with colour commentary by Jean-Maurice Bailly. CBC remains the exclusive English-language broadcaster of the Finals. TRC broadcast the Finals until 2003 when Réseau des sports (RDS) took over the broadcast.

The first United States broadcast of a Stanley Cup Final was in 1962, covered by Chicago station WGN. Network broadcasts started in 1966 on NBC. The Finals have been broadcast by NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox and Hughes broadcast networks and the ESPN, USA, SportsChannel America and the current Versus cable networks. Several Finals were carried on syndication through the 1970s NHL Network and the 1966 RKO General network. In 2010, several games were carried on NBC and several on Versus. This splitting of coverage on cable/broadcast networks originated in 1995 with a partnership of ESPN and Fox.

Series formatEdit

The championship series began with the 'Worlds Series' played in one city. The series alternated between a rink of the NHA and later the NHL and a rink of the PCHA and later the WCHL/WHL. It was not until the demise of the WHL, that the Final series alternated games between the two finalists' home ice.

The series allowed ties until 1928. As the two and later three leagues differed, the series would alternate using each league's rules. The PCHA continued to use seven-man team play, and games would alternate with six and seven-man games.

The first NHL-only Final took place in 1927, between the Boston Bruins and the Ottawa Senators, it was planned to be a best-of-three series, although the series allowed ties. The series ended after four games, when the Senators defeated the Bruins in the fourth game.

Years Format Notes
1914 best-of-five Unofficial
1915–1922 best-of-five
1923–1924 best-of-three
1925–1926 best-of-five
1927 best-of-three Ties allowed, series ended in four games.
1928 best-of-five
1929–1930 best-of-three
1931–1938 best-of-five
1939–present best-of-seven


These are the most recent Stanley Cup Finals.

Season Winning team Coach Losing team Coach Games Winning goal
2006 Carolina Hurricanes (EC) Peter Laviolette Edmonton Oilers (WC) Craig MacTavish 4–3 Frantisek Kaberle (4:18, second)
2007 Anaheim Ducks (WC) Randy Carlyle Ottawa Senators (EC) Bryan Murray 4–1 Travis Moen (15:44, second)
2008 Detroit Red Wings (WC) Mike Babcock Pittsburgh Penguins (EC) Michel Therrien 4–2 Henrik Zetterberg (7:36, third)
2009 Pittsburgh Penguins (EC) Dan Bylsma Detroit Red Wings (WC) Mike Babcock 4–3 Maxime Talbot (10:07, second)
2010 Chicago Blackhawks (WC) Joel Quenneville Philadelphia Flyers (EC) Peter Laviolette 4–2 Patrick Kane (4:06, OT)

2012 LA KingsEdit

Appearances in a FinalEdit

Appearances Team Wins Losses Win % Years of Appearance
34 [3] Montreal Canadiens (NHA/NHL) 24 9 .727 1916, 1917, 1919, 1924, 1925, 1930, 1931, 1944, 1946, 1947, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1986, 1989, 1993
24 Detroit Red Wings 11 13 .458 1934, 1936, 1937, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1945, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2008, 2009
21 Toronto Maple Leafs [1] 13 8 .619 1918, 1922, 1932, 1933, 1935, 1936, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1942, 1945, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1959, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1967
19 Boston Bruins 6 13 .316 1927, 1929, 1930, 1939, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1953, 1957, 1958, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1988, 1990, 2011, 2013,
13 Chicago Blackhawks [2] 6 7 .462 1931, 1934, 1938, 1944, 1961, 1962, 1965, 1971, 1973, 1992, 2010, 2013, 2015

^ 1. The Toronto Maple Leafs won the Cup in 1918 as the Toronto Blueshirts, and in 1922 as the Toronto St. Patricks.
^ 2. The Chicago Blackhawks were known as the Chicago Black Hawks prior to the 1986–87 season.
^ 3. The Montreal Canadiens totals include the 1919 Stanley Cup Finals that ended with a no-decision because of the Spanish flu epidemic.



  • Most consecutive appearances: Montreal Canadiens (10 in 19511960)[13]
  • Most consecutive wins: Montreal Canadiens (5 in 19561960)[14]
  • Most consecutive losses: St. Louis Blues (3 in 19681970)
  • Most appearances without a loss: Montreal Canadiens (9 from 1968 to 1986)
  • Most appearances without a win: Toronto Maple Leafs (6 from 1933 to 1940), Detroit Red Wings (6 from 1956 to 1995), Philadelphia Flyers (6 from 1976 to 2010)
  • Most seasons between wins: New York Rangers (53 between 1940 and 1994)
  • Most seasons between appearances: Toronto Maple Leafs (44 between 1967 and present)

Stanley Cup Final consecutive appearances Edit

Team Stanley Cup Final appearance streak Consecutive Stanley Cup Final appearances Stanley Cup championships during streak
Montreal Canadiens 10 seasons 1950–51 through to 1959–60 6 : 1952–53, 1955–56, 1956–57, 1957–58, 1958–59, 1959–60
Montreal Canadiens 05 seasons 1964–65 through to 1968–69 4 : 1964–65, 1965–66, 1967–68, 1968–69
New York Islanders 05 seasons 1979–80 through to 1983–84 4 : 1979–80, 1980–81, 1981–82, 1982–83
Montreal Canadiens 04 seasons 1975–76 through to 1978–79 4 : 1975–76, 1976–77, 1977–78, 1978–79
Detroit Red Wings 03 seasons 1940–41 through to 1942–43 1 : 1942–43
Toronto Maple Leafs 03 seasons 1946–47 through to 1948–49 3 : 1946–47, 1947–48, 1948–49
Detroit Red Wings 03 seasons 1947–48 through to 1949–50 1 : 1949–50
Detroit Red Wings 03 seasons 1953–54 through to 1955–56 2 : 1953–54, 1954–55
Toronto Maple Leafs 03 seasons 1961–62 through to 1963–64 3 : 1961–62, 1962–63, 1963–64
St. Louis Blues 03 seasons 1967–68 through to 1969–70 none
Philadelphia Flyers 03 seasons 1973–74 through to 1975–76 2 : 1973–74, 1974–75
Edmonton Oilers 03 seasons 1982–83 through to 1984–85 2 : 1983–84, 1984–85



See alsoEdit


  • Coleman, Charles (1964–1969). The Trail of the Stanley Cup vols. 1–3. Sherbrooke Daily Record Company Ltd., NHL. 
  • Diamond, Dan; Eric Zweig, and James Duplacey (2003). The Ultimate Prize: The Stanley Cup. Andrews McMeel Publishing. ISBN 0-7407-3830-5. 
  • (1992) in Diamond, Dan: The Official National Hockey League Stanley Cup Centennial Book. Firefly Books. ISBN 1-895565-15-4. 
  • (2000) in Diamond, Dan: Total Stanley Cup. Total Sports Canada. ISBN 1892129078. 
  • (2008) in McCarthy, Dave: The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book/2009. Dan Diamond Associates. ISBN 978-1-894801-14-0. 
  • Podnieks, Andrew; Hockey Hall of Fame (2004). Lord Stanley's Cup. Triumph Books. ISBN 1-55168-261-3. 
  1. 1.0 1.1 Diamond, Zweig, and Duplacey, p. 25
  2. Diamond(1992), p. 46
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Diamond, Zweig, and Duplacey, p. 20
  4. 4.0 4.1 Diamond(1992), p. 45
  5. Stanley Cup Winners: Seattle Metropolitians 1916–17. Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved on 2006-07-11.
  6. Podnieks, p. 51
  7. Diamond, Zweig, and Duplacey, pp. 20–21
  8. 8.0 8.1 Diamond, Zweig, and Duplacey, p. 21
  9. Stanley Cup Winners: Victoria Cougars 1924–25. Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved on 2006-07-11.
  10. Diamond, Zweig and Duplacey, p. 40.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Court:Non-NHL teams could vie for Cup. TSN (2006-02-07). Retrieved on 2008-04-18.
  12. Amateurs taking NHL to court to play for Cup. ESPN (2005-04-13). Retrieved on 2007-10-13.
  13. Diamond(2000), p. 57
  14. Diamond(2000), p. 76
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 15.7 Diamond(2000), p. 88
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Diamond(2000), p. 89

External linksEdit

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