A professional team (the original OTTAWA SENATORS) first won the cup in 1909 and in 1926 it came under the exclusive control of the NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE.
Stanley CupThe Stanley Cup is the oldest trophy competed for by professional athletes in North America. Donated by Governor General Lord STANLEY in 1893 for presentation to the amateur hockey champions of Canada, it was first awarded to Montreal AAA (1892-93). Before professional hockey concentrated the sport in a few large urban centres, the cup was contested under a variety of formats and was captured by such far-flung teams as Winnipeg Victorias (1895-96, 1900-01), Ottawa Silver Seven (1902-03, 1903-04, 1904-05), Kenora Thistles (1906-07), the Vancouver Millionaires (1914-15), Seattle Metropolitans (1916-17) and Victoria Cougars (1924-25).
A professional team (the original OTTAWA SENATORS) first won the cup in 1909 and in 1926 it came under the exclusive control of the NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE. The MONTREAL CANADIENS, with 24 victories as of 1993 (including 5 straight 1956-60), have been by far the most successful team in Stanley Cup history, followed by the TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS with 11 wins.
In the 1980s the New York Islanders and the Edmonton OILERS dominated Stanley Cup play, each winning the cup 4 times. The 1990s saw much more parity in the league. The Oilers added a fifth win; the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings each managed back-to-back wins.
The cup was awarded in all but 2 years of its 100-plus year existence. The Spanish Flu, which claimed more than 21 million lives from 1918 to 1919, resulted in cancellation of the Stanley Cup finals although the season had already been played. Early in 2005, the NHL cancelled its entire 2004-2005 season due to its most bitter labour dispute ever between the National Hockey League Player's Association and the NHL team owners over a proposed players' salary cap. Cancellation of the entire season rendered the Stanley Cup finals impossible that year.
The cup itself has had a colourful history. It has been lost, misplaced and stolen (once from its home in the Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum). The original silver bowl is now on permanent display at the HOCKEY HALL OF FAME and a replica sits on top of the existing structure. The names of all the players on winning teams since 1930 are engraved on the base.
Dan Diamond, ed, The Official National Hockey League Stanley Cup Centennial Book (1992).