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The Stanley Cup is considered the hardest to win trophy in North American sports. For over a century, teams have fought hard to win the cup, and in the NHL era, a select few teams have been crowned champion.
The thing is, the Stanley Cup has been around for a long time, and there are some very interesting early Stanley Cup champions and some very interesting facts surrounding them.
Here are the coolest facts about early Stanley Cup Champions. These facts cover the years before the NHL was created.
- The first team to win the Stanley Cup was the Montreal Hockey Club, who took home the prize in 1893. They didn’t even have to play for the Cup to win it. As the champion for placing first in the regular season, they were awarded the Cup. This was the last time no game was played for the Stanley Cup.
- The first team to win the Stanley Cup outside of Quebec were the Winnipeg Victorias. They would win the Stanley Cup in 1896. They defeated the Montreal Victorias in a single game challenge, 2-0. They would win the Stanley Cup again in 1901 and 1902 as well.
- In 1905, the Ottawa Senators had won the Cup and they celebrated pretty hard with it. After a banquet, one of the players kicked the Cup into the Rideau Canal. The players continued on their way and the next day they had to go retrieve it. Harry Smith, the most responsible man on the team, was asked to keep it for safekeeping.
- The Montreal Wanderers won the Stanley Cup in 1907 and took it to he home of the team’s photographer. They promptly forgot it there and the mother of the photographer, not realizing what it was, turned it into a flower pot until the team came back for it.
- The first team to ever engrave its name on the bowl of the Stanley Cup, now a common practice, were the same 1906-07 Montreal Wanderers.
- Kenora is the team from the smallest community to win the Stanley Cup. The town of 4,000 had Cup champions in 1907 when the Kenora Thistles beat the Montreal Wanderers. You can learn all about that team on a previous blog post here
- In 1905, a team from Dawson City travelled for 23 days by train, boat and dogsled to get to Ottawa to play the Ottawa Silver Seven for the Cup. In two games, they lost 9-2 and 22-3.
- Attached to that previous fact, there is Frank McGee, a player for the Silver Seven, who scored 14 goals in one Stanley Cup game.
- The last Stanley Cup champion of the Challenge Era was the Toronto Hockey Club. They defeated the Victoria Aristocrats three games to none to capture the trophy. The next year, the Cup was awarded to the Vancouver Millionaires. That was the first year that the champions of the pro leagues (NHA, PCHA and Maritime) competed together for the Cup.
- In the 1903 Stanley Cup competition between the Montreal Hockey Club and the Winnipeg Victorias, the game went long and was tied 2-2 at midnight. The Mayor of Westmount would not allow the game to be played on Sunday, so the game was scrapped and a new game was played on Feb. 2. Montreal would win that game.
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