What was the First American Team to Win the Stanley Cup

What was the First American Team to Win the Stanley Cup?

The prestigious Stanley Cup has been around since 1892. The Montreal Hockey Club secured the Stanley Cup in 1893 and became the initial team with the Cup. The American teams came into the competition quite late.

Seattle Metropolitans won the Stanley Cup in 1917, becoming the first American team that wins the Stanley Cup. The Seattle Metropolitans belonged to the Pacific Coast Hockey League. On the other hand, the New York Rangers secured the Cup in 1928 and became the first NHL American team that was awarded the Cup.

A little confusing? Let’s discuss.

How was the Stanley Cup First Awarded?

Earlier in 1893, things were not the same as today. The Stanley Cup underwent various changes in the process of its being awarded. There have been three major stages:

  1. Challenge Cup era (1893-1914)

Lord Stanley had donated the Cup in 1892, after which it was commissioned. The Montreal Hockey Club became the earliest team to receive the Cup.

In this era, there used to be “challenges” among the hockey teams and the associations in Canada. Anyone who won the “challenge” would receive the Cup.

  1. NHL vs NHA/PCHA (1915-1926)

In the second stage, the Stanley Cup travelled to North America, the NHA/NHL vs the Pacific Coast Hockey League (PCHL).

In 1914, the trustees of the Cup decided that the Cup would be awarded to the best hockey team in the world. The Portland Rosebuds became the first American team that played for the Cup in 1916, while the Seattle Metropolitans of the PCHL were the first team to be awarded the Stanley Cup in 1917.

  1. NHL (1927 – Present)

The WHL/PCHA dissolved in 1926/1924, and the NHL emerged as the only available professional league. From 1927 to date, only an NHL team can receive the Stanley Cup.

The NHL had only four teams at its start in 1917: Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa, and Toronto. Boston Bruins became the initial team to join the NHL in 1924.

First American Stanley Cup Winners: Seattle Metropolitans 1917

The Pacific Coastal Hockey Association winners, the Seattle Metropolitans, competed against the NHL winners, the Montreal Canadiens, for the Cup.

Both the teams played the games in two different rule sets, one from the PCHA and the other from the NHL. The odd number games were played with the PCHA rules and the even-numbered with the NHL rules.

According to the PCHA rules, seven players played the game without restriction on the forward passes. In contrast, the NHL restricted the number of players in every match to six on each side and did not allow forward passes.

The Seattle Metropolitans won the series 3-1, with their best players being Bernie Morris and Hap Holmes. Morris had successfully scored 14 of the 23 goals that his team scored. The entire series was held at Seattle Ice Arena. Let us look at the game stats for this series.

DateWinning TeamGoalsLosing TeamRule Set
March 17Montreal Canadiens8–4Seattle MetropolitansPCHA
March 20Seattle Metropolitans6–1Montreal CanadiensNHA
March 23Seattle Metropolitans4–1Montreal CanadiensPCHA
March 26Seattle Metropolitans9–1Montreal CanadiensNHA
Table of First American Stanley Cup Winners: Seattle Metropolitans 1917

The Metropolitans had another series against the Canadiens in 1919. This time again, the Seattle Metropolitans seemed to be winning the Cup, but the series could not complete due to the Spanish flu.

First American NHL Stanley Cup Winners: New York Rangers 1928

The New York Rangers joined the NHL in the 1926-27 season. The NHL had two divisions then: the Canadian and American divisions. The Stanley Final used to be played among the winners of both the divisions for including the American teams in the competition.

The Montreal Maroons had won against the Ottawa Senators and then the Montreal Canadiens to qualify for the finals. On the other hand, the New York Rangers had won against the Boston Bruins for playing the final match against the Montreal Maroons.

Although the Boston Bruins had first joined the NHL and played the Stanley Cup final, they had lost to the Ottawa. But the New York Rangers won the Cup in their second year of joining the NHL against the Montreal Maroons 3-2.

Let us look into the game stats for this series among the Montreal Maroons and the New York Rangers.

April 5New York Rangers0-2Montreal Maroons0-1
April 7New York Rangers2-1 (OT)Montreal Maroons1-1
April 10New York Rangers0-2Montreal Maroons1-2
April 12New York Rangers1-0Montreal Maroons2-2
April 14New York Rangers2-1Montreal Maroons3-2
Table of First American NHL Stanley Cup Winners: New York Rangers 1928

And here, we end the story of the Stanley Cup and the teams and look at how far we have come today. Interestingly, most of the teams that win the Stanley Cup today are the American teams.

And Seattle has finally introduced a new team to NHL in the 2020-2021 season, the Seattle Kraken, the NHL’s 32nd club. We are looking forward to more gripping games in the future.

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