In 1993 the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup, the ultimate prize in professional hockey. No Canadian team has won it since.
The Cup, donated by the Governor General of Canada more than a century ago to the best team in hockey, is a very Canadian thing. For decades only Canadian teams were eligible to win it. Then the National Hockey League took custody – and the league expanded to the United States and American teams started winning it.
The trophy used to come home every couple of years or so. The Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs have won it multiple times, as have the Edmonton Oilers. (The Ottawa Senators also claim cup wins, 15 if I remember correctly, but it was a different club and the last win was in 1927.)
This was going to the year the 30-year drought came to an end. Both Edmonton and Toronto had strong regular season records. An all-Canadian final was a good possibility. It isn’t going to happen.
First the Maple Leafs failed to live up to their potential against the Florida Panthers. Now the Oilers have lost to the Seattle Kraken. The dream is dead, at least for this year.
There are seven Canadian teams in the 32-team National Hockey League. Sixteen teams make the playoffs each year. One team wins the Cup. They say it is the toughest championship in sports to win.
If it was just random, a Canadian team would have won in the past 30 years. If it was soley on talent, the same thing – there have been some powerhouse Canadian teams in recent years.
But so much in sport is intangibles. A lucky bounce of the puck here, a bad penalty there and the next thing you know your favorite team is golfing while others are still playing hockey.
Life is like that sometimes. We all make plans and then something unexpected details them.
This spring I have been following the hockey playoffs closely for the first time in years. I’m not sure why, given that the Senators didn’t make it to the post-season. I think it was that hope for an all-Canadian final.
Now that dream has died. And my game-watching habit has been broken by travel and a shift in time zones. I’m not willing to watch games in the middle of the night.
The playoffs will still be ongoing when I return, but I wonder if I’ll have any interest in the outcome.
What about you? People from all over the world visit here daily. Pro sports aren’t a priority for many readers. And possibly hockey even less so, except for the Canadians.
Are you following The Stanley Cup playoffs? Or have you put any passion for hockey on hold till next year?