Hockey is, historically, a much bigger deal in Canada than it is in most of the United States. Their love of the sport is well-documented, and with seven teams in the NHL, one might think that a Canadian team would consistently be hoisting the Stanley Cup in June. This is not the case, however. A Canadian team has not won the Stanley Cup in quite some time.
Who was the last Canadian team to lift the Stanley Cup?
The last Canadian team to hoist the Stanley Cup was the 1993 Montreal Canadiens, and they did so with a mostly Canadian roster. Led by captain Guy Carbonneau, the team had to face off against Wayne Gretzky’s Los Angeles Kings in the Finals en-route to the win. Surprisingly, they were able to do so and do so quite easily, disposing of the Kings in only five games.
That team lost the first game of the Stanley Cup Finals but was able to come back and win a series that was much closer than the five-games would suggest. The next three games would all be overtime wins, and Carbonneau and the crew deserve all the credit for pulling out such a gutsy win. But why hasn’t Canada managed to do this more?
A history of Canadian Stanley Cup champions
Canada’s history in the Stanley Cup was not always so dire. Leading up to their 1993 championship season, the Canadiens had 24 Stanley Cup titles dating back to 1916. The Toronto Maple Leafs also had a history of winning before their recent stretch of less-than-memorable play.
The Maple Leafs had 13 Stanley Cup wins, the second-most in the history of the NHL. The Edmonton Oilers have the sixth-most with five.
Fans are dying to break the spell. Although the defending NBA Champions hail from Toronto and the country got behind the Toronto Raptors in the process, Canada is still a hockey nation.
A desire to win the Stanley Cup
According to former Maple Leafs’ general manager Gord Stellick, the desire for Canada to win another Stanley Cup goes far deeper than team pride, it goes into national pride. Mathematically speaking, at least one Canadian team should have won the Stanley Cup Championship since 1993.
“I think in Canada, we cheer for our particular NHL team.” Stellick said, “But we also cheer for the other Canadian based teams because this has been a drought that’s been a little too long. If you spun the roulette wheel over 25 years, with one in 5 odds, you should have got a Stanley Cup.”
The sport continues to be dominated by Canadian players. This means Canada still can have some pride in the fact that their countrymen are doing their best to bring their teams to victory. However, the country wants validation for their teams, as well.
Many thought that the Winnipeg Jets would have a shot at the title last year, but they were eliminated in the fifth game of the Western Conference Finals.
Will it happen soon?
A Canadian team will most likely win another championship, it is just a matter of who can rise atop the rest and get the job done when the season matters most. According to the NHL Future Odds at VegasInsider.com, the Toronto Maple Leafs have the best odds at adding to their trophy case in 2020 with 10/1 odds. Behind them are the Calgary Flames, who are tied with several American teams with 20/1 odds.
Winning another Stanley Cup will not be easy for whoever the next Canadian champion is. But as the league has seen with the emergence of the Las Vegas Golden Knights from expansion team to contender, hockey can move quickly. The country, its fans, and all of the Canadian teams will just have to be patient and savor the moment when it finally comes.