Stanley Cup Champions Logos

The Stanley Cup is presented annually to the winner of the National Hockey League playoffs, a best-of-seven series between the winners of the NHL's Eastern and Western Conferences. It was first presented in 1893 to the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association.

The cup was donated by Lord Stanley of Preston in 1892, the Governor General of Canada at the time, and meant to be a challenege cup - much like a boxing championship belt - to be competed for and defended amongst amateur hockey clubs in Canada. Beginning in 1915 an agreement between the National Hockey Association and Pacific Coast Hockey Association led to a playoff series between the two league champions to determine the Stanley Cup Champion. Beginning in 1926 the cup was competed for by only the National Hockey League after several leagues out west went out of business. The cup officially became the NHL's championship title in 1947.

The cup was not awarded twice, in 1919 due to a flu epidemic striking the competing teams and again in 2005 due to a labour dispute between NHL team owners and players.