Trophy for winning the North American ice hockey play-offs held at the end of the regular season in the National Hockey League (NHL). The Stanley Cup was donated in 1893 by Lord Stanley of Preston, the Governor General of Canada 1888–93, and since 1927 has been awarded exclusively to the winner of the National Hockey League (NHL) play-offs.
It was originally intended as a challenge cup to be presented to the ‘leading hockey club in Canada’ (this was intended to mean the leading amateur club). In 1914, however, it was awarded to the winner of a play-off between the winners of Canada's main professional leagues – the eastern National Hockey Association (NHA) and the western Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA). The NHA was disbanded in 1917 and replaced by the newly formed national Hockey League (NHL) whose first season ran 1917–18. In 1923 and 1924 the winners of the Western Canada Hockey League (WCHL) also competed for the cup. In 1924 the PCHA was disbanded. In the 1925–26 season the ECHL became the Western Hockey League after which it, too, was disbanded.
National Hockey League
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