The Canadian Cup Drought

Madden Rausch, Staff Writer

The sport of hockey is mostly associated with Canada, the United States, Russia, Sweden, and a few more countries. However only two countries are in the National Hockey League, those two being the United States and Canada. And ever since 1993, when the Montreal Canadiens won their 25th Stanley Cup, the nation of Canada hasn’t seen an NHL champion since. Here’s why the drought started and why it will continue.

Canada’s NHL teams in the Stanley Cup finals from 1994-present:

The teams have fallen short in the times they have made the championship. The year after 1993, the Vancouver Canucks could’ve had back-to-back Canadian champions, but they lost to the Rangers. They were led by coach Mike Keenan in seven games and their fans rioted after this. He gutted the team when they brought him in as head coach and general manager which, led to years of rebuilding until 2011. When they made it back to the cup with former captain goalie Roberto Luongo, they lost in seven to the Boston Bruins. Their fans subsequently rioted again causing even more damage.

The Canucks were not the only team to make the finals, another team was the Calgary Flames. They made it to the finals in 2005, with star winger Jarome Iginla and faced off against Tampa Bay Lightning. In Game Six, Calgary held a 3-2 series lead and a 2-2 tie. Tampa won that game and won game 7 in double overtime. They couldn’t get it done again, a recurring trend.

Edmonton had some success without the Great one, Wayne Gretzky, but nothing more than bowing out in the playoffs. Long past the days of Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky winning cups, and before Connor McDavid became the best player in the NHL, the team had made the finals against the Carolina Hurricanes. With Dwayne Rollison in the net, they looked formidable, in a hard-fought series there was no controversy they just lost in 7. A painful way to go out for the Oilers as their run went dry.

The Ottawa Senators have had little success in the NHL since its inception in 1992, from 4 of the most brutal, terrible seasons in the NHL to the Stanley Cup in 2007. They ran into a Ducks team with Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer and completely folded in five. Things would not get better for the Sens as pain and going into full rebuild a little over a decade later has led to mixed results.

Even when a team has a flukey run, you have to capitalize on it. In 2021 the Montreal Canadiens had a magical run with memories being made by coming back 3-1 against the Maple Leafs, to beating a heavily favored Golden Knights roster, it was a great underdog story. They were cooked in the Stanley Cup final against the Tampa Bay Lightning, who had been alleged of circumventing the salary cap during the playoffs but did nothing wrong in the league CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement). After the final they lost their captain Shea Weber to an ankle injury, their star goalie Carey Price went to rehab for substance abuse, and some star forwards and veteran leadership, they hit the salary cap. They had fallen all the way to dead last in their division and are in full rebuild mode with 1st overall pick Juraj Slavkowsky, star center Nick Suzuki, and the University of Wisconsin forward Cole Caufield.

Why Canada will not see an NHL Champion in the short-term future.

After everything just listed, I don’t see a Canadian team making it to the Stanley Cup this year or in the future. They just don’t have the talent up to par like teams in the United States. The Oilers have no depth, The Senators are not a cup-contending team, The Maple Leafs haven’t won a series since 2004, The Jets are overachievers, The Flames are underachievers, The Canadiens are building, and the Canucks are in their own world of failure. Sure, one of these teams could catch fire all the way to the cup, but it is not looking likely. The Canadian cup drought will continue.