Interesting Fact About First American City to Celebrate Stanley Cup Title

The same city that played host to the first American-based Stanley Cup champion team has never been home to a National Hockey League (NHL) franchise.

Since 1927, the Stanley Cup playoffs have been contested solely by NHL teams. However, clubs in other leagues were allowed to attempt to win the coveted trophy prior to that point. Some of these leagues included the Western Canada Hockey League, Pacific Coast Hockey Association and Maritime Professional Hockey League. But, from 1893-1914, all of the teams that competed for the Stanley Cup were Canadian.

Then plans were put in the works in 1915 for a possible American champion. Starting that year, the National Hockey Association (NHA, the NHL’s predecessor) sent its champion to take on the title holders from the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) with the winner taking the trophy home. The latter league included one American team, the Portland Rosebuds. It only took one more season for Portland to win the league title, but the Rosebuds came just short of becoming the first American team to win the Stanley Cup, losing a five-game series with the Montreal Canadiens, 3-2. All five contests were played in the Quebec city as the amount of time that it took to travel that far was extensive then.

But the wait for an American champion only took one more season. However, it was Seattle that celebrated the achievement. The Metropolitans had entered the PCHA the previous year, won the league title the following season and knocked off the Canadiens in the 1917 Stanley Cup Finals, 3-1. All four games were played at the Seattle Ice Arena.

Interestingly, Seattle has never been awarded an NHL franchise. It came close to joining for the 1976-77 season, but plans fell through. Today, the city is considering building a new arena should it be granted an NHL or National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise.