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The Prince of Wales Trophy, also known as the Wales Trophy, is an award presented by the National Hockey League (NHL) to the Eastern Conference (formerly the Wales Conference) playoff champions, prior to the final series of games for the Stanley Cup. Named for Prince Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII, and then Duke of Windsor), the cup was first presented in the 1925–26 NHL season to the champion of the first game in Madison Square Gardenmarker and then subsequently presented to the champion of the NHL playoffs (including the previous two seasons); however, the trophy has been awarded for eight different accomplishments throughout its history, including for the NHL regular season champions, the American Division regular season champions, the East Division season champions, the Wales Conference regular season champions, the Wales Conference playoff champions, and the Eastern Conference playoff champions. The Prince of Wales Trophy is currently held by the Pittsburgh Penguins, who have won it consecutively in 2008 and 2009.

History

The Prince of Wales Trophy was first announced in December 1925. The trophy, sponsored by the Prince of Wales and bearing the royal coat of arms cost $2,500, and was to be in the possession of the league champion. It was originally awarded to the winner of the first game played in Madison Square Gardenmarker on December 15, 1925 (Montreal Canadiens 3 at NY Americans 1) and then held by the Canadiens until the end of the season. During the 1925–26 season, the Montreal Canadiens engraved their name on the trophy twice, for the two proceeding seasons.

It was then awarded to the NHL playoff champion in 1925–26 and 1926–27, (replacing the O'Brien Cup) before that team would go on to face the Western Hockey League (WHL) champion for the Stanley Cup. After the demise of the WHL, however, the Stanley Cup was awarded exclusively to the NHL playoff champion, and the Wales Trophy was given to the regular season champion. From 1927 on, the trophy was awarded to the champion of the American Division of the NHL, while the O'Brien Cup was presented to the Canadian Division champion, until 1938, when, after the NHL reverted to a single division, the Wales Trophy was made the award for the overall regular season champion.

With the expansion of the NHL in 1967, and the creation of the Western Division, the Wales Trophy was given to the team that finished in first place in the Eastern Division, during the regular season. When the league formed two conferences in 1974, the cup transferred to the team that finished with the best regular season record in the Wales Conference, until 1981, when the NHL changed its playoff format so that the two teams meeting in the Stanley Cup finals could no longer come from the same conference, and the Prince of Wales Trophy was presented to the Wales Conference playoff champions. By 1994, the trophy was awarded to the Eastern Conference playoff champions.

Superstition

The Deputy Commissioner of the NHL presents the trophy to the captain of the winning team. However, a traditional superstition that is prevalent among many of today's NHL players is that no player should either touch or hoist the Prince of Wales (Eastern Conference champion) or Campbell (Western Conference champion) Trophies after they have won the conference playoffs; the players feel that the Stanley Cup is the true championship trophy and thus it should be the only trophy that they should be hoisting. In recent years, the captain of the winning team poses (usually looking solemn) with the trophy, and sometimes, the entire team poses as well. This superstition was ignored after the 2003 Eastern Conference final by New Jersey Devils captain Scott Stevens, who handed the trophy around to the whole team. They would then go on to victory in the Stanley Cup Final against the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Despite the superstition, the Pittsburgh Penguins are undefeated in the Stanley Cup finals when touching the Prince of Wales trophy. Former captain and current owner Mario Lemieux picked up the trophy after winning it in 1991 and 1992 on the way to winning the Stanley Cup both years. Current Penguins captain Sidney Crosby ignored the superstition in 2009 en route to winning the Stanley Cup after having avoided touching the trophy in 2008 and losing in the finals.


Winners

Total awards won
Wins Team
25 Montreal Canadiens
15 Boston Bruins
13 Detroit Red Wings
4 New Jersey Devils
Pittsburgh Penguins
3 Buffalo Sabres
New York Islanders
New York Rangers
Philadelphia Flyers
2 Carolina Hurricanes
Chicago Black Hawks
Toronto Maple Leafs
1 Florida Panthers
Montreal Maroons
Ottawa Senators
Ottawa Senators 1
Tampa Bay Lightning
Washington Capitals


Key
  • * Defunct team
  • ^ = Year clinched to lead years won
  • ¤ = Year clinched to lead years consecutively won
  • † = Eventual Stanley Cup champions
  • a = Engraved in 1925-26.


Original winner



1923-1925 (pre-donation) engravings

The Canadiens were league champions for these seasons.

Season Winner Win #
Montreal Canadiensa 1
Montreal Canadiens 2


NHL playoff champions (1925–1926)

Season Winner Win #
Montreal Maroons * † 1


NHL regular season champions (1926–27)

Season Winner Win #
Ottawa Senators 1 *† 1

American Division regular season champions (1927–38)

Season Winner Win #
Boston Bruins 1
Boston Bruins 2
Boston Bruins 3
Boston Bruins 4
New York Rangers 1
Boston Bruins 5
Detroit Red Wings 1
Boston Bruins 6
Detroit Red Wings 2
Detroit Red Wings 3
Boston Bruins 7

Regular Season champions (1938–67)

Season Winner Win #
Boston Bruins 8
Boston Bruins 9
Boston Bruins 10
New York Rangers 2
Detroit Red Wings 4
Montreal Canadiens 3
Montreal Canadiens 4
Montreal Canadiens 5
Montreal Canadiens 6
Toronto Maple Leafs 1
Detroit Red Wings 5
Detroit Red Wings 6
Detroit Red Wings 7
Detroit Red Wings 8
Detroit Red Wings 9
Detroit Red Wings ¤ † 10
Detroit Red Wings 11
Montreal Canadiens 7
Detroit Red Wings 12
Montreal Canadiens 8
Montreal Canadiens 9
Montreal Canadiens 10
Montreal Canadiens 11
Montreal Canadiens 12
Toronto Maple Leafs 2
Montreal Canadiens 13
Detroit Red Wings 13
Montreal Canadiens 14
Chicago Black Hawks 1

East Division regular season champions (1967–74)

Season Winner Win #
Montreal Canadiens 15
Montreal Canadiens ^ † 16
Chicago Black Hawks 2
Boston Bruins 11
Boston Bruins 12
Montreal Canadiens 17
Boston Bruins 13

Wales Conference regular season champions (1974–81)

Season Winner Win #
Buffalo Sabres 1
Montreal Canadiens 18
Montreal Canadiens 19
Montreal Canadiens 20
Montreal Canadiens 21
Buffalo Sabres 2
Montreal Canadiens 22

Wales Conference playoffs champions (1981–93)

Season Winner Win #
New York Islanders 1
New York Islanders 2
New York Islanders 3
Philadelphia Flyers 1
Montreal Canadiens 23
Philadelphia Flyers 2
Boston Bruins 14
Montreal Canadiens 24
Boston Bruins 15
Pittsburgh Penguins 1
Pittsburgh Penguins 2
Montreal Canadiens 25

Eastern Conference playoffs champions (1993–present)

Season Winner Win #
New York Rangers 3
New Jersey Devils 1
Florida Panthers 1
Philadelphia Flyers 3
Washington Capitals 1
Buffalo Sabres 3
New Jersey Devils 2
New Jersey Devils 3
Carolina Hurricanes 1
New Jersey Devils 4
Tampa Bay Lightning 1
-
Carolina Hurricanes 2
Ottawa Senators 1
Pittsburgh Penguins 3
Pittsburgh Penguins 4


Notes
Refers to the original Ottawa Senators NHL franchise (1917–1934).

References



External links




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