No Stanley Cup for Canadian teams for 30 years

Sean Horcoff remembers tapping his shoulder as he put the gas in his car.

Wade Redden will never forget the many fans waiting at the airport.

Jannik Hansen couldn’t take two steps to the grocery store without receiving an appreciative smile or a word of encouragement.

Playing for a Canadian NHL team is a completely different experience. For a good streak in the playoffs, ending with participation in the final, in these crazy cities hockey reaches another level.

The Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs were both eliminated in the second round of this playoff game bringing the number of consecutive years without a Stanley Cup to a Canadian team to 30.

It’s been a long time since Patrick Roy and the Montreal Canadiens, who have a record 10-game winning streak, celebrated their 24th win.H title in front of their supporters.

Six teams have come close to repeating the feat north of the border since that hot night in June 1993. None of them have succeeded. But their memories, both good and bad, linger.

Photo by Robert Skinner, Press Archives

Wade Redden (left)

“Everyone in this town was totally engrossed,” Horcoff, a member of the Oilers group, said in 2006. “It was the only thing people were thinking about.”

“Those were very special times,” recalls Redden, the 2007 Ottawa Senator.

Four years later, it was the Vancouver Canucks and Hansen’s turn to bring home the trophy.

“Those were the best times of our lives,” Redden added. It was very exciting. »

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The Canucks (1994 and 2011), Calgary Flames (2006), Sens (2007), and Canadiens (2021) all came up short. Four of those series—1994, 2004, 2006, and 2011—have reached the seven-game limit.

Photo by Bernard Brault, Press Archives

Craig Conroy

Of the six teams that have defeated the Canadian Battalion, four have come from non-traditional hockey markets, including Tampa (2004 and 2021), Carolina (2006) and Anaheim (2007).

The Maple Leafs have not reached the Final since their victory in 1967. The Winnipeg Jets made it to the Western Final in 2018.

“When you see clubs (in the south of the US) win, you think the fans and the media shouldn’t be so invested,” Redden said. This is what makes things so special. It would be nice to win a cup. Winning in a Canadian city would be the pinnacle. »

Not only did Craig Conroy, a member of the 2004 Calgary Flames who were beaten by the Lightning in seven games, see the positives in the greater attention the players were receiving.

“It was unifying,” said He, who is now Calgary’s assistant general manager. “It was even more exciting because the fans were just as equal.”

Added to the experience, added Horcoff, also assistant general manager, but in Detroit. You want to measure yourself in this kind of high-pressure situation. »

Dave Babych, a member of the 1994 Canucks team that lost in seven games to the New York Rangers, is still under arrest by fans who want to talk about the series.

Photo by John Ulan, Canadian Press Archive

Sean Horcoff

I’m old and my hair has changed color, but the memories remain. […] This generation who tried this with us, it’s crazy…”

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But all of these players will never forget the moment the dream faded away.

Brendan Gallagher would prefer to forget the moments after the fifth and final game of the 2021 Finals against the Lightning. For his part, Babych never saw a Game 7 against the Rangers again.

“And maybe I will never see him. I don’t care. It still hurts to think about it.”

Will this pain go away?

“No,” Horcoff dropped curtly. Still going strong. »

Hansen, who lives in Vancouver with his family, says it’s hard not to think about what would have happened if the Canucks, who were leading 3-2, had won.

“We are constantly reminded of that. If we had won, you would have had a ring, and we would have been immortal. You are a champion your whole life. There is some bitterness every time the play-offs resume, especially in the final. It could have been us. But I’m not angry.” Like I used to be. But when you think about it… Shit! Sucks!”

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