The Stanley Cup is a championship trophy awarded yearly to the National Hockey League (NHL) playoff winners. It is North America's oldest professional sports trophy, being first presented in 1893.
The trophy is named after Lord Stanley of Preston, the Governor General of Canada, who donated it as an award to Canada's top-ranking amateur ice hockey club. The first Cup was awarded in 1893 to the Montreal Hockey Club.
The Stanley Cup winners from the first in 1893 until 1914 were determined by challenge games and league play. In 1915, the professional ice hockey organizations National Hockey Association (NHA) and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) reached an agreement in which their respective champions would face each other annually for the Stanley Cup. It remained this way until 1926 when the trophy became the official NHL championship prize.
Since 1982, the championship round of the NHL's playoffs has been a best-of-seven series, played between the champions of the Eastern and Western Conferences.
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