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12-04-2012, 04:03 PM
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Could The O'Brien Cup replace the Stanley Cup once again?

Could The O'Brien Cup ever come back?

Admit it, you never heard of this trophy before. But from what I can tell, for several years, from about 1921 to 1927, the team that won the NHL championship was awarded the O'Brien Cup for doing so, not the Stanley Cup. They then went on to compete against the champions of some other leagues to win the Stanley Cup.

This made sense because the NHL, despite how it's been awarded since then, technically doesn't actually own the Stanley Cup. In theory, if legal challenges forced them to, they might be required once again to allow teams from outside the NHL to challenge for it. The longer this lockout goes on, the more grumblings we're likely to hear to make that happen - just like in the last lockout.

They don't have to worry about the O'Brien Cup being taken from them.

The NHL certainly wouldn't allow any of this by choice. Ever. Um, except... what about the future, if somehow the NHL really wanted to expand into being a true "world" league, rather than "just" a "National" Hockey League, that only features North American teams?

I don't think it's out of the question that, in the far future, other leagues similar to the NHL could be setup *by the NHL* in places like Europe... which would compete for their own version of the O'Brien Cup, and then those champions would meet to play for the Stanley Cup. Thus preserving the general belief (in North America at least) that it is and should always be the championship trophy for the best club team in the world.

I'm sure the current owners would salivate about the entry fees they could get from new owners as a result....

Frankly I doubt any of this will happen within the next few decades, or ever, but I think it's fun to think and talk about!

Checkout the page for the O'Brien Cup on Wikipedia for more information about it. It's an interesting part of hockey history.

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