In 1892, Canada’s former Governor-General, Lord Stanley of Preston purchased a simple silver bowl for a small sum and donated it "to be awarded from year to year to the champion hockey club in the Dominion (of Canada)." Though Lord Stanley never saw any of the on-ice battles his trophy inspired, he would be proud of what that small silver cup symbolizes. Originally an Amateur trophy, it soon became the symbol of excellence for professional hockey in North America and, with the formation of the National Hockey League in 1917, the Stanley Cup began taking on its current shape. Over one hundred years have passed since the trophy was first awarded and in that time it has grown substantially, now standing nearly three feet tall. But not just the size of the trophy has changed; it also now bears the names of the teams and the hundreds of the players that have claimed it over the years.

The following Amateur and professional leagues provided some of the early champions who contested for the Stanley Cup:

Alberta Hockey League
Amateur Hockey Association of Canada
Canadian Amateur Hockey League
Central Canada Association
Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association
Eastern Canada Hockey Association
Federal Amateur Hockey League
Manitoba Hockey League
Manitoba and Northwestern Hockey League
Maritime Hockey League
Ontario Professional Hockey League

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