Prince of Wales Trophy

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Prince of Wales Trophy
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Established 1923-24 NHL season
Current holder(s) Boston Bruins
Awarded to the Eastern Conference playoff champions of the National Hockey League

The Prince of Wales Trophy,[1] or simply the Wales Trophy, is a National Hockey League (NHL) trophy awarded to the Eastern Conference (formerly the Wales Conference) playoff champions. The trophy is awarded prior to the final series which are the championship games to decide the winner for the Stanley Cup against the Western Conference's champions. The trophy was first established in the 1923-24 NHL season, for the champion of the NHL playoffs, but it has been the trophy for eight different accomplishments, which also include being the NHL regular season champions, American Division regular season champions, regular season champions, East Division regular season champions, Wales Conference regular season champions, Wales Conference playoffs champions, and Eastern Conference playoffs champions. The current holder of the Prince of Wales Trophy is the Boston Bruins after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2011 Eastern Conference finals.

History[change | edit source]

The Prince of Wales Trophy was donated by His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII and the Duke of Windsor), in 1924. It was first presented to the playoff champion of the NHL (replacing the O'Brien Trophy) who then went on to face the Western Hockey League (WHL) champion for the Stanley Cup.[2]

After the WHL folded and the Stanley Cup was awarded only to the NHL playoff champion, the Prince of Wales Trophy was awarded to the regular season champion. From 1927–28 onwards it was awarded to the champion of the NHL American Division while the O'Brien Trophy was awarded to the NHL Canadian Division. It was then repurposed to being the trophy for the overall regular season champion in the 1938-39 NHL season when the NHL reverted to a single division.[2]

With the Modern Era expansion in the 1967–68 season and the creation of the West Division, the Wales Trophy was awarded to the team that finished in first place in the East Division during the regular season. When the league formed two conferences in the season of 1974–75, the award was transferred to the team that finished with the best regular-season record in the Wales Conference. Starting with the 1981–82 campaign, when the league changed its playoff format so that the two teams meeting in the Stanley Cup finals could no longer come from the same conference, the trophy was presented to the Wales Conference playoff champions, and since the 1993–94 season, the Eastern Conference playoff champions have won the award.[2]

Once awarded, the deputy commissioner, currently Bill Daly, would present the trophy to the winning team's captain. However, a traditional superstition that is prevalent among many of today's NHL players is that no player should either touch or hoist the Wales Trophy (or the Western Conference's trophy, the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl) when they have won the conference playoffs as the Eastern Conference champions. Players feel that the Stanley Cup is the only true championship trophy and thus it should be the only trophy that should be hoisted.[3]

Winners[change | edit source]

Total awards won
Wins Team
25 Montreal Canadiens
16 Boston Bruins
13 Detroit Red Wings
4 New Jersey Devils
Philadelphia Flyers
Pittsburgh Penguins
3 Buffalo Sabres
New York Islanders
New York Rangers
2 Carolina Hurricanes
Chicago Black Hawks
Toronto Maple Leafs
1 Florida Panthers
Montreal Maroons
Ottawa Senators
Ottawa Senators (original)1
Tampa Bay Lightning
Washington Capitals
Key
  • * Defunct team
  • ^ = Year clinched to lead years won
  • ¤ = Year clinched to consecutively lead years won
  • † = Eventual Stanley Cup champions

NHL playoff champions (1923–26)[change | edit source]

Season Winner Win #
1923–24 Montreal Canadiens 1
1924–25 Montreal Canadiens 2
1925–26 Montreal Maroons * † 1

NHL regular season champions (1926–27)[change | edit source]

Season Winner Win #
1926–27 Ottawa Senators (original)1 *† 1

American Division regular season champions (1927–38)[change | edit source]

Season Winner Win #
1927–28 Boston Bruins 1
1928–29 Boston Bruins 2
1929–30 Boston Bruins 3
1930–31 Boston Bruins 4
1931–32 New York Rangers 1
1932–33 Boston Bruins 5
1933–34 Detroit Red Wings 1
1934–35 Boston Bruins 6
1935–36 Detroit Red Wings 2
1936–37 Detroit Red Wings 3
1937–38 Boston Bruins 7

Regular Season champions (1938–67)[change | edit source]

Season Winner Win #
1938–39 Boston Bruins 8
1939–40 Boston Bruins 9
1940–41 Boston Bruins 10
1941–42 New York Rangers 2
1942–43 Detroit Red Wings 4
1943–44 Montreal Canadiens 3
1944–45 Montreal Canadiens 4
1945–46 Montreal Canadiens 5
1946–47 Montreal Canadiens 6
1947–48 Toronto Maple Leafs 1
1948–49 Detroit Red Wings 5
1949–50 Detroit Red Wings 6
1950–51 Detroit Red Wings 7
1951–52 Detroit Red Wings 8
1952–53 Detroit Red Wings 9
1953–54 Detroit Red Wings ¤ † 10
1954–55 Detroit Red Wings 11
1955–56 Montreal Canadiens 7
1956–57 Detroit Red Wings 12
1957–58 Montreal Canadiens 8
1958–59 Montreal Canadiens 9
1959–60 Montreal Canadiens 10
1960–61 Montreal Canadiens 11
1961–62 Montreal Canadiens 12
1962–63 Toronto Maple Leafs 2
1963–64 Montreal Canadiens 13
1964–65 Detroit Red Wings 13
1965–66 Montreal Canadiens 14
1966–67 Chicago Black Hawks 1

East Division regular season champions (1967–74)[change | edit source]

Season Winner Win #
1967–68 Montreal Canadiens 15
1968–69 Montreal Canadiens ^ † 16
1969–70 Chicago Black Hawks 2
1970–71 Boston Bruins 11
1971–72 Boston Bruins 12
1972–73 Montreal Canadiens 17
1973–74 Boston Bruins 13

Wales Conference regular season champions (1974–81)[change | edit source]

Season Winner Win #
1974–75 Buffalo Sabres 1
1975–76 Montreal Canadiens 18
1976–77 Montreal Canadiens 19
1977–78 Montreal Canadiens 20
1978–79 Montreal Canadiens 21
1979–80 Buffalo Sabres 2
1980–81 Montreal Canadiens 22

Wales Conference playoffs champions (1981–93)[change | edit source]

Season Winner Win #
1981–82 New York Islanders 1
1982–83 New York Islanders 2
1983–84 New York Islanders 3
1984–85 Philadelphia Flyers 1
1985–86 Montreal Canadiens 23
1986–87 Philadelphia Flyers 2
1987–88 Boston Bruins 14
1988–89 Montreal Canadiens 24
1989–90 Boston Bruins 15
1990–91 Pittsburgh Penguins 1
1991–92 Pittsburgh Penguins 2
1992–93 Montreal Canadiens 25

Eastern Conference playoffs champions (1993–present)[change | edit source]

Season Winner Win #
1993–94 New York Rangers 3
1994–95 New Jersey Devils 1
1995–96 Florida Panthers 1
1996–97 Philadelphia Flyers 3
1997–98 Washington Capitals 1
1998–99 Buffalo Sabres 3
1999–00 New Jersey Devils 2
2000–01 New Jersey Devils 3
2001–02 Carolina Hurricanes 1
2002–03 New Jersey Devils 4
2003–04 Tampa Bay Lightning 1
2004–05 No winner because of the 2004-05 NHL lockout -
2005–06 Carolina Hurricanes 2
2006–07 Ottawa Senators 1
2007–08 Pittsburgh Penguins 3
2008–09 Pittsburgh Penguins 4
2009–10 Philadelphia Flyers 4
2010–11 Boston Bruins 16
2011-12 New Jersey Devils 5
2012-12 Boston Bruins 17

Notes[change | edit source]

Note 1: Refers to the original Ottawa Senators NHL franchise (1917–1934).

References[change | edit source]

Other websites[change | edit source]