In 2005, there was no NHL playoffs and therefore no Stanley Cup winner for the first time since the 1919 flu epidemic. After breaking the streak that was closing in on the century mark, the Cup was awarded a mere seven times before the NHL entered yet another lockout.
Following the canceled 2004-05 campaign, a Toronto group challenged the NHL’s sole possession of the Stanley Cup. They filed a claim in Ontario Superior Court and won.
The Cup’s trustees are not obligated to award Lord Stanley’s Mug to a non-NHL team if a lockout eliminates the 2012-13 season, but they have the option to do so. Still, that’s a power they don’t seem likely to exercise, based on a National Post report.
“If there’s no season, well, it’s just one of those years, as we did before, where there was no trophy presented,” Cup trustee Brian O’Neill said. “It’s still an NHL trophy.”
Fellow trustee Ian “Scotty” Morrison added, “The chances of both Brian and I agreeing that it should go to any group that plays for it, I wouldn’t hold your breath.”
The circumstances might be different, but once again the Stanley Cup is in danger of going unused.