1924-25 Victoria Cougars
Induction Year: 1999
With the legendary Lester Patrick as a coach and general manager, and players such as netminder Harry ‘Happy’ Holmes and forwards Frank Foyston and Frank Fredrickson in the line-up, the Victoria Cougars proved that you could beat them, and join them.
The 1924/25 Cougars earned the reputation of being the last team from outside of the National Hockey League to have its name engraved on the Stanley Cup. Two seasons later, the Cougars were in the NHL themselves, but far away from Victoria. The Cougars’ road to the 1925 Stanley Cup took the team through Saskatoon and Calgary, before a showdown with the Montreal Canadiens.
Victoria disposed of both the Saskatoon Sheiks and the Calgary Tigers in a two-game / total-goal series, to capture the Western Canada Hockey League championship. The WCHL championship earned the Cougars a shot at the National Hockey League champion Montreal Canadiens, with the Stanley Cup on the line. The Cougars defeated the Canadiens in a best-of-five series, winning three games to one and outscoring their eastern opponents 16-8. Three of the four games were held in Victoria, while the other was played in Vancouver.
The Victoria Cougars returned to the Stanley Cup finals the following year, losing three games to one to the Montreal Maroons. All four of those games were played in Montreal. The Cougars’ loss to the Maroons also marked the last time that a team from outside of the NHL would be allowed to contest for the Stanley Cup. No longer would the champions of the east face off against the winners in the west for Lord Stanley’s cup. Since the 1926/27 season, the playoffs in the National Hockey League have decided the Stanley Cup Champions. The Cougars bid farewell to Victoria in 1926, after the team was sold and moved to Detroit.
The club was known as the Cougars for four years, before being renamed the Detroit Falcons. After two seasons as the Falcons, the franchise became known as the Detroit Red Wings.