April 19, 2024

Why Canada’s Stanley Cup drought might end this year

Want to know how long it has been since the last time a Canadian NHL team won the Stanley Cup?

More than three-quarters of the nearly 1,000 current NHL players weren’t born when the Montreal Canadiens hoisted the trophy in June 1993. Only about 3% were at least 5 years old, an age at which they might reasonably have any memory of a Canadian team winning. Mark Giordano, the league’s oldest player this season at 40 — coincidentally, also a Toronto native and a Maple Leafs defenseman — was 9 years old that summer.

For almost every player in the league now, the idea of a Canadian champ merely exists in the world of the theoretical, not reality.

Adding insult to injury, 15 different American franchises — or 60% of all the teams south of the world’s longest undefended border — have won at least one championship in the three-plus decades since the ’93 Habs won it all. All while the proudest of hockey nations, which boasts seven franchises that collectively won 50 titles (out of a possible 76) before the drought, waits patiently for the Stanley Cup to find its way back to home soil.

The good news for Canadian hockey fans, though, is the waiting might be over soon. The 2023-24 season represents the country’s best chance at ending the drought in a long time — perhaps since it began in the first place.