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On This Date in Sports March 30, 1925: Victoria Victory

in collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

The Victoria Cougars become the last non-NHL team to win the Stanley Cup as they beat the Montreal Canadiens 6-1 in Game 4, winning the series three games to one. Up until 1926, the Stanley Cup Finals matched the NHL/NHA champion against the PCHA and WCHA champions. In these challenge years, the Western champion only won the cup three times. This was the only loss suffered after the NHL was formed in 1917.

Hockey was a sport in transition in the 1920s. At the time, there were two rules. In the East, it was five skaters and a goalie, while the West had six skaters and a goalie. Starting in 1914, the NHL moved from challenge series to yearly championships with the winner of the NHA, taking on the champions of the PCHA. In 1915, the Vancouver Millionaires swept the Ottawa Senators in three straight games. The Montreal Canadiens needed five games to reclaim the Stanley Cup for the NHA in 1916. In the Canadiens would fall in four games in 1917, as the Seattle Metropolitans became the first team based in the USA to win hockey’s holy grail.

The NHA became the NHL in 1917, as the Toronto Arenas took down Vancouver in five games in 1918. The Spanish Flu interrupted the Stanley Cup Finals in 1919, as Seattle had a rematch with Montreal. The Ottawa Senators won the Stanley Cup in 1920 and 1921, beating the Metropolitans and Millionaires with both series going the full five games. The Toronto St. Patricks beat Vancouver in five games in 1922. In 1923, the PCHL became the WCHL, as Ottawa beat the Edmonton Eskimos, the following year saw the Canadiens blow past the Calgary Tigers. 

Despite finishing third in the NHL, with a record of 17-11-2 the Montreal Canadiens coached by Leo Dandurand won a second straight O’Brien Cup, beating the Toronto St. Patricks. The final series would be canceled as the Hamilton Tigers refused to play due to a contract dispute over $200. Coached by Lester Patrick, the Victoria Cougars also finished third in the WCHL at 16-12-0. In the playoffs, the Cougars won series against the Saskatoon Crescents and Calgary Tigers to reach the Stanley Cup Finals.

The five-game Stanley Cup Finals would be played at Patrick Arena in Vancouver. In the opener, Victoria beat the Canadiens 5-2 as Gord Frasier scored twice. The Cougars also took Game 2 by a score of 3-1 as Hap Holmes outplayed Georges Vezina. The Canadiens facing elimination earned a 4-2 win in Game 3, with Howie Morenz getting a hat trick. In Game 4, Frank Fredrickson had a hat trick for the Cougars, the secure the Stanley Cup with a 6-1 win. 

The Montreal Maroons would beat Victoria in 1926, in what would be the final season for what was called the Western Hockey League in its final season. As the NHL achieved sole possession of the Stanley Cup in 1927.