The NHA / NHL Birthplace Museum
Today the Stanley Cup is one of the most recognized professional sports trophies in the world. But when it was created in 1893, the Stanley Cup was just a challenge cup. To be the holder of this Cup, a Canadian hockey team had to directly challenge the current holder to compete for it – requests that were often turned down. The only other way to get the Cup was to be in the same League as the team that had it, compete against them for a season and be declared the League champion.
In November, 1909, when the Cup was just 16 years-old, millionaire businessman M.J. O'Brien, founder of the Town of Renfrew, and his son Ambrose decided they wanted to win the Stanley Cup. With that decision, they changed Canadian Hockey forever.
The O'Brien's had a hockey team, the Renfrew Creamery Kings, that were part of the Upper Ottawa Valley Hockey League, and they issued a Stanley Cup Challenge to the reigning team, the Montreal Wanderers. According to the rules of the day, this was one of the two ways a team could win the Cup.
The O'Brien Trophy was the main prize for the National Hockey Association which was started in 1909 by M.J. O'Brien - an enterprener ...