Do the Canadiens have 23 or 24 Stanley Cups?

The Montreal Canadiens are one of the most successful franchises in NHL history. With 24 Stanley Cup championships, they have won the most Cups of any NHL team. However, there has been some debate over whether they actually have 23 or 24 championships. This article will examine the details and settle the debate once and for all.

The Canadiens’ Stanley Cup Wins

Here is a list of the years the Montreal Canadiens have won the Stanley Cup:

  • 1916
  • 1924
  • 1930
  • 1931
  • 1944
  • 1946
  • 1953
  • 1956
  • 1957
  • 1958
  • 1959
  • 1960
  • 1965
  • 1966
  • 1968
  • 1969
  • 1971
  • 1973
  • 1976
  • 1977
  • 1978
  • 1979
  • 1986
  • 1993

By this list, it appears the Canadiens have 24 Stanley Cup wins. However, there is some confusion around the 1916 and 1924 wins.

The 1916 Stanley Cup

In 1916, the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup by defeating the Portland Rosebuds of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association. At the time, there was no NHL – professional hockey was divided into two competing leagues, the National Hockey Association (NHA) and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA). The champions of each league would play a best-of-five series for the Stanley Cup.

The Canadiens were part of the NHA circuit and won the league title that year. They then defeated Portland of the PCHA to win the Cup. However, some hockey historians argue this shouldn’t count as an official NHL championship since there was no NHL at the time.

When the NHL formed for the 1917-18 season, it was composed of only NHA teams. The Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators, and Toronto Arenas (later the Maple Leafs) were the NHL’s inaugural teams. So while the Canadiens won the Cup in 1916, some say this was before the NHL’s inception and thus shouldn’t count toward their total.

The 1924 Stanley Cup

In 1924, the Canadiens again won the Stanley Cup by defeating the Calgary Tigers of the Western Canada Hockey League. The NHL had been established by this point, but was still competing with other major professional leagues for dominance of hockey in North America.

The Canadiens won the NHL championship that season and went on to face the WCHL champion Tigers in a best-of-three series for the Cup. This was the last season that the Stanley Cup champions would be determined by a series between leagues.

Because it preceded the era where the Stanley Cup was exclusively awarded to the winner of the NHL playoffs, some historians suggest the 1924 win should not be included in the Canadiens’ total Cup count.

NHL Records

According to NHL records, both the 1916 and 1924 Stanley Cup victories are included in the Montreal Canadiens’ total count. The league officially recognizes 24 championships for the franchise.

This means that from the NHL’s perspective, the debate is settled – the Canadiens have 24 Cups. All of Montreal’s victories are honored in the rafters of the Bell Centre and in the team’s record books.


While there is some room for debate based on the circumstances of the 1916 and 1924 wins, officially the Montreal Canadiens are recognized as having 24 Stanley Cup championships. This gives them more Cup victories than any other NHL franchise.

Though some hockey purists argue the Canadiens only have 23 legitimate Cups from the NHL era, the league includes both controversial wins in their official count. And most hockey historians give Montreal credit for 24 championships.

So while you may encounter occasional debate on the matter, the authority on the issue is the NHL itself. And they confirm the Canadiens have 24 total Stanley Cup wins – more than any other team in hockey history.

Detailed Breakdown of Canadiens’ Stanley Cup Wins

Here is a more detailed breakdown of the context around each of Montreal’s 24 Stanley Cup championships:

Year Series Result Defeated Context
1916 Won 3-2 Portland Rosebuds (PCHA) Won as part of NHA before NHL formed
1924 Won 2-0 Calgary Tigers (WCHL) Won when NHL competed with other leagues
1930 Won 2-0 Boston Bruins First Stanley Cup as sole NHL champion
1931 Won 3-2 Chicago Black Hawks Won as defending Cup champions
1944 Won 4-0 Chicago Black Hawks First Cup win in 13 seasons
1946 Won 4-1 Boston Bruins Won second Cup in three seasons
1953 Won 4-1 Boston Bruins Ended 7-year Cup drought
1956 Won 4-1 Detroit Red Wings First of record 5 straight Cups
1957 Won 4-1 Boston Bruins Won second straight Cup
1958 Won 4-2 Boston Bruins Won third straight Cup
1959 Won 4-1 Toronto Maple Leafs Won fourth straight Cup
1960 Won 4-0 Toronto Maple Leafs Won record fifth straight Cup
1965 Won 4-3 Chicago Black Hawks Ended 5-year Cup drought
1966 Won 4-2 Detroit Red Wings Won second straight Cup
1968 Won 4-0 St. Louis Blues Third Cup win of decade
1969 Won 4-3 St. Louis Blues Won second straight Cup
1971 Won 4-3 Chicago Black Hawks Ended Cup drought after 2 losses in finals
1973 Won 4-2 Chicago Black Hawks Won second Cup in three seasons
1976 Won 4-0 Philadelphia Flyers Ended 3-year Cup drought
1977 Won 4-0 Boston Bruins Won second straight Cup
1978 Won 4-2 Boston Bruins Won third straight Cup
1979 Won 4-3 New York Rangers Won fourth straight Cup
1986 Won 4-1 Calgary Flames Ended 6-year Cup drought
1993 Won 4-1 Los Angeles Kings Most recent Cup win for franchise

This table summarizes the results, opponent, and context around each of Montreal’s 24 Stanley Cup wins. It provides evidence to support the NHL’s official position that the Canadiens have 24 championships, regardless of counterarguments about the 1916 and 1924 Cups before the singular NHL era.

Comparison to Other NHL Teams

Here is how the Canadiens’ 24 Stanley Cups compare to other top NHL franchises:

Team Stanley Cup Wins
Montreal Canadiens 24
Toronto Maple Leafs 13
Detroit Red Wings 11
Boston Bruins 6
Chicago Blackhawks 6
Edmonton Oilers 5
Pittsburgh Penguins 5

This table demonstrates the commanding lead the Canadiens have in Cup wins compared to other historic NHL franchises. The Maple Leafs are second with 13 championships, far behind Montreal’s 24.

Consistency of Canadiens’ Cup Victories

A unique aspect of Montreal’s success is how consistent they have been throughout NHL history. Here is a breakdown of their Stanley Cup wins by decade:

Decade Cups Won
1910s 1
1920s 1
1930s 2
1940s 2
1950s 5
1960s 4
1970s 6
1980s 1
1990s 1

These decades represent nearly the entire history of the NHL. The Canadiens have had periods of dominance and drought, but continued to win Cups in almost every decade they have played.

This consistency separates Montreal from teams that rose to greatness briefly. The Canadiens’ sustained excellence over many generations of talent is unmatched.

Canadiens’ Cup Victories by Player

The Canadiens also hold individual player records for Stanley Cup wins:

Player Cups Won
Henri Richard 11
Jean Beliveau 10
Yvon Cournoyer 10
Maurice Richard 8
Claude Provost 9
Jacques Lemaire 8

Henri Richard holds the record with 11 Cup wins in his career as a player. This demonstrates how the Canadiens were able to sustain success with different cores of all-time great players.


Examining the detailed history makes it clear – the Montreal Canadiens rightfully have 24 Stanley Cup championships. While two wins came before the singular NHL era, the league still endorses them in their official records.

With 24 Cups, the Canadiens stand alone as the most successful NHL franchise of all time. This unprecedented winning tradition has persevered across generations of players and decades of hockey.

Debates around the exact technical number will continue in some hockey circles. But the authority on the matter is the NHL itself. And by the league’s own records, the Canadiens have 24 Stanley Cups – more than any team in hockey history.

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