Is it a curse? Is it a conspiracy? Bad luck? Or maybe the teams just aren’t good enough.
Whatever the reason, it’s been almost three decades since a Canadian NHL team has hoisted the Stanley Cup.
Nevertheless, the early days of playoff hockey remain filled with hope this year — the same hope that fills Canadian hockey fans (almost) every April.
This cruel yearning is most pervasive among fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs, a team that has made it to the playoffs six out of the last seven seasons, but has failed to make it past the first round since 2004. For reference, Facebook was still called TheFacebook then.
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It’s not just the Leafs with a rough record. The Ottawa Senators — once a regular fixture in post-season hockey — hasn’t played a late-April hockey game since 2017.
Ottawa, the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers made valiant efforts in the 2000s to make it to the finals. In 2011 the Vancouver Canucks also made it that far, a failed attempt that ended with the angst of hockey fans on full display.
Most recently, the Montreal Canadiens came close to ending the drought in 2021 in an unlikely run for the Cup. Since 1994, the Habs appeared in the playoffs more than any other Canadian team, with 17 showings.
Three out of the seven Canadian teams made it to the playoffs this year in hopes of ending the skid before we reach the 30th season without a cup.