Since the 1926-27 season, the Stanley Cup has been awarded solely to the team that wins the NHL playoffs. However, prior to this season, it was up for grabs as a “challenge up.” Prior to the 1914-15 hockey season, the system was rather complicated and involved both amateur and professional teams. Until 1912, these “Challenge” games could occur at any time during the winter. It was only in 1912 that it was determined that it would be an annual game.
However, as of the final for the 1914 Stanley Cup, it was decided that only the pro leagues (there were three at the time, and the NHL didn’t exist yet) would vie for the Cup. And it was this way until 1926, when the last of the NHL’s competitor leagues folded.
This site primarily with NHL players and our focus is on the modern game of hockey. Because of this, we are only concerned with the challenge cup era from 1917-1926, or the first eight seasons of the NHL. And we include this information here because the playoff records for players who played during the first eight seasons are rather weird.