The Stanley Cup is the most coveted trophy in all of professional hockey. Every season, it is awarded to the champions of the National Hockey League (NHL) playoffs.
The NHL Conference Finals, which take place prior to the Stanley Cup Finals, determine which team from each conference will make the finals. An Eastern Conference team and a Western Conference team cannot play one another in the NHL playoffs until the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Stanley Cup Finals is a best-of-seven series, and the team with the better regular season record earns home-ice advantage. The team with home-ice advantage will host Games 1, 2, 5, and 7, whereas the other team will host Games 3, 4, and 6. The final series usually starts around late May or early June, depending on how many games were required to settle the Conference Finals.
Once the Stanley Cup champion has been declared, the names of the winning team’s players, coaches, club staff, and management personnel are engraved upon the cup itself. As a result, the Stanley Cup has continued to grow in size over the years as additional bands are added when more space for names is needed.