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1930s & Earlier / Incomplete 1919 Stanley Cup Final
The NHL has not always had sole possession of the Stanley Cup as its championship trophy. It was originally donated by Lord Stanley of Preston, Canada's fifth governor-general, to be awarded to the championship amateur hockey team of Canada. By 1910, the rules were liberalized and professional teams were competing for it. Beginning in the 1910s, the professional champions of the west annually met the champions of the eastern-based National Hockey Association (and later the National Hockey League) for the Cup with the venue alternating between east and west each year. In 1919, the Seattle Metropolitan were pitted against the Montreal Canadiens in a best-of-five contest in Seattle. After five games, the series was tied with each team having won twice and one game ending in a tie. A sixth game was necessary to decide the Cup winner, but by the end of the fifth game, both teams were feeling the effects of illness as the Spanish Influenza pandemic hit Seattle. The Canadiens were especially hard hit by the flu bug. Several players were hospitalized. One, defenseman Joe Hall, died. The series was abandoned and never resumed. Thus there was no Stanley Cup winner in 1919.