The National Hockey League (NHL) has been a beloved institution in North America for over a century. Within the league, there are six divisions, each with its own unique history and rivalries. One of the most competitive and exciting divisions is the Western Conference – Central Division. This division includes teams from both the United States and Canada, making it a cross-border battle for the top spot. This article will take a deeper look at the historic championship seasons of the Western Conference – Central Division teams.
Founded in 1993, the Western Conference – Central Division has been home to some of the most successful teams in the NHL. This division consists of seven teams: the Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, and Winnipeg Jets. Each of these teams has a rich history filled with memorable achievements and championship victories.
One of the most dominant teams in the Western Conference – Central Division is the Chicago Blackhawks. This team has won six Stanley Cup championships in their history, with three of those coming from the seasons they were a part of the Central Division. Their most recent Stanley Cup victory in 2015 was a remarkable one, as they faced off against the Tampa Bay Lightning and won in six games. Led by star players such as Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Duncan Keith, the Blackhawks have built a strong and successful franchise in the Western Conference – Central Division.
Another highly successful team in this division is the Colorado Avalanche. Founded in 1972, this team has won two Stanley Cup championships, both of which were achieved during the seasons that they were a part of the Central Division. In the 1995-1996 season, the Avalanche won their first Stanley Cup, led by captain Joe Sakic and goaltender Patrick Roy. They went on to win their second Stanley Cup in the 2000-2001 season, defeating the New Jersey Devils in a thrilling seven-game series.
From the state of Texas, the Dallas Stars have also had their fair share of success in the Western Conference – Central Division. They have been a part of this division since the 2013-2014 season and have won one Stanley Cup championship during this time. The Stars’ Stanley Cup victory came in the 1998-1999 season, where they defeated the Buffalo Sabres in six games. The team was led by captain Derian Hatcher and goaltender Ed Belfour, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy for his stellar performance in the playoffs.
The Minnesota Wild have been a part of the Western Conference – Central Division since the 2013-2014 season, but their history goes back much further. Founded in 2000, the Wild have yet to win a Stanley Cup championship, but they have had some memorable seasons. In the 2002-2003 season, the Wild made it to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history, but ultimately fell short to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. They also made it to the playoffs in four consecutive seasons from 2012 to 2016, further cementing their status as a competitive team in the Western Conference – Central Division.
The Nashville Predators have been a part of the Western Conference – Central Division since the 1998-1999 season. While they have yet to win a Stanley Cup, they have made it to the playoffs numerous times, with their most successful season being the 2016-2017 season. Led by captain Mike Fisher and goaltender Pekka Rinne, the Predators made it to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history, but ultimately lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.
The St. Louis Blues have a long history with the NHL, dating back to 1967. However, they only joined the Western Conference – Central Division in the 2013-2014 season. The Blues have made it to the Stanley Cup Finals three times in their history but have yet to win a championship. Their most recent Stanley Cup appearance was in the 2018-2019 season when they faced off against the Boston Bruins but ultimately lost in seven games.
Last but not least, the Winnipeg Jets have been a part of the Western Conference – Central Division since the 2013-2014 season. Founded in 1999, this team has yet to win a Stanley Cup championship, but they have made it to the playoffs on numerous occasions. Their most successful season in the Western Conference – Central Division was in the 2017-2018 season when they made it to the Conference Finals for the first time but ultimately lost to the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Western Conference – Central Division has been home to some of the most successful and competitive teams in the NHL. From the Chicago Blackhawks to the Winnipeg Jets, each team has their own unique history filled with memorable achievements and moments. As the upcoming season approaches, fans of these teams can look back on their championship years with pride and excitement for what is to come.