The 1925-26 season saw seven teams each play 36 games through the regular season. Finishing in first was the Ottawa Senators, earning 52 points. The Montreal Maroons, featuring rookies 'Babe' Siebert and Nels Stewart, finished second, with a record of 20 wins, 11 losses and 5 ties for 45 points. The Pittsburgh Pirates, a newly-admitted franchise, finished third, followed by the Boston Bruins, the New York Americans (also a first-year franchise), the Toronto St. Patricks and the Montreal Canadiens, who finished in seventh and last place.
Nels Stewart set a record for most goals by a first-year player, collecting 34, and was the first rookie to win the scoring championship. He also collected the Hart Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player. Stewart's 42 points were six more than Ottawa's star, Cy Denneny. Siebert and Stewart's future linemate, Hooley Smith, recorded 25 points with the Senators, good for ninth in the scoring parade.
The second-seeded Montreal Maroons beat the Pittsburgh Pirates six goals to four in the two-game total-goal series. The Maroons then faced the powerful Ottawa Senators, tying the first game with a 1-1 score, then blanking the Senators 1-0 in Game 2 to take the series two goals to one. The victory gave the Maroons the Prince of Wales Trophy, and the right to face the Victoria Cougars, the champions of the Western Hockey League, for the Stanley Cup.
Each game of the Stanley Cup final was scheduled to be played at the Montreal Forum. Game 1 of the best-of-five series was played on March 30. Clint Benedict was spectacular for the Maroons as they shut out Victoria 3-0. Game 2 was no April Fool's joke, as the Maroons again blanked the Cougars 3-0, with Benedict earning a second consecutive shutout. Victoria battled back and edged Montreal 3-2 in Game 3, but the series was all over at the conclusion of Game 4. The Montreal Maroons, again riding the outstanding goaltending of Benedict, whitewashed the Victoria Cougars 2-0 to take the series and earn the Stanley Cup.
Nels Stewart scored six of Montreal's ten goals in the four-game series to lead the way for the Maroons. 'Babe' Siebert contributed a goal and two assists. Both would later play together with Hooley Smith on the famous 'Three S' Line that rode herd over the NHL through the 1930's.
To win the Stanley Cup is the ultimate achievement for any player, but to start off your career with hockey's greatest prize is extraordinary. Although Siebert would win a second Stanley Cup championship with the New York Rangers in 1933, the Montreal Maroons' accomplishment of 1926 is the pinnacle of a Hall of Fame career for 'Babe' Siebert.
|As a member of the Monteral Maroons, Siebert scored a goal and two
assists en route to the 1925-26 Stanley Cup. (HHOF Archives)
Kevin Shea is the Hockey Hall of Fame's Editor of Publications and Online Features.