The 1996 Stanley Cup Final was the championship series of the National Hockey League's (NHL) 1995–96 season, and the culmination of the 1996 Stanley Cup playoffs. It was contested by the Western Conference champion Colorado Avalanche and the Eastern Conference champion Florida Panthers, two teams in the Final for the first time. Colorado defeated Florida in a four-game sweep to win their first Stanley Cup becoming the seventh post-1967 expansion team and the second former WHA team (after the Edmonton Oilers) to win the Cup. Colorado's Joe Sakic earned the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the 1996 Playoffs.
It was Colorado's first appearance in the Final, in only their first season in Denver since moving from Quebec City (where they had formerly played as the Nordiques) in 1995. It was also Florida's first appearance in the Final, in only the franchise's third season since entering the NHL in 1993. Only four other teams have made their first Stanley Cup Final appearance faster: the Toronto Arenas winning the Stanley Cup in the NHL inaugural season in 1917–18, the St. Louis Blues in their debut season in 1967–68 (they lost the 1968 Final to the Montreal Canadiens), the Vegas Golden Knights in their inaugural year in 2017–18, and the 1928 Cup-winning New York Rangers (who were in their second season of play, having been formed for the 1926–27 season). This was also the first time since the formation of the NHL in 1917 that the two teams competing for the Cup were making their first Final appearance.
|1996 Stanley Cup Finals|
|* indicates overtime period|
|Location(s)||Denver: McNichols Sports Arena (1, 2)|
Miami: Miami Arena (3, 4)
|Coaches||Colorado: Marc Crawford|
Florida: Doug MacLean
|Captains||Colorado: Joe Sakic|
Florida: Brian Skrudland
|Referees||Bill McCreary (1, 4)|
Don Koharski (2)
Andy Van Hellemond (3)
|Dates||June 4 – June 11|
|MVP||Joe Sakic (Avalanche)|
|Series-winning goal||Uwe Krupp (4:31, 3OT, G4)|
|Networks||CBC (Canada-English), Fox (United States-games 1, 3), ESPN (United States-games 2, 4)|
|Announcers||Bob Cole and Harry Neale (CBC), Mike Emrick and John Davidson (Fox), Gary Thorne and Bill Clement (ESPN)|
The series opened on June 4, at the McNichols Sports Arena in Denver. Patrick Roy was in goal for Colorado, and John Vanbiesbrouck was between the pipes for Florida (a rematch from the 1986 Wales Conference Finals when Roy was with the Montreal Canadiens and Vanbiesbrouck was with the New York Rangers). Although Colorado was the heavy favorite in the series, Florida got on the board first on Tom Fitzgerald's goal at 16:51 of the first period. That would be all the Panthers would get, however, as Colorado scored three times within five minutes in the second period. Scott Young scored at 10:32, Mike Ricci scored at 12:21, and Uwe Krupp scored at 14:21. The Avalanche went on to win the game 3–1, with Roy making 25 saves in the victory.
Peter Forsberg got the Avalanche on the board first in game two, scoring an unassisted goal at 4:11 of the first period. The Panthers tied the game on Stu Barnes' power-play goal at 7:52. Rene Corbet broke the 1–1 tie with a power-play goal at 10:43, and then Forsberg scored two power-play goals of his own at 13:46 and 15:05 to complete the hat trick. Colorado led 4–1 after just one period. The Avalanche would make it 5–1 with Corbet's second goal of the game at 4:37 of the second period. Valeri Kamensky followed with a goal just 31 seconds later, and Jon Klemm scored at 10:03 to give Colorado a dominating 7–1 lead after two periods. Klemm would add another goal at 17:28 of the third period. It was the Avalanche's fourth power-play goal of the game. Colorado won the game 8–1, with three players scoring at least twice.
The Avalanche went to the Miami Arena in Florida with a 2–0 series lead. Claude Lemieux, back after his two-game suspension, scored the first goal of the game at 2:44 of the first period to give Colorado a 1–0 lead. Florida played determinedly, however, and tied the game on Ray Sheppard's power-play goal at 9:14. Rob Niedermayer scored at 11:19 to give the Panthers their second lead of the series. The score was 2–1 Florida after one period. At 1:38 of the second period, Colorado's Mike Keane scored a game-tying goal. Captain Joe Sakic scored the go-ahead goal just 82 seconds later, and Colorado went on to win 3–2 and take a commanding three-games-to-none lead in the series. Patrick Roy made 32 saves in the win.
With their backs to the wall, the Panthers played a defensive game. Florida goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck went save for save with Colorado goaltender Patrick Roy. The two teams played a marathon game that took until the third overtime period. Uwe Krupp's unassisted goal at 4:31 ended 44 minutes and 31 seconds of overtime and gave the Avalanche a 1–0 win and a four-games-to-none series win. Goaltender Patrick Roy stopped all 63 shots he faced. Colorado outscored Florida 15–4 in the series, and Patrick Roy stopped 147 of 151 shots, for a save percentage of .974. Joe Sakic was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, having led all skaters in goals with 18, and points with 34. For both Patrick Roy and Claude Lemieux, it was one of their three Stanley Cup wins in eleven years. Roy and Lemieux first won the Cup in 1986 with the Montreal Canadiens. Roy won a second Cup with Montreal in 1993. Lemieux won a second cup with New Jersey in 1995.
The Avalanche became the third team to win the cup after relocating: the 1989 Calgary Flames won the Cup after moving from Atlanta and the New Jersey Devils in 1995 won the Cup 13 years after they played their last game in the same city and same arena that the Avs played in as the Colorado Rockies.
Bolded years under Final appearance indicates year won Stanley Cup.
|Player||Catches||Acquired||Place of birth||Finals appearance|
|35||Stephane Fiset||L||1988||Montreal, Quebec||first (did not play)|
|33||Patrick Roy||L||1995–96||Quebec City, Quebec||fourth (1986, 1989, 1993)|
|#||Player||Shoots||Acquired||Place of birth||Finals appearance|
|2||Sylvain Lefebvre - A||L||1994–95||Richmond, Quebec||first|
|4||Uwe Krupp||R||1994–95||Cologne, Germany||first|
|5||Alexei Gusarov||L||1988||Leningrad, USSR||first|
|6||Craig Wolanin - A||L||1989–90||Grosse Pointe, Michigan||first (did not play)|
|7||Curtis Leschyshyn - A||L||1988||Thompson, Manitoba||first|
|8||Sandis Ozolinsh||L||1995–96||Riga, Latvia||first|
|24||Jon Klemm||R||1991–92||Cranbrook, British Columbia||first|
|52||Adam Foote||R||1988||Toronto, Ontario||first|
|#||Player||Position||Shoots||Acquired||Place of birth||Finals appearance|
|9||Mike Ricci – A||C||L||1991–92||Scarborough, Ontario||first|
|10||Troy Murray||C||R||1995–96||Calgary, Alberta||first (did not play)|
|12||Chris Simon||LW||L||1992–93||Wawa, Ontario||first (did not play)|
|13||Valeri Kamensky||LW||R||1988||Voskresensk, USSR||first|
|14||Dave Hannan||C/LW||L||1995–96||Sudbury, Ontario||second (1988)|
|16||Warren Rychel||LW||L||1995–96||Strathroy, Ontario||second (1993)|
|18||Adam Deadmarsh||RW||R||1993||Trail, British Columbia||first|
|19||Joe Sakic – C||C||L||1987||Burnaby, British Columbia||first|
|20||Rene Corbet||LW||R||1991||Victoriaville, Quebec||first|
|21||Peter Forsberg||C||L||1994–95||Örnsköldsvik, Sweden||first|
|22||Claude Lemieux||RW||R||1995–96||Buckingham, Quebec||fourth (1986, 1989, 1995)|
|25||Mike Keane||RW||R||1995–96||Winnipeg, Manitoba||third (1989, 1993)|
|26||Stephane Yelle||C||L||1993–94||Ottawa, Ontario||first|
|48||Scott Young||RW||R||1994–95||Clinton, Massachusetts||second (1991)|
|#||Player||Catches||Acquired||Place of birth||Finals appearance|
|30||Mark Fitzpatrick||L||1993–94||Toronto, Ontario||first (did not play)|
|34||John Vanbiesbrouck||L||1993–94||Detroit, Michigan||first|
|#||Player||Shoots||Acquired||Place of birth||Finals appearance|
|2||Terry Carkner||L||1995–96||Smiths Falls, Ontario||second (1995)|
|3||Paul Laus||R||1993–94||Beamsville, Ontario||first|
|5||Gord Murphy – A||R||1993–94||North York, Ontario||first|
|6||Jason Woolley||L||1994–95||Toronto, Ontario||first (did not play)|
|23||Rhett Warrener||R||1994||Shaunavon, Saskatchewan||first|
|24||Robert Svehla||R||1993–94||Martin, Czechoslovakia||first|
|55||Ed Jovanovski||L||1994||Windsor, Ontario||first|
|#||Player||Position||Shoots||Acquired||Place of birth||Finals appearance|
|10||Dave Lowry||LW||L||1993–94||Sudbury, Ontario||first|
|11||Bill Lindsay||LW||L||1993–94||Bigfork, Montana||first|
|12||Jody Hull||RW||R||1993–94||Petrolia, Ontario||first (did not play)|
|14||Stu Barnes||C||R||1993–94||Spruce Grove, Alberta||first|
|18||Mike Hough||LW||L||1993–94||Montreal, Quebec||first|
|19||Radek Dvorak||RW||R||1995||Tábor, Czechoslovakia||first|
|20||Brian Skrudland – C||C||L||1993–94||Peace River, Alberta||third (1986, 1989)|
|21||Tom Fitzgerald||RW||R||1993–94||Billerica, Massachusetts||first|
|26||Ray Sheppard||RW||R||1995–96||Petawawa, Ontario||first|
|27||Scott Mellanby - A||RW||R||1993–94||Montreal, Quebec||second (1987)|
|28||Martin Straka||C||L||1995–96||Plzeň, Czechoslovakia||first|
|29||Johan Garpenlov||LW||L||1995–96||Stockholm, Sweden||first|
|44||Rob Niedermayer||C||L||1993||Cassiar, British Columbia||first|
In Canada, the series was televised on CBC. In the United States, this was the second year that coverage was split between Fox and ESPN. Fox broadcast games 1 and 3 while ESPN televised games 2 and 4. The Stanley Cup-clinching game thus aired on cable. Had the series extended, Fox would have televised games 5 and 7, and ESPN would have aired game 6.
Adam Deadmarsh's name was misspelled ADAM DEADMARCH. This mistake was corrected by stamping an "S" over the "C" twice. Deadmarsh's name was the first player's name to be corrected on the Presentation Stanley Cup.
The Avalanche won the Presidents' Trophy the following year. However, they fell to the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Finals in six games. Colorado would not return to the finals until five years later by defeating the New Jersey Devils in seven games.
The Panthers, on the other hand, lost to the New York Rangers in the first round, 4-1, and have yet to win a playoff series since.
New Jersey Devils
| Colorado Avalanche
Stanley Cup Champions
Detroit Red Wings
The 1995–96 Florida Panthers season was their most successful season ever. In only their third season in the National Hockey League, the Panthers qualified for the playoffs, and won three playoff series to become Eastern Conference champions. In the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals, they lost to the Colorado Avalanche in four games.1995–96 Montreal Canadiens season
The 1995–96 Montreal Canadiens season was the club's 87th season. Two notable events happened during the season. The Canadiens moved from their long-time home Montreal Forum to the new Molson Centre. The other was the trade of star goaltender Patrick Roy. The club qualified for the playoffs, but lost in the first round to the New York Rangers.1995–96 Philadelphia Flyers season
The 1995–96 Philadelphia Flyers season was the Philadelphia Flyers 29th season in the National Hockey League (NHL). In the Spectrum's final season the Flyers repeated as Atlantic Division champs and clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but the Flyers lost in the Conference Semifinals to the Florida Panthers in six games.1996–97 Philadelphia Flyers season
The 1996–97 Philadelphia Flyers season was the Philadelphia Flyers 30th season in the National Hockey League (NHL). The Flyers reached the Stanley Cup Finals but lost to the Detroit Red Wings in a four-game sweep.1997 Stanley Cup Finals
The 1997 Stanley Cup Finals was the championship series of the National Hockey League's (NHL) 1996–97 season, and the culmination of the 1997 Stanley Cup playoffs. It was contested by the Detroit Red Wings and the Philadelphia Flyers. Detroit was in the Final for the second time in three years (the other coming in 1995, when they lost to the New Jersey Devils) while the Flyers were making their first appearance since losing in 1987 to the Edmonton Oilers. Detroit won the series in four games to win the Stanley Cup for the eighth time in franchise history and the first time since 1955; Philadelphia had not won since 1975. Detroit was the last team to win the Cup without having home ice advantage in the Finals and with fewer than 100 points earned during the regular season until 2009.Bill Torrey
William Arthur Torrey (June 23, 1934 – May 2, 2018) was a Canadian hockey executive. He served as a general manager in the National Hockey League for the Oakland Seals, New York Islanders, and Florida Panthers. He developed the Islanders into a dynasty that won four consecutive Stanley Cups. He was often known as "The Architect", and "Bow-Tie" Bill, after the signature bow tie he always wore.Brian Skrudland
Brian Norman Skrudland (born July 31, 1963) is a Canadian retired professional ice hockey player who played for the Montreal Canadiens, Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers, New York Rangers and Dallas Stars.Colorado Avalanche
The Colorado Avalanche are a professional ice hockey team based in Denver, Colorado. They are members of the Central Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Avalanche are the only team in their division not based in the Central Time Zone; the team is situated in the Mountain Time Zone. Their home arena is Pepsi Center. Their general manager is Joe Sakic.
The Avalanche were founded in 1972 as the Quebec Nordiques and were one of the charter franchises of the World Hockey Association. The franchise joined the NHL in 1979 as a result of the NHL–WHA merger. Following the 1994–95 season, they were sold to the COMSAT Entertainment Group and relocated to Denver.
In the club's first season in Denver, the Avalanche won the Pacific Division and went on to sweep the Florida Panthers in the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals, becoming the first NHL team to win the Stanley Cup in the season following a relocation. Among teams in the major North American professional sports leagues, only the National Football League (NFL)'s Washington Redskins have also accomplished the feat. This was the first major professional sports championship a Denver-based team would bring to the city.
In the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals, the Avalanche defeated the New Jersey Devils 4–3 to win their second and most recent championship. As a result, they are the only active NHL team that has won all of its Stanley Cup Final appearances.
The Avalanche have won nine division titles (including their first eight in a row in Denver, the longest such streak in NHL history) and qualified for the playoffs in each of their first ten seasons in Denver; this streak ended in 2007.Eric Lindros trade
The Eric Lindros trade was the culmination of a holdout by Eric Lindros from the Quebec Nordiques of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Nordiques selected Lindros in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft with the first overall selection, but Lindros refused to play for them. After holding out from Quebec for a year, the Nordiques agreed to two trades involving Lindros at the onset of the 1992 NHL Entry Draft, one with the Philadelphia Flyers and one with the New York Rangers. An arbitrator ruled in favor of the Flyers on June 30, 1992.
Lindros played for the Flyers until 2001. He was awarded the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league's Most Valuable Player in 1995, however, the Flyers never won the Stanley Cup with Lindros, only ever reaching the Stanley Cup Finals in 1997. The Nordiques, who moved to Denver, Colorado, and became the Colorado Avalanche, won the Stanley Cup in 1996 and 2001 with contributions from players acquired in the Lindros trade, including Peter Forsberg and Mike Ricci.John Vanbiesbrouck
John Vanbiesbrouck (born September 4, 1963), nicknamed "the Beezer" and "VBK", is an American professional ice hockey executive and former player. A goaltender as a player, he was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2007. Vanbiesbrouck played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the New York Rangers, Florida Panthers, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils. He began his career playing major junior hockey for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). Following a successful season with the Greyhounds, he was drafted by the New York Rangers in the fourth round, 72nd overall, in the 1981 NHL Draft. After his junior career ended, he played for the Rangers minor league affiliate, the Tulsa Oilers of the Central Hockey League. Despite the team's near collapses due to financial concerns, Vanbiesbrouck led the Oilers to a league championship and shared the league's MVP honors.
Vanbiesbrouck began playing full-time with the Rangers in the 1984–85 season. He won the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goaltender and was named a First Team NHL All-Star the following season. After playing in parts of 11 seasons with the Rangers, he was selected in the 1993 NHL Expansion Draft by the Florida Panthers. In Florida, Vanbiesbrouck was a three-time All-Star and led the Panthers to their first—and only—Stanley Cup Finals appearance, in 1996. While in Florida, he recorded his 300th career victory, becoming the 15th goaltender and only the second American goalie in NHL history to do so. During his career, Vanbiesbrouck compiled a record of 374 wins, 346 losses, 119 ties and 40 shutouts, making him, at the time, the winningest American-born goaltender, and also at the time, tying Frank Brimsek for most career shutouts by an American-born goaltender. Both records have since been broken by Ryan Miller of the Anaheim Ducks and Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings respectively.Internationally, Vanbiesbrouck has represented the United States on several occasions. He played in the 1982 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships as well as four IIHF World Championships. He was named to the Second All-Star team at the 1985 World Ice Hockey Championships. He also played in two Canada Cup tournaments, registering the lowest goals against average (GAA) in 1987 and was a back-up goaltender during the Americans' second-place finish in 1991. He represented Team USA for the final time in 1998, serving as the back-up on the Olympic ice hockey team.
Following his playing career, he took over as the head coach and general manager of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. However, after using a racial slur referencing his team captain, he resigned. Vanbiesbrouck worked as a broadcaster and in hockey-related businesses. In 2013, Vanbiesbrouck was named the general manager of the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the Tier I junior United States Hockey League (USHL). In 2018, he was hired by USA Hockey as the assistant executive director of hockey operations and would be involved with selecting players for the US national teams.List of Colorado Avalanche head coaches
The Colorado Avalanche are an American professional ice hockey team based in Denver, Colorado. They play in the Central Division of the Western Conference in the National Hockey League (NHL). The team joined the NHL in 1972 as a charter member of the World Hockey Association, and were named the Quebec Nordiques, but moved to Denver in 1995. The Avalanche won their first Stanley Cup championship in 1996, and won another one in 2001. Having first played at the McNichols Sports Arena, the Avalanche have played their home games at Pepsi Center since 1999. The Avalanche are owned by Stan Kroenke, Joe Sakic is their general manager, and Gabriel Landeskog is the team captain.There have been seven head coaches for the Avalanche team. The team's first head coach was Marc Crawford, who has coached for three seasons. Bob Hartley is the team's all-time leader for the most regular-season games coached (359), the most regular-season game wins (193), the most regular-season points (444), the most playoff games coached (80), and the most playoff-game wins (49). Crawford and Hartley are the only head coaches to have won the Stanley Cup with the Avalanche, in the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals and the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals respectively. None of the Avalanche head coaches have been elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame as a builder. Tony Granato, who coached two terms with the Avalanche, has spent his entire NHL head coaching career with the Avalanche. Granato was fired after the 2008–09 season.On June 4, 2009, the Avalanche hired Joe Sacco, the coach of their AHL affiliate The Lake Erie Monsters, as the new head coach to succeed Granato. Following the 2012–13 season, his fourth year at the helm, finishing last in the Western Conference and out of the playoffs for a third consecutive year, Sacco was relieved of his duties on April 28, 2013.A month later, former Avalanche goalie Patrick Roy was introduced as the team's latest head coach on May 28, 2013. On August 11, 2016, Roy announced that he had resigned as head coach of the Avalanche.On August 25, 2016, Jared Bednar was announced as the seventh head coach in Avalanche history.List of Florida Panthers head coaches
The Florida Panthers are an American professional ice hockey team based in Sunrise, Florida. They play in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Hockey League (NHL). The team joined the NHL in 1993 as an expansion team, and won their first Eastern Conference championship in 1996. The Panthers have played their home games at the BB&T Center since 1998. The Panthers are owned by Sunrise Sports and Entertainment, and Dale Tallon is their general manager.There have been 16 head coaches for the Panthers franchise. The team's first head coach was Roger Neilson, who coached for two complete seasons from 1993 to 1995. Jacques Martin is the franchise's all-time leader for the most regular-season game wins (110), the most regular-season points (256), and is tied with Peter DeBoer for the most regular-season games coached (246); Doug MacLean is the franchise's all-time leader for the most playoff games coached (27), and the most playoff-game wins (13). Murray's brother, Terry Murray, has also coached the Panthers, right after his brother Bryan. MacLean is the only coach to have won the Prince of Wales Trophy with the Panthers; they lost the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals to the Colorado Avalanche. Neilson is the only Panthers coach to have been elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame; he was inducted as a builder. Duane Sutter and Kevin Dineen spent their entire NHL head coaching careers with the Panthers. DeBoer was the head coach of the Panthers from 2008–2011. The Panther's current head coach is Joel Quenneville.Miami Arena
Miami Arena was an indoor arena located in Miami, Florida.Radek Dvořák
Radek Dvořák (born March 9, 1977) is a Czech retired professional ice hockey right winger. Dvořák was drafted in the first round of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft, tenth overall, by the Florida Panthers. A veteran of 1,260 NHL games, Radek has played for the Panthers, New York Rangers, Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues, Atlanta Thrashers, Dallas Stars, Anaheim Ducks and the Carolina Hurricanes.Rat trick
The rat trick is a celebration popularized by fans of the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League (NHL) during their 1995–96 season and trip to the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals. The term, a play on hat trick, was coined by Panthers goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck after teammate Scott Mellanby killed a rat in the locker room prior to the team's home opener with his stick, then scored two goals with the same stick. Fans immediately picked up on the idea and began throwing plastic rats on the ice to celebrate goals. By the time the Panthers reached the 1996 playoffs, thousands of rats hit the ice after every Panthers goal, resulting in an off-season rule change by the NHL that allowed for referees to penalize the home team if fans disrupt the game by throwing objects onto the ice.Uwe Krupp
Uwe Gerd Krupp (born 24 June 1965) is a German former professional hockey defenceman and former coach of the German national ice hockey team. Widely considered one of the greatest German players of all time, he was the first German-born player to win the Stanley Cup, and the second German-born professional to play in an NHL All-Star Game, after Walt Tkaczuk. Following Tkaczuk, Krupp was only the second German-born player to have a lasting career in the National Hockey League although, unlike Tkaczuk, Krupp spent his formative years in Germany, and arrived in North America as a young but experienced professional.
Krupp is currently the head coach of HC Sparta Praha. His son Björn Krupp is a professional ice hockey player.
|June 4||Colorado Avalanche||3–1||Florida Panthers||McNichols Sports Arena|
|June 6||Colorado Avalanche||8–1||Florida Panthers||McNichols Sports Arena|
|June 8||Florida Panthers||2–3||Colorado Avalanche||Miami Arena|
|June 10||Florida Panthers||0–1||3OT||Colorado Avalanche||Miami Arena|