A printable list of past Stanley Cup winners and results throughout NHL hockey history. The NHL playoffs close with the Stanley Cup Finals which was first played in 1926 and has been held annually except for the 2004-05 season. The Stanley Cup Finals are decided in a best-of-seven series. Today, the Stanley Cup Finals is played with the Champion of the Eastern Conference and the Champion of the Western Conference. The Stanley Cup Champions would receive the Stanley Cup Trophy.