The Stanley Cup is the championship trophy awarded annually to the National Hockey League playoff winner after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Finals. Originally commissioned in 1892 as the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, the trophy is named for Lord Stanley of Preston, then–Governor General of Canada, who awarded it to Canada's top-ranking amateur ice hockey club, which the entire Stanley family supported, with the sons and daughters playing and promoting the game. The first Cup was awarded in 1893 to Montreal HC. In 1915, the two professional ice hockey organizations, the National Hockey Association and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, reached a gentlemen's agreement in which their respective champions would face each other for the Stanley Cup. After a series of league mergers and folds, the Stanley "Presentation Cup" was established as the de facto championship trophy of the NHL in 1926 and then the de jure NHL championship prize in 1947.
There are actually three Stanley Cups: the original bowl of the "Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup", the authenticated "Presentation Cup", and the "Replica Cup" at the Hall of Fame. The NHL has maintained effective control over both the trophy itself and its associated trademarks. Nevertheless, the NHL does not actually own the trophy, but instead uses it by agreement with the two Trustees of the Cup. The NHL has registered trademarks associated with the name and likeness of the Stanley Cup, although the league's right to outright own trademarks associated with a trophy it does not own has been disputed by some legal experts.