St. Louis Celebrates, Leaving Other Cities to Sing the Title Drought Blues

When the St. Louis Blues defeated the Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals in Boston on Wednesday night, it was the team’s first title. After the 4-1 win, Blues fans celebrated a championship they had been waiting for since coming into the N.H.L. in 1967. A year ago, the Washington Capitals, in the league since 1974, also lifted the Cup for the first time.

But joy in St. Louis and Washington has brought little consolation to fans of teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Vancouver Canucks and the Buffalo Sabres, who could only sigh and add another year to their own long championship droughts.

When the Leafs last won the Cup, in 1967, players and fans must have foreseen good things ahead. The team had won its fourth championship in six seasons and had 13 Cups in all, dating to 1918, when the team was so new it did not yet have a nickname. Since then, however, the Maple Leafs have not earned a return to the finals.

Though their droughts are a little shorter, the Canucks and the Sabres cannot look back at a glorious past; neither team has won a championship since joining the league in 1970.

The Sabres have made the finals twice; the Canucks three times. After losing Game 7 the last time, in 2011, angry Vancouver fans rioted, burning cars and looting stores.

Neither of those teams seem on the cusp of turning it around: The Canucks have missed the playoffs four straight years and the Sabres eight.

No sport lacks a long-suffering fan base. Ask fans of the Cleveland Indians (last title 1948), who have taken over from the Cubs as baseball’s lovable losers after Chicago finally won a World Series in 2016. Beating, ouch, the Indians.

In the N.F.L., the Arizona Cardinals last won a title in 1947, though they have played in different cities; the Detroit Lions have the longest drought, since 1957, of teams that have stayed put.

The Rochester Royals enjoyed an N.B.A. title in 1951. Then they became the Cincinnati Royals, the Kansas City (and Kansas City-Omaha) Kings and finally the Sacramento Kings. No further titles though. The Suns have stayed in sunny Phoenix since being founded in 1968. But they haven’t won a championship.

Of the teams in the inaugural Major League Soccer season in 1996, the New England Revolution, F.C. Dallas and the Red Bulls have never won the M.L.S. Cup. Each has won a Supporters’ Shield or U.S. Open Cup though.

The Liberty and the Utah Starzz/San Antonio (Silver) Stars/Las Vegas Aces franchise have been in the W.N.B.A. since the beginning, in 1997, without a title.

Once we open up the competition to the rest of the world, there are plenty more droughts to consider. A couple of notable ones from England: Fulham was founded in London in 1879. It is still seeking its first major title, although it has won the second division.

And three teams have never won the County Championship in cricket: Northamptonshire, which joined in 1905; Somerset, 1891; and Gloucester, 1890. But just ask the Blues: There is always hope. At this writing, Somerset is in first place.

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