For the first time ever, Paul Maurice and his Florida Panthers are Stanley Cup champions. It took the head coach almost three decades, and the franchise just over three, but this title will live forever.

The Panthers outlasted a furious Edmonton Oilers series comeback, winning 2-1 in Game 7 at Amerant Bank Arena on Monday night to vault Florida into hockey immortality.

“I've been chasing that for a long time,” Maurice admitted after hoisting the Stanley Cup shortly after the biggest victory of his life, per ESPN's Greg Wyshynski. “It's got nothing to do with the coach; this group has been special since day one.”

The fourth winningest coach in NHL history added: “This is brilliant. I've never hugged so many sweaty men in my life, I don't know if I'm going to do it again but I'm gonna do it tonight. It's not what I thought it would be. It's so much better.”

Maurice has been coaching at the NHL level since joining the now-defunct Hartford Whalers back in 1995-96. He had stints with the Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets before joining the Cats in 2022-23.

And now, 29 years after he began his head coaching journey, Maurice finally has a Stanley Cup.

Maurice, Panthers in 7th heaven after outlasting Oilers

The Florida Panthers celebrate wininng the Stanley Cup against the Edmonton Oilers in game seven of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final at Amerant Bank Arena.
Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

The Panthers faced just a single elimination game in the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They dispatched the Tampa Bay Lightning in five games before taking care of the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers in six each, respectively.

And they jumped out to a 3-0 lead on the Oilers, entering Game 4 at Rogers Place looking locked in to capture their maiden championship. But Connor McDavid and his Oil wouldn't go away, turning on the jets in Games 4-6 to force the two best words in sports.

But in Game 7, it was the Cats who came through, with Sam Reinhart scoring the eventual game-winning goal in the second period. Sergei Bobrovsky did the rest between the pipes, making 23 saves on 24 shots in a legacy bounce-back performance from the Russian netminder.

Monday night was Florida's first time in the postseason facing elimination, and a loss would have been a monumental collapse that would have changed how this organization is viewed by the entire hockey world. Instead, they're immortalized, bringing a championship to South Beach for the first time ever and finally getting Maurice his Cup.

“They say it's the hardest trophy to win in sports, and you can't imagine how hard it is, until you do it,” forward Evan Rodrigues said after recording an assist in the contest. “Getting to Game 7, it took pressure off of us, and we did it the hard way. But it was a perfect outcome.”

Although it'll be an impossibly long summer in Edmonton, the party is just starting in Fort Lauderdale. After being so close to collapse, it's nothing but elation for the newest owners of the Stanley Cup.