The original Victoria franchise of the PCHA, the Senators, were formed in 1911, and became the Aristocrats in 1913. That incarnation is best known for defeating the Stanley Cup champion Quebec Bulldogs in a 1913 exhibition series. The Aristocrats officially challenged the Toronto Blueshirts for the Cup the following year, but lost. In 1916 the team was forced to move to Spokane, Washington, after having their arena (Patrick Arena) commandeered by the Canadian military. The club folded the following year as the Spokane Canaries.
A new team was formed in 1918 and again were dubbed the Aristocrats, with players from the folded Portland Rosebuds. In 1922 they changed their name to the Victoria Cougars. Led by coach Lester Patrick, the Cougars would finally win a Stanley Cup in 1925 against the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Cougars were the last non-NHL team to hoist the Stanley Cup as well as the last west coast team to win the Cup until the Anaheim Ducks won the Cup in 2007. They would attempt to repeat as champions in 1926 but they were unsuccessful as they lost the final series to the NHL's Montreal Maroons.
The WHL dissolved after the season. That spring, a group of businessmen from Detroit won an NHL expansion franchise and bought the rights to many of the players from the Stanley Cup finalist Cougars. The new NHL franchise would retain the nickname "Cougars" in tribute. The Detroit Cougars would later be renamed the Detroit Falcons, and would ultimately be renamed the Detroit Red Wings.
Among the notable players who wore the uniform of the Cougars were Hall of Famers Hec Fowler (goaltender), Frank Foyston, Frank Fredrickson, Hap Holmes (goaltender), Clem Loughlin, Harry Meeking and Jack Walker.