THE QUEST FOR THE STANLEY CUP

JOE SAKIC

The ultimate prize of the NHL, The Stanley Cup is the oldest sports trophy in North America, and is in fact older than the league itself. The legendary cup was first introduced to hockey in 1893 by Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley, the Governor General of Canada. An avid hockey fan, Stanley purchased and donated the decorated trophy in his name to be presented to the highest ranking amateur hockey club in Canada. That very cup was awarded to every champion hockey team almost every spring until its retirement in 1970, when it was replaced with a replica Presentation Cup that is still used today. Unlike most professional trophies, a new Cup is not forged every year, giving the sacred award quite an interesting story…

stanleycup2.jpg

The 411 on the Cup

  • In the beginning, the Cup was inscribed the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, and was purely in the hands of amateur clubs.  The NHL did not reserve exclusive rights to the Cup until 1947.

  • When the Cup was introduced, there was no formal playoff system. It would be awarded to the team in first place at the end of the regular season.

  • The very first Stanley Cup “winner” was the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association.

  • In 1908, the Allan Cup became the new prize for the amatuer winner, thus making the Stanley Cup the symbol of professional hockey superiority.

  • The Seattle Metropolitans took the title in 1917, becoming the first American team to win the Cup.

  • There are actual three Cups total. The third is a replica Cup that sits in the Hall of Fame.

  • The Cup’s engravers weren’t always accurate, and there are many misspellings etched onto the trophy. For instance, you’ll find the 1980-81 New York Islanders listed as “llanders.”

  • stanleycup4.jpg

  • The Cup is always entrusted to a guardian from the Hall of Fame, deemed the Keeper of the Cup. It’s their job to chaperone the safety and location of the Cup.

  • Two players have used the Cup to baptize a baby — Colorado Avalanche defenseman Sylvain Lefebvre and Detroit Red Wings left-winger Tomas Holmström.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *