How many of us have been in a bar while a hockey game is playing and don’t exactly know what is going on? People are watching sports all around the world, but how many really know about the origin of the trophy that the winners get? The Stanley Cup is the oldest sports trophy in the world, and has a history that goes back to the time in which Canada was not even independent for the United Kingdom.
Nowadays, people are focusing on the goals, teams and fight that seem to constantly be happening on the ice. People are unaware of the great history and interesting facts going on during the off-season and the life of the Stanley Cup when the playoffs are over. During this period of the year where the finals of the NHL are happening, there are facts that you should know about the Stanley Cup in order to make yourself a true avid fan of the game. So here are 10 facts you probably didn’t know about the precious Stanley Cup.
10. Henri Richard Won The Cup 11 Times, The Most Times Ever
The Montreal Canadians, or the Habs for the locals, have won the Stanley Cup 24 times which is an NHL high record. Henri Richard, a former center for the team from 1955 to 1975, won this cup 11 times. Having his name written eleven times on the trophy makes him one of the biggest players of all time in the league. The second player with the most Cup wins is also a player for the Canadians, Jean Beliveau. Beliveau won the trophy 10 times as a player and 7 more time because he was part of the directing team.
9. The Names are Engraved in Montreal
When the final game is over, the cup travels to Montreal in order to engrave the winning players names onto the cup. In September, the cup stays in Montreal for a few weeks in order for Louise St Jacques to engrave all the names. She has been in charge of doing so for twenty-one years. Since the beginning of the cup in 1892, only four people have done this job. In fact, many engraved errors appear on the cup like the Toronto Maple Leafs being engraved as the “Leaes” in 1963, Boston Bruins engraved as “BQSTQN” in 1972 and the New York Islanders were spelled “Ilanders”.
8. Problems During Travel
In 2010, the Chicago Blackhawks won the trophy. At the time, their goalie was French player Christobal Huet. Huet wanted to go back to France with the Stanley Cup, but the only problem was that an Air France employee did not want him to board the plane with the cup. Luckily for him, two Minnesota fans saw him with the cup and started to take pictures. Coincidentally, he boarded the plane later without any difficulties.
7. The Cup Goes To War
The cup has travelled a lot, basically around the entire world. In 2007 and 2008, the cup travelled to Afghanistan in order to visit American and Canadian soldiers to boost their moral. The comments of the soldiers about the visit at Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar, an active war zone, can be read in the Hall of Fame journal.
6. The Cup’s Bodyguard
The Stanley Cup actually has its own guardian, Phil Pritchard. This Ontarian has guarded the cup since 1991. He is the one who gives the cup to the winners and then travels with it to America, Canada and Europe in order to promote hockey around the world. The winning team is allowed 100 days during the off season to travel with the cup. The cup goes to winning parades, days with sponsors and days with individual players and staff members, but always has the guardian around. Players are usually allowed one personal day with the trophy. A twitter account was created in order to follow the busy schedule of the Cups whereabouts day by day.
5. Stealing The Cup
No the cup has never actually been stolen, but attempts were made twice by Canadian citizens. The first time was back in 1962. A fan of Montreal tried to steal the cup during a series against Chicago and bring the cup back to Montreal. The second time was in 1978 when McGill students tried to steal the trophy when it was in the hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto in order to take it back to Montreal again. Every time the police intervened and stopped the thieves.
4. Used As a Glass and a Baptismal Bowl
Once players win the cup there is no telling what they will drink from it. It has been filled with everything from beer to champagne. People have eaten out of the cup like popcorn and ice cream. An interesting story is that one player even brought it with him fishing and he put his daily catches in it. Two babies have also been baptised in the cup: the daughter of Sylvain Lefebvre, a player of the Colorado Avalanches in 1996, and Tomas Holmstrom (from the Detroit Red Wings) cousin’s daughter, who brought the cup to Sweden in order to do so. More recently, Dennis Seidenberg had his daughter Noah baptized in the cup after winning with Boston in 2011. It has also been brought to two strip clubs, once in Edmonton by Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier in 1987 and Messier again in 1994 in Manhattan.
3. The Cup’s Details
The trophy weighs 35 lbs and is 36 inches high. Every year new silver rings are added to it with the names of the winners. In order to limit the weight of the trophy, every thirteen years, one ring is taken off of the cup to leave room for the names of the new winners. In order to engrave and put a new ring, the trophy have to be entirely disassembled.
2. The Three Cups
There have actually been 3 versions of the cup. The original one has been exposed in the hockey Hall of Fame of hockey in Toronto since 1969. The second one, which is the trophy that the team keeps for a year was made in 1960. Finally, a third one is kept in the storage room of the hockey Hall of Fame for when the first one is travelling with the winning team.
1. Origin of the Cup
The original cup was bought for $50 in 1892 by Lord Stanley Preston, the governor general of Canada at the time. The cup had been made in Sheffield, England, in 1890. On the cup says “Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup” on one side and “From Stanley Preston” on the other side and so at the time, the teams were playing to win the “Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup”. The cup has four nicknames: The Cup, The Lord Stanley Cup, The Holy Grail, and Lord Stanley’s Mug.