The Stanley Cup is the trophy that is awarded annually to the victor of the National Hockey League playoffs. It is the oldest trophy to be awarded to a professional sports franchise.
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Though most Americans and Canadians have heard of the Stanley Cup and perhaps even seen it on television, there are plenty of details about the trophy that few people are aware of. Here are some little known facts about the iconic sports award and its colorful history.
What is it made of?
The cup is made of a silver and nickel alloy.
Who is it named for?
The trophy bears the name of Lord Stanley of Preston, who served as the Governor General of Canada in the 1890s. He was a big fan of hockey in Montreal and donated the cup to serve as an award for champions in the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association.
Is the original cup still awarded?
No. That cup was retired in 1970 and is now exhibited in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada. The “Presentation Cup” replaced the original trophy after that and is still awarded today.
What’s up with the rings underneath the cup?
In other sports leagues, a new trophy is created each year for winning teams to keep. In the NHL, the same trophy is passed around with the winning team’s roster engraved on the cup (to include the players, coaches, management and staff). Some of the original rosters were engraved on the cup itself, but that quickly became unsustainable. To create more room for engravings, the league decided to add engraved rings beneath the cup for each winning team. This made for a very tall trophy so the league declared a five-ring limit with the oldest of the five rings being sent to the Hockey Hall of Fame each time a new ring was added.
Who gets to keep the trophy?
Each winning hockey team gets 100 days with the trophy. Typically, teams allow each team member to have a full day with the trophy.
What do players do with the trophy?
Some enjoy the trophy alone in their homes. Others have parties and invite friends, family, and associates to admire the award. Some players have much more “exciting” plans for the trophy. At least three players have taken the trophy swimming. Two players have had infants baptized in the cup (one was a player’s daughter and another was a player’s baby cousin). Mark Messier of the Edmonton Oilers took his cup to a strip club where a female dancer purportedly incorporated the cup into her lewd routine.
In the 1920s, the Montreal Canadiens had the cup in their trunk after winning the championship game. After getting a flat tire while driving to a post-game party, they pulled over, stopped the car, and removed the trophy from the car to access the spare tire. They then left the cup on the side of the road and didn’t realize their error until they were in the thick of the party.
With the NHL championship game approaching, we will soon see which team’s roster will be engraved on the famous cup. If the cup could talk, it would doubtless reveal many exciting tidbits with plenty more to come as it travels to new places and between different team members in future years.