There are many traditions and anecdotes associated with the Stanley Cup. The Stanley Cup is the championship trophy of the National Hockey League (NHL), the major professional ice hockey league in Canada and the United States. It is commonly referred to as simply "The Cup", "The Holy Grail" or facetiously (chiefly by sportswriters) as "Lord Stanley's Mug".
Unlike the trophies awarded by the other three major professional sports leagues of North America, a new Stanley Cup is not made annually; the champions keep the Cup until a new champion is crowned. It is also one of only two trophies in professional sports which has the name of the winning players, coaches, management, and club staff engraved upon it, the other being the Canadian Football League's Grey Cup.
It is at the centre of several legends and superstitions. Many of these anecdotes involve the Stanley Cup being mistreated in some way. It is the most-travelled championship trophy in the world.
Traditions[edit | edit source]
One of the oldest traditions, started by the 1896 Winnipeg Victorias, dictates that the winning team drink champagne from the top bowl after their victory. Another tradition is the on-ice presentation of the Cup to the captain of the winning team after the series-winning victory, and the subsequent carrying of the trophy around the rink by each member of the victorious club. This has not always been the case — prior to the 1930s, the Cup was not awarded immediately after the victory. Possibly the first time that the Cup was awarded on the ice was to the 1932 Toronto Maple Leafs, but the practice did not become an annual tradition until the 1950s. Ted Lindsay of the 1950 Cup champion Detroit Red Wings became the first captain, upon receiving the Cup, to hoist it overhead and skate around the rink. Since then, it has been a tradition to have each member of the winning team take a lap around the ice with the trophy hoisted above his head. This was slightly breached by Joe Sakic and Ray Bourque when the Colorado Avalanche won the Cup in 2001. Bourque had, until requesting a trade on March 6, 2000, only ever played for the Boston Bruins. The seventh game of the 2001 Finals was the last of Bourque's 22-year NHL career, having never been on a Cup-winning team until that time. When Sakic received the trophy, he did not hoist it, but instead immediately handed it to Bourque for him to hoist. Sakic then followed Bourque in hoisting the trophy.
Touching (or NOT touching) the Cup[edit | edit source]
Another tradition (or rather superstition) that is prevalent among today's NHL players is that no player should touch the Cup itself until his team has rightfully won the Cup. Adding to this superstition is some players' choice to neither touch nor hoist the conference trophies (Clarence S. Campbell Bowl and Prince of Wales Trophy) when these series have been won; the players feel that the Stanley Cup is the true championship trophy, and only it should be hoisted.
However, in 1994, Stephane Matteau, then of the New York Rangers, admitted that he tapped the Wales Trophy with his stick's blade before the overtime period in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Matteau subsequently scored the game-winning goal in double overtime against the New Jersey Devils. Following the game, Mark Messier, the captain of the Rangers, picked up and raised the Wales Trophy after it was awarded to the team. Despite these touches, the Rangers went on to win the Stanley Cup that season. Scott Stevens and Martin Brodeur hoisted the trophy as well in 2000, after the New Jersey Devils came back from a 3-1 series deficit to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers in seven games; the Devils would go on to defeat the Dallas Stars in the Stanley Cup Finals. In 2002 the Carolina Hurricanes hoisted the Prince of Wales Trophy after they won their conference title; the Hurricanes lost their Finals series with the Detroit Red Wings four games to one (however, Steve Yzerman had also hoisted the Campbell Bowl when the Red Wings defeated the Colorado Avalanche in the 2002 Western Conference Finals).
The superstition held true in 2004, as Jarome Iginla of the Calgary Flames grabbed the Campbell Bowl, but Dave Andreychuk of the Tampa Bay Lightning refused to touch the Prince of Wales Trophy; the Lightning won the Stanley Cup in seven games. In 2007, Daniel Alfredsson and Wade Redden of the Ottawa Senators touched and picked up the Prince of Wales Trophy, respectively, but Anaheim Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer never came close to the Campbell Bowl; the Ducks won the Stanley Cup in five games. Steve Yzerman, captain of the Detroit Red Wings during their 1997, 1998, and 2002 Stanley Cup victories, picked up the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl each time, though his successor Nicklas Lidstrom did not touch it en route to a 2008 Stanley Cup victory. In 2009, Sidney Crosby and other members of the Pittsburgh Penguins carried and posed with the Prince of Wales Trophy before going on to win the Stanley Cup. Most recently, at the close of the 2010 Eastern Conference final, Philadelphia Flyers captain Mike Richards picked up the Wales Trophy. Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks captain, did not touch the Campbell Bowl, and the Blackhawks went on to defeat the Flyers in 6 games for the 2010 Stanley Cup.
Adventures[edit | edit source]
Players' day with cup[edit | edit source]
Players have unofficially had a private day with the Cup, a tradition started in 1995 wherein each member of the Cup-winning team is allowed personal possession of the Cup for a day. It is always accompanied by at least one representative from the Hockey Hall of Fame. The tradition became subject of an ESPN marketing campaign which showed players using the Cup: Ken Daneyko ate cereal out of it, Derian Hatcher used it as a cooler at a party, and Brett Hull locked himself out of his vehicle with the Cup inside while out shopping with Mike Modano. Victors of the Cup have used it to baptize their children. Clark Gillies of the New York Islanders allowed his dog to eat out of the Cup.
Europe[edit | edit source]
The Cup first left North America in 1996 when it went to Sweden with Peter Forsberg; he brought it to Stockholm as well as to his hometown Örnsköldsvik. In Russia, it has been to Red Square and a soccer game at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, and to a monument near Yekaterinburg marking the geographic boundary between Europe and Asia. It went west to Kiev, Ukraine, for the first time with Tampa Bay Game-7 hero Ruslan Fedotenko; Carolina Hurricanes defenceman Anton Babchuk returned with it, again to Kiev. After 114 years, the Cup made a trip in April 2006 back to London, where it was originally made. A plaque was placed at the site of the store where Lord Stanley purchased the Cup. In 2007, the Cup went to Helsinki, Finland, with Anaheim Ducks forward Teemu Selanne. Tomas Holmstrom brought the trophy to his hometown Piteå in Sweden in the summer of 2008. He used the trophy as a baptismal font for his niece, and also as a serving dish for pitepalt.
North America[edit | edit source]
The Stanley Cup came to Port Dover, Ontario, with Jassen Culimore when the Tampa Bay Lightning won the cup. He was the fourth NHLer to bring the cup to this small hockey town on the shore of Lake Erie. It came to Simcoe, Ontario with Rob Blake when the Colorado Avalanche won the cup. A parade was held in his honor, and a private party was thrown for family and friends. Assistant Coach Colin Campbell brought it to his hometown Tillsonburg, Ontario after the New York Rangers won in 1994. Daniel Cleary brought the Cup to his hometown of Harbour Grace, Newfoundland. As the first Newfoundlander to win the Cup, he attracted an estimated crowd of 27,000 to the tiny community of just over 3,000. The Cup went to the top of Fisher Peak, near Cranbrook, British Columbia and the top of Mt. Elbert in Colorado. Brad Richards from Murray Harbour, Prince Edward Island took the Stanley Cup out on a fishing boat after the Tampa Bay Lightning won the cup. It went to an Aboriginal Métis Nation Settlement, and it went to an igloo in Rankin Inlet. It served as the engagement ring bearer for the Tampa Bay Lightning's André Roy while in a helicopter flown by Guy Lafleur.
The Cup has experienced Los Angeles celebrity glamour, having been taken on a roller coaster ride at Universal Studios Hollywood, being taken to the Hollywood Sign by Luc Robitaille. It also took part in the 2008 Rose Bowl Parade as part of Anaheim city's float, accompanied by player Brad May as his Ducks team were the current reigning champions.
It was also a White House guest of Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and it is currently a tradition of the U.S. president to invite the NHL champion if the team is from an American city. It is a similar tradition for the Prime Minister of Canada to invite the winners, if it is a Canadian team that wins, to Ottawa. The Cup has appeared on Corner Gas, The Late Show with David Letterman, Meet the Press with Tim Russert, Late Night with Conan O'Brien and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. It has served as the baptismal font for Sylvain Lefebvre's daughter.
The Cup has even gained experience as an "actor". It has appeared in several scenes of the long-running soap opera Guiding Light. It also appeared on Boston Legal where William Shatner knocked it off a balcony, and on the 30 Rock episodeSubway Hero.
Afghanistan[edit | edit source]
On May 2, 2007, the Stanley Cup arrived in Kandahar on a Canadian Forces C-130 Hercules transport aircraft. Seventeen former players played a ball hockey game versus Canadian soldiers on a concrete rink in the Afghan desert.
Misadventures[edit | edit source]
The Cup has also been mistreated, misplaced, or otherwise misused on numerous occasions. In 1905, a member of the Ottawa Senators tried to drop kick the Cup across the Rideau Canal. The attempt failed, and the Cup was not retrieved until the next day; luckily the canal was still frozen over. In 1906, weeks after members of the Montreal Wanderers left it at a photographer's studio, officials learned that the photographer's mother was using the Cup to plant geraniums. In 1907, a Kenora Thistles team manager threatened to throw the Cup into the Lake of the Woods in a dispute over the eligibility of two Thistles players.
In 1924, members of the Montreal Canadiens, en route to celebrate their win at owner Leo Dandurand's home, left it by the road after repairing a flat tire. The Cup was recovered exactly where they left it. In 1925, Lynn and Muzz Patrick, the sons of Victoria Cougars manager-coach Lester Patrick, discovered the Cup in the basement of their home, and scratched their names on it with a nail. In 1940, their names were properly engraved on it as members of the champion New York Rangers. They also urinated in the Cup with teammates.
During the 1940–41 NHL season, the mortgage on Madison Square Garden was paid. The management publicly celebrated by burning the mortgage in the Cup. Some fans claimed this act "desecrated" the Cup, leading to the Curse of 1940, which allegedly caused the Rangers to wait 54 years for another win.
In 1957, Maurice "Rocket" Richard chipped both of his front teeth while drinking from the Stanley Cup.
In the Chicago Stadium, in the spring of 1961, the Montreal Canadiens were losing the final game of a Playoff series to the Chicago Blackhawks. A Montreal fan (Ken Kilander) in the stands was upset, so he left his seat, ran down to the front lobby and broke into the glass showcase where the Stanley Cup was on display. He grabbed the Cup, hoisted it over his shoulders and made for the exit before he was arrested. In court, he explained his behaviour to the judge: "Your Honour, I was simply bringing the Cup back to Montreal where it belongs."
In 1962, the Toronto Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup. During a party after the win, the trophy was dropped in a bonfire and badly damaged. It was repaired at the expense of the team.
In 1964, Red Kelly of the Toronto Maple Leafs posed for a photo with his infant son sitting in the Cup, only to find the child had urinated in it. Kelly was quoted years later as saying it has always since made him laugh to see players drinking out of the Cup.
In 1987, the Edmonton Oilers' Mark Messier took it to his favourite club in his hometown of St. Albert, Alberta, and let fans drink out of it. It wound up slightly bent in various places for unknown reasons. It was repaired at a local automotive shop, and shipped back to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins and 1993 Montreal Canadiens decided to test its buoyancy by tossing it into Mario Lemieux's and Patrick Roy's respective pools ("The Stanley Cup"—noted then-Canadiens captain Guy Carbonneau—"does not float."). The Cup was then recovered two days later. Dominik Hašek had his visit with the Cup cut short for doing the same.
After the parade in their honor in 1994, members of the New York Rangers, including Mike Richter, took the cup to McSorley's Old Ale House, locked the doors, and for 45 minutes allowed the patrons to hoist it above their heads and drink McSorley's Dark and Light out of it. The New York Post reported the next day that the cup was taken back by the league for "repairs" to its base. Later, several New York Rangers took the Cup to Belmont Park, filled it with oats, and let Kentucky Derby winner Go for Gin eat out of it.
The 1999 Dallas Stars' Stanley Cup party was hosted at the house of Stars defenceman Craig Ludwig and Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul. At the party, Stars forward Guy Carbonneau (apparently having forgotten the Cup's lack of buoyancy from his 1993 adventures) allegedly attempted to throw the Cup from the upstairs deck into the house's Crown Royal shaped pool below. The Cup caught the lip of the pool, producing a large dent. Mike Bolt, one of the "Keepers of the Cup" for the NHL, stated that this never happened. "What happened was that one of the players was posing with it next to the pool when someone pushed him into the water, and it went in with him. It was in the water maybe two seconds," Bolt said. "It was a real good party from what I understand." The trophy was dented the previous day, when a player dropped it during a locker room celebration, Bolt said.
In 1999 and 2003, the cup made a trip to Joe Nieuwendyk's alma mater, Cornell University, both times visiting a local college bar. In 2003, Martin Brodeur ate popcorn out of the Cup, and had butter stains and salt damage for the next 8 days before Jamie Langenbrunner cleaned it. In 2003, the Cup was slated to make its first-ever visit to Slovakia with New Jersey Devils' Jiri Bicek, but was left behind in Canada; it was on the next flight out of Toronto. Finally, on August 22, 2004, Walter Neubrand, keeper of the Cup, boarded a plane to Fort St. John, British Columbia, to deliver it to Tampa Bay Lightning head scout Jake Goertzen. However, Air Canada officials at Vancouver International Airport removed it before takeoff because of weight restrictions. The Cup spent the night in the luggage area, 1,200 kilometres (750 miles) away. It was flown to Fort St. John the following day.
In 2007, a photoshoot on the set of the NBC television series Heroes showed actors Milo Ventimiglia and Hayden Panettiere "goofing off" with the cup, including worshiping, walking with, and Hayden licking and kissing the trophy.
Also, in May of 2007, the cup made it to the set of ABC's Boston Legal. In the Episode "Duck and Cover", Denny Crane pulls some strings to get his hands on the Cup for a day. While on loan, he takes it up to his office where he decides to engrave his name on it, noting that, "They'll never notice. It's got so many dings on it already." That evening, he takes it to his penthouse office patio where he decides to drink scotch out of it with Alan Shore. After they take turns drinking out of the Cup, Denny sets it on the balcony ledge in preparation for taking pictures with it, but accidentally knocks it over. With a long, speechless pause, they watch the Cup tumble off the balcony to land on the street below. And with a loud, graceless metallic 'clunk', Alan comments, "That will leave a significant ding!" 
On June 7, 2007, after the Anaheim Ducks won the Cup, captain Scott Niedermayer brought the trophy to the set in Los Angeles of Jim Rome is Burning. While the Cup was on set, the associate producer of JRIB, Travis Rodgers, hoisted and posed with the Cup. The images were then posted on Jim Rome's website, which upset many Canadians, who called Rome's radio show on June 8 to complain that Rodgers had disrespected the Cup. Don Cherry called into the program to defend Rodgers, stating his belief that he did not disrespect the Cup at all.
On June 6, 2008, after the Red Wings' Stanley Cup Parade, the Stanley Cup was pushed off a table at Chris Chelios' Chili Bar in Detroit, Michigan and received a dent, which was later smoothed out. After the 2008 NHL Awards, it was revealed that the damage was more extensive than originally realized.
A week after the same Detroit team won the Cup, Kris Draper's newborne daughter defecated in the Cup as she sat in it. The Cup was thoroughly cleaned and Draper reportedly drank from it that same day.
On October 9, 2008, Def Leppard's Joe Elliott placed the Cup upside down on a pedestal on the stage during one of their NHL Face-Off Rocks segments at the Fox Theater in Detroit. Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios claimed the musician disgraced the Cup on purpose. Shortly after the incident, an article on Def Leppard's website appeared with Elliott claiming that every other sports cup he had ever seen before then was smaller at its base than at the top, so he thought this cup was no different.
References[edit | edit source]
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- Boston Legal Script.
- Travis Rodgers with Stanley Cup. Premiere Radio Networks.
- "Stanley Cup OK after getting dinged up at Cheli's". The Detroit News. Retrieved on 2008-06-09. “NHL spokeswoman Bernadette Mansur said Saturday that the Cup got a slight dent Friday after some players took the trophy to Cheli's Chili Bar, a downtown restaurant owned by Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios. ... Mansur says dent was smoothed out, and the trophy was expected to keep making the rounds.”
- How the Wings broke the Cup. Canwest Digital Media (2008-06-17). Retrieved on 2008-06-17. “And no, the dent wasn’t “slight”. ... One of the bands that contain all the names popped off at one point.”
- "That's A Stanley Cup You Can Keep.
- No one gave Def Leppard the Stanley Cup instruction manual?. Yahoo! Sports (2008-10-09). Retrieved on 2009-02-17.
- Chelios: Def Leppard disgraced the Stanley Cup on purpose. Yahoo! Sports (2008-10-16). Retrieved on 2009-02-17.
- Joe needs to explain something.... DefLeppard.com (2008-10-13). Retrieved on 2010-07-21.
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