Every hockey fan has heard rumors about post-finals win antics or wondered what goes on behind closed doors as the famed Keeper of the Cup stands watch.
But what’s there to know about the Stanley Cup trophy itself?
To start, it’s got quite the legacy as the oldest trophy in major league sports. The illustrious Lord Stanley of Preston commissioned the original silver and nickel bowl-shaped trophy in 1892 for the $1,326 in current dollar value. He initially called it the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup; passing it between amateur, then semi-organized, then professional teams until its retirement due to fragility.
If you want to see the original Stanley Cup, you’ll have to travel to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, where it’s rested since 1970. Nowadays there are two active versions, called the authentic, or Presentation Cup, and the display. Philip Pritchard, who works for the Hockey Hall of Fame, has been Keeper of the Cup for over a decade, safeguarding the trophy with his distinctive white gloves.
The silver-cast authentic cup, signified by the Hall of Fame insignia on its base, was created in secret by Carl Petersen in 1963 and revealed to the public three years later. It carries five active bands. The most recent includes 2006 to 2017’s champions, with a new band scheduled to be added this year for the 2018 to 2030 season. When the cup is disassembled to add and engrave the new ring, the 1953-1965 band will be removed and retired.
Per recent years, a team typically submits 52 names to be engraved. This includes players with at least 41 active games, coaching staff, owners, and managers. After this season’s additions, there will be 3,229 names engraved on the Cup. Of those, 1,331 are players, 12 of these are names are women, and 11 are repeats of Montreal’s Henri Richard, who played with the Canadiens from 1955 to 1975.
Since 1994, winning teams give each of their members a Cup Day where the possessor is free to take it anywhere and do anything with it – hence the crazy stories. Of the tall tales we know to be true, the Cup has visited 25 countries, three dogs have eaten out of it, and at least one baby has been baptized in its bowl.
The display version, made in 1993, stands at the Hall of Fame whenever the authentic cup is not available due to travel or, well, its presence during the Stanley Cup Final.
The last time the Cup traveled to Washington wasn’t too long ago. As part of the NHL’s 100-year traveling exhibit on the league’s history, it stopped by for a brief viewing period during the Capitals’ season opener.
Many fans joked that we would never see the real thing again – but clearly, we lucked out.
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