Traditions and anecdotes
The Stanley Cup, originally called the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, is awarded each year by the National Hockey League to the champion of its playoff tournament.
The Stanley Cup trophy itself is colloquially known as "Lord Stanley's Mug" or simply as "The Silver Cup" and tradition dictates that the winning team drink champagne from the top bowl after their victory. Another tradition dictates that immediately following the series-winning victory the captain of the winning team receives the Cup, and then is the first to hoist it overhead; the cup is then passed from player to player and hoisted by each member of the team as they skate round the rink, a tradition known as "skating the cup". This second tradition was slightly breached in 2001 by Joe Sakic and Ray Bourque when the Avalanche won the Cup. The seventh game of the 2001 Finals was the last of Bourque's 22 year NHL career, and he had never been on a Cup-winning team until then. After Avs captain Sakic received the Cup from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, he did not hoist it, but instead handed it to Bourque for him to hoist. Sakic then followed Bourque in hoisting the trophy.
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 thus it should be the only trophy that they should be hoisting. However, it should be noted that in 1994, Stephane Matteau, then of the New York Rangers, admitted to tapping 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.
Although many players have unofficially had a private day with the Cup before, a tradition started in 1995 wherein each member of the Cup-winning team is allowed personal possession of the Cup for a day, the Cup also being accompanied by representatives of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Unfortunately, Lord Stanley himself never saw a game where his trophy was on the line, nor did he ever present the Cup bearing his name to the champions, having to return to England in 1893.
The Cup's travels
The Cup has been to many places around the world as one of the most recognizable trophies in professional sports. It has logged more than 400,000 miles (640,000 km) during the past five seasons. Among the places the Cup has travelled:
- the top of two mountains — Fisher Peak, near Cranbrook, British Columbia and Mt. Elbert in Colorado;
- both Red Square and a soccer game at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow;
- a monument near Yekaterinburg, Russia marking the geographic boundary between Europe and Asia;
- an auto glass plant where then-Colorado Avalanche head coach Bob Hartley had been working at while he was coaching minor-league hockey;
- an Aboriginal Métis Nation Settlement;
- a roller-coaster at Universal Studios theme park;
- the "Hollywood" sign in Los Angeles;
- on the back of former Detroit Red Wings' player Darren McCarty's motorcycle for a spin;
- on the back of Tampa Bay Lightning's Brad Richards' jetski, and later on his father's fishing boat on Northumberland Strait (both times, the cup had its own life jacket);
- an igloo in Rankin Inlet;
- the White House as a guest of George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton;
- a guest on The Late Show with David Letterman, Meet the Press with Tim Russert, and Late Night with Conan O'Brien;
- took part in the 1999 5K Celebrity Run Walk in Los Angeles for Women's Cancer Research.
The Cup has also been mistreated, misplaced, or otherwise misused on numerous occasions:
- A member of the 1905 Ottawa Silver Seven tried to see if he could drop kick the Cup across the frozen Rideau Canal. The attempt failed, and the Cup was not retrieved until the next day.
- Weeks after members of the 1906 Montreal Wanderers left it at a photographer's studio, officials learned that the photographer's mother was using the Cup to plant geraniums.
- Several members of the 1924 Canadiens, en route to celebrate their win at owner Leo Dandurand's home, left it by a roadside after repairing a flat tire. The Cup was recovered exactly where they left it.
- In 1925, Lynn and Muzz Patrick, the children of Victoria Cougars manager-coach Lester Patrick, discover the Cup in the basement of their home, and scratched their names on the Cup with a nail. In 1940, both Lynn and Muzz would be properly engraved on the Cup as members of the New York Rangers. They would also urinate in the cup with teammates in 1940.
- During the 1940-41 season, the mortgage on the then-current Madison Square Garden was paid off. The arena management publicly burned the mortgage in the Cup. Some fans claimed that this act "desecrated" the Cup, leading to the alleged Curse of 1940, which "caused" the Rangers to wait 54 years for another Cup win.
- New York Islanders' Bryan Trottier admitted not only to sleeping with it (as have, apparently, dozens of players before and since), but also to unscrewing the bowl as a food dish for his dog.
- In 1988, the Edmonton Oilers' Mark Messier took it to a strip club and let fans drink out of it. The Cup wound up slightly bent in various places for reasons unknown. The Cup was repaired at a local automotive shop, and shipped back to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
- Both the 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins and 1993 Montreal Canadiens tested its buoyancy, causing it to wind up at the bottom of Mario Lemieux's and Patrick Roy's respective swimming pools ("The Stanley Cup," as pointed out by then-Canadiens captain Guy Carbonneau, "does not float.")
- Several 1994 Rangers, during their year with the Cup, took it to Belmont Park, a horse racing track just outside the New York City limits. While there, they filled the Cup with oats and let the previous Kentucky Derby winner, Go for Gin, eat out of it.
- Sylvain Lefebvre of the 1996 Colorado Avalanche had his daughter baptized in it.
- In 2003, the Cup was slated to make its first-ever visit to Slovakia with New Jersey Devils' Jiri Bicek, but it never arrived, having inadvertently been left behind in Canada; the Cup made the next flight out of Toronto.
- On August 22, 2004, Walter Neubrand, keeper of the Cup, was en route 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 the 35-pound (16 kilogram) trophy before takeoff because of weight restrictions. The Cup spent the night in the luggage area, 750 miles (1200 kilometres) away. It was flown to Fort St. John the following day.
Errors in engraving
There have also been errors on the engraving on the Cup, some of which also exist on the duplicate Cup found in the Hockey Hall of Fame:
- In 1929, Boston Bruins player-coach Cy Denneny's name was listed on the Cup twice (once as a player and once as a coach), with one being spelled correctly and the other as "Cy Dennenny".
- In 1952, Detroit Red Wings' coach Tommy Ivan's last name was misspelled as "Nivan", and Alex Delvecchio's last name was misspelled as "Belvecchio".
- In 1964, the Toronto Maple Leafs was misspelled as "Toronto Maple Leaes", the Montreal Canadiens was misspelled as "Montreal Canadiene" two years later, and in 1981, the New York Islanders were identified as the "New York Ilanders".
- In 1984, Oilers owner Peter Pocklington included his father, Basil Pocklington, on his trophy. However, as Basil had no connection to the team, his name was crossed out with a row of Xs.
- In 1996, Colorado Avalanche forward Adam Deadmarsh's last name was misspelled as "Deadmarch". It was later corrected, the first time that had ever happened. Six years later, Detroit Red Wings' goaltender Manny Legace's last name was misspelled "Lagace", and was also corrected.
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