The Stanley Cup is such a unique little piece of sports history.
You would think that would warrant a special level of respect from those who get to touch it. Well, that’s not always the case. The Stanley Cup has been through some questionable things. Some intentional, some just through neglect.
So what makes this trophy so special?
First of all, it’s the oldest existing award given to a professional sports franchise. The first cup being awarded in 1893, and professional hockey vying for it since 1906. Secondly, the Stanley Cup is the only professional sports championship trophy that doesn’t get remade every year. Other sports will make a new trophy to give to the winning team to keep. The Stanley Cup, on the other hand, is the same cup for every championship.
Every year, the names of the winning team and players get engraved on a ring of the cup. And when the cup gets too tall, older rings are taken off and put into Lord Stanley’s Vault in the Esso Great Hall in Toronto’s Hockey Hall of Fame. This happens traditionally every 13 years.
That’s not to say there’s nothing to show for the team who wins the cup. A replica is made for the team to display in their arena. It looks the same, though it’s shorter than the original. The original cup is kept in the Hockey Hall of Fame. But first, every player on the winning team gets to keep it for 24 hours. A tradition started in 1993.
Going down in history next to past hockey heroes.
What’s cool about the same cup being used every year is that winning teams and players get to see their names engraved next to those of their heroes. To date, there are more than 2,200 names on the cup (nhl.com). Some of them duplicate names as some players have won multiple times.
So much history in one artifact. Definitely something to be gently handled and cared for. Right? Well…not always. Here are some of the craziest things the Stanley Cup has been through. – Wendy Rush