The Stanley Cup is the longest standing championship trophy awarded for any professional sport. It takes 28 wins in four best of seven rounds to hoist the Cup, and unlike other trophies, it’s the players that do so first. #LookingAtYouLombardi The Cup has had many adventures in its day, or at least one of them has. There are actually three cups- the original (which is retired), the “Permanent Cup” that sits in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto full time, and the “Presentation Cup” that spends a hundred days traveling the world; seeing strippers, soldiers and pool bottoms. #AllTrue
Lord Stanley of Preston first awarded The Cup to a Montreal ice hockey club n 1893. Lord Stanley was the governor-general of Canada at the time. From 1893-1914, the Stanley Cup was awarded in a “Challenge Format” in which a team would simply challenge the current holder to a cage match… wait, that’s wrestling. #SameIdea They simply challenged the current winner, and if they won, they took the Cup from them. The Cup mostly bounced around between Montreal and Ottawa until 1907, when some little one-horse town named Kenora in Canada somehow won it twice in a row. Montreal got pissed and took it and held on to it for six straight challenges. Until 1914, the Cup was only awarded to Canadian teams.
That changed for the 1915 season, when the Cup was used to denote the winner of a championship involving the NHA (then NHL) versus the PCHA/WCHL/WHL… basically, the NHL against whatever scrum professionals could be found. The head coaches of these teams often played as well, which had to be awesome when the coach had his teeth knocked in. The first American team to win the Cup was in 1917, and you won’t believe who it was- not Chicago, or Boston, or even NY- it was SEATTLE. Yeah, that Seattle. Flying fish market, unwashed hippies, grunge music. They beat the Montreal Canadiens, and I’m not sure why we ever let them forget that fact. Montreal faced off with Seattle again in 1919, but was cancelled due to the Spanish flu, which is why no Hispanics were allowed to play in the NHL until they saw Jerome Iginla. #DudeWasABeast
The NHL was officially formed prior to the 1927 season and pretty much took the Cup as their trophy, and in 1947 had the trustees give the NHL sole ownership of the Cup. The Canadians weren’t happy with that idea and won a case before the Ontario Superior Court in 2006 which stated that the NHL had violated the rules for the Cup that were laid out by Lord Stanley himself over a century before. To toss the canucks a bone, the NHL decided to let other leagues compete for it if the league ever became defunct again like they had in the 2004-2005 season.
From 1927-1967, there were only six teams in the NHL, and are referred to as the Original Six- the Ottawa Senators, Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadians and the best of them all, the Chicago Black Hawks. #MyBiasIsShowing The Hawks name was shortened to the more recognizable Blackhawks in 1986. #ChangeComesSlow The Montreal Canadiens have dominated with their number of Cup wins at 24, which is even more impressive when you realize that they haven’t been back to the Finals since 1993 when they won it. Then, take into account that you have to add the total Cup wins of the next two on the list (Toronto with 13, Detroit with 11) to equal the number of times that Montreal has won. Montreal fans are probably pretty pissed over the fact that they haven’t been back in over 25 years, and justifiably so. #TheSaltIsStrong There hasn’t been a substantial amount of controversy over Stanley Cup winners like there is with Super Bowl champs. #LookingAtYouMarshaBrady The most controversial win was in 1999, when in the third overtime, the elderly and senile Brett Hull decided to start playing soccer and kicked the winning goal past Dominic Hasek of the Buffalo Sabres. As such, Dallas doesn’t brag about their victory too much, and Sabres fans are still livid about it. #JustifiablySo One item worth remarking about is that this years Stanley Cup loser, the Las Vegas Knights, pulled off a feat that has never happened in any major professional sport- they beat the 500:1 odds and became the first expansion team to ever make it to a championship game, ever. #VegasStrong Personally, I had written them off as they looked like garbage on paper in September, whereas my Hawks looked great. The Hawks watched the Playoffs the same way I did- from a couch, and the Knights went to the Finals. #Respect
Now, for the more interesting part- the misadventures of Lord Stanley’s Cup. In 1905, the Montreal team that had just won the Cup were celebrating, and in a drunken moment of “it sounded like a good idea at the time” the Cup was kicked into a nearby Canal. Luckily for them, it was winter, or it would have been an uncomfortable swim to retrieve it. Two years later, and again a Montreal team had taken the Cup to a photographer’s house for a picture and forgot about it. Someone broke into the house, stole it, and tried to ransom it. No one showed any interest, so the thief returned it to the photographer’s place where the woman of the house used it as a flower planter until someone from Montreal remembered to retrieve it. In 1924, yet ANOTHER Montreal team were driving with the Cup to a party, had a flat and had to move the Cup so that they could retrieve the spare tire. They forgot about it. #NoticeATrend They realized their mistake when they got to the party, drove back, and found it right where they left it. For such a sought-after trophy, it sure was forgotten a lot, and usually by a Montreal team.
Really, you start to wonder what the Canadians as a whole, and Montreal specifically, have against the Cup. In 1993, it lay on the bottom of Patrick Roy’s pool. That was mostly due to some bright light not realizing that 35 pounds of silver isn’t very buoyant. While Lemieux didn’t play for Montreal, he is Canadian, so of course the Cup took up residency at the bottom of his pool as well.
Now, for babies. They’re cute and having baby pictures taken in the Cup has to take on a special meaning. The number of photoshoots involving the Cup has to number in the millions. Baptisms and such? Check. Conceived in one? Uhh… check. In 1996, Mike Ricci of the Avalanche brought the Cup home for his day, and of course, threw a party. Some family friends, the Rileys, had recently found out that Cheryl Riley’s womb was as barren as the Mojave. Now, there are two versions of this story from here, and you can probably guess which one I like. In the version Cheryl tells, she kissed the Cup, found out she was pregnant a month later, and decided that she conceived on the same day that she kissed the Cup. #UhHuh The other version of the story is that Cheryl and her husband had sex on the Cup on that day, which is how she can pin point it to that very day that she got pregnant. #MoreLikelyStory If you’re curious as to how sex on the Cup could be possible, go peruse PornHub. I’m sure there’s a few educational videos there that will show you how it’s done.
Of course, it is only to be expected that the Cup has been to strip clubs. If you have even a little imagination, you can realize the amount of debauchery that has occurred with the Cup in eastern Europe. But, sticking to known facts, Mark Messier has taken the Cup to two different strip clubs- one in Edmonton in 1987, and another in New York City in 1994. OF COURSE it was incorporated into their “exotic dances.” If you ever see the Cup and why it looks like its covered in glitter and smells like low self-esteem and disappointed parents, now you know.
Since the last time it went for a swim, celebrations with the Cup have gotten tamer, in part because the Cup has a chaperone from the NHL at all times. The Cup went to a war zone in 2007, where it went for a one-day appearance in Kandahar, Afghanistan. In celebration, the Canadian soldiers there left the Tim Hortons line, and broke into an impromptu street hockey game. I can only guess that Canadian soldiers must have a hockey stick on their deployment checklist. The Americans have a long-standing tradition of inviting the winning American team to the White House. It is assumed that the Canadians would do the same if one of their teams won it, but since that was last in 1993, no one knows for sure. Meanwhile, in a real country, the Cup has met six different presidents.
What’s next for Lord Stanley’s Cup? Due to the chaperone, it is unlikely it will be forgotten on the side of the road or have random people fornicating in it. Perhaps its best days are behind it, but you never know. Maybe it will again grace the stage of the finest strip club available in the winning town before being stolen and unsuccessfully ransomed.