The 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final may be decided tonight.
Therefore, I thought I’d share the storied history behind the sports world’s most prized, tradition rich championship trophy – the Stanley Cup.
Hockey players may not be able to touch this venerable silver chalice before earning it. However, they can certainly read about it here.
Considered the most revered championship trophy in all of professional sports, this coveted Canadian cup was originally advocated by a genuine British royal.
Appointed by Her Majesty Queen Victoria, British-born Frederick Arthur Stanley, Lord of Preston and Earl of Derby, became the Governor General of Canada in 1892.
During his first winter in Canada, Lord Stanley attended the Montreal Winter Festival and immediately fell in love with the sport of hockey.
As a result, he formally commissioned the Dominion Hockey Championship Cup in 1893, which eventually evolved into a cultural symbol for Canada.
The Stanley Cup: Holy Grail of Hockey
The Holy Grail of Hockey was originally a challenge cup, but was not exclusive to any particular league. However, in 1910 the Dominion Hockey Championship Cup officially changed hands, and the now defunct National Hockey Association took possession of the 7.26 inch tall, 11.42 inch wide and 35.25 inch long silver trophy.
With 23 titles to their credit, the Montreal Canadiens lay claim to winning the most Stanley Cups in NHL history. Henri Richard holds the record for the most wins as a player with 11. His teammate Jean Beliveau boasts the most (17) Stanley Cups with 10 as a player and 7 as an executive with the team.
Ironically, Phil Housley is the longest tenured NHL player to have never drunk the champagne toast from the Stanley Cup. Housley skated from 1982 – 2003 and played in an amazing 1,495 NHL games, but never enjoyed the victory skate around the rink while cradling the 34.5 lb. coveted cup.
Maybe tonight, Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby, dubber The Next One, may be able to skate around the ice with the coveted cup.
Tradition holds that after an NHL champion is crowned, winning players, now empowered to actually touch the cup, can drink victoriously from the silver chalice while basking in their celebratory skate.
Further adding to the lore and mystique of this revered NHL award, a replica of the cup will journey to the home city of the winning team for up to 100 days. Fans get to photograph it, but, like most other regal treasures, never get to actually touch it.
During that limited 100 day time span, the winning players may admire their newly engraved names that are listed alongside previous Stanley Cup winners.
To maintain its lofty and royal status, the original Stanley Cup remains under lock and key, safely housed in a bank vault at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada.
Regardless of whether hockey fans see the real cup or merely its replica, this cherished silver chalice is arguably the most prestigious championship trophy in professional sports.
MIKE on sports!