I don’t know the first thing about hockey. But I do know one thing: The National Hockey League has, without question, the coolest trophy in all of sports. The Stanley Cup, given each year to the league’s champion, is engraved with hundreds of names of past champions. But hockey noobs like myself may be wondering — just who was Stanley?
Frederick Arthur Stanley, better known as Lord Stanley, was the man behind the Cup. Stanley, an Englishman, was appointed as Governor General of Canada in 1888. Stanley and his seven strapping sons were all athletic, and upon moving to Canada, they started playing ice hockey. One of Stanley’s sons, Arthur, went on to create the Ontario Hockey Association.
According to a 2002 column from Ask Yahoo!, Arthur and his brother Algy talked their dad into donating a trophy to the league as “an outward and visible sign of the ice hockey championship.” Stanley purchased a silver cup for around $50, but I doubt he had any idea it would go on to be a part of history. The trophy was awarded for the first time in 1893, and it’s been a symbol of championship hockey ever since.
The silver cup was retired in 1970 (it became too fragile) and can be seen at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada. But the current trophy is still in use. And what makes the trophy unlike any other is that each member of the championship team gets to take the cup home with them for a day. And that can lead to some comic misadventures, which you can read more about on Snopes.
You can watch the Stanley Cup finals this week between the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins.
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