of the Stanley Cup
It started on March 18, 1892, at a dinner of the Ottawa Amateur
Athletic Association. Lord Kilcoursie, a player on the Ottawa
Rebels hockey club from Government House, delivered the following
message on behalf of Lord Stanley, the Earl of Preston and Governor
General of Canada:
have for some time been thinking that it would be a good thing
if there were a challenge cup which should be held from year to
year by the champion hockey team in the Dominion (of Canada).
There does not appear to be any such outward sign of a championship
at present, and considering the general interest which matches
now elicit, and the importance of having the game played fairly
and under rules generally recognized, I am willing to give a
cup which shall be held from year to year by the winning team.
thereafter, Lord Stanley purchased a silver cup for the equivalent
of $48.67, and set rules for the competition, including rules
about the winning team getting their names engraved on the silver
ring, and the one cup being passed from winning team to winning
first winner of the Stanley Cup was the Montreal Amateur Athletic
Association (AAA) hockey club, champions of the Amateur Hockey
Association of Canada for 1893. Lord Stanley returned to his native
England in the midst of the 1893 season, never witnessing a championship
game nor attending a presentation of his trophy.
trophy has since been awarded every year, with the exception of
1919, when an influenza epidemic forced the cancellation of the
finals. The NHL took control of the cup after the 1926 season,
and since then the cup has traveled millions of miles around the
world and had more than 2,000 names engraved. Unlike league trophies
in most sports, the Stanley Cup is a true traveling trophy, meaning
that each year, the trophy is passed to the winning team. Since
1995, each player gets to take the trophy for a few days during
the offseason, leading to some interesting stories for the cup--including
time in strip clubs, being used as a beer cup, getting lost, and
even ending up at the bottom of a swimming pool.
bowl that currently sits atop the Stanley Cup is a carefully constructed
replica of the original bowl purchased by Lord Stanley in 1893.
The original trophy was retired in 1969 because it had become
brittle, but can still be seen at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
Growth of the Cup
the early days, players added their names to the trophy by scratching
them onto the bowl with a knife or a nail. From the 1890s to the
1930s, various bands were added to the bottom of the bowl to hold
the names of the winning teams and their players. Throughout this
time, the appearance of the Cup kept changing almost from year
to year. In 1939, the Stanley Cup was given a standardized form
as a long, cigar-shaped trophy. It stayed this way until 1948,
when it was rebuilt as a two-piece trophy with a wide barrel-shaped
base and a removable bowl and collar. The modern one-piece Cup
was introduced in 1958.