(Photo Credit: Robert Reiners/Getty Images)
The Stanley Cup is the oldest existing trophy to be awarded to a professional sports franchise and it comes with a very rich history.
In 1892, the Governor of Canada, Lord Stanley Preston, bought a silver bowl. This bowl ended up becoming the first official Stanley Cup. The first Stanley Cup championship games was held in 1893 and the first winner was Montreal Amateur Athletic Association hockey club. After that first game, the Stanley Cup championships became one of the most anticipated things in hockey.
The Stanley Cup championship was made up of amateur teams during its first few years. But, around 1910, when professional hockey started to get more popular, the Stanley Cup moved from amateur leagues to professional. The cup belonged to the NHA (National Hockey Association) until the NHL was given ownership.
Over the years, there have been many new traditions involving the cup itself. It is common knowledge that every year, the team that wins the cup gets their name added to it. This was actually one of the conditions made by Lord Stanley when he donated the cup. Today, there are more than 2,200 names engraved on the cup, including players and coaches. A new ring is added to the bottom ever 13 years in order to add more names.
Along with that, every player on the winning team gets to spend a day with the cup. This tradition allows players to bring the cup to their home town and it has provided a lot of interesting stories. For example, in 1906 it became a planter for flowers when it was forgotten at a photography studio. It has also been used as water bowls for animals, a popcorn bucket, and has been used in the baptism of Colorado Avalanche’s Sylvain Lefebvre’s first child!
Although, the cup is now accompanied by a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame during player excursions to ensure it gets back safely, you can’t help but hope another interesting story gets added to its already extensive legacy as the Penguins get their day with the cup.