Here at Recognition Source we deal in awards and recognition; honoring individuals, groups, and teams for their achievements in whatever field they’re in. Today we’d like to talk about a piece of recognition that honors a team not for their achievements on a field, but rather on a rink. An ice rink to be exact. Yes, today we’re going to talk about the most prestigious award you can receive in the sport of Hockey: The Stanley Cup.
A Brief History
Named for Lord Stanley of Preston, the Governor General of Canada in the 1890’s, the cup was awarded to Canada’s top-ranking amateur ice hockey club. (It’s notable that Stanley’s family members played in and promoted the game). The first winners of this award were Montreal HC (aka Montreal Hockey Club) a senior-level men’s amateur ice hockey club that was organized in 1884.
In 1915, the NHA (National Hockey Association) and the PCHA (Pacific Coast Hockey Association) reached a gentleman’s agreement (because Hockey players are renowned for being gentlemanly) in which the champions of each league would face each other, with the winner taking home the coveted Stanley Cup.
As various leagues merged and folded, the Stanley Cup was established as the official trophy for the NHL championship in 1947. What’s interesting is that the current Stanley Cup isn’t the same as the original one commissioned by (or rather bought in London by) Lord Stanley. The original cup was known as the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, was thought to be becoming too brittle, so in 1963 NHL president Clarence Campbell commissioned the “Presentation Cup” to be built. This is the currently used Stanley Cup that we all see today.
Unique among other trophies in the other major professional sports leagues in the USA and Canada, the Stanley Cup is the only championship trophy among these that is not newly made each year. Instead, the names of the winners each year are engraved on one of the five bands on the base of the cup. When the bottom band starts filling up, it is removed and placed into the Hockey Hall of Fame where it can be preserved forever in sports history.
- The Stanley Cup has also been referred to as The Cup, Lord Stanley’s Cup, The Holy Grail and Lord Stanley’s Mug.
- The only years since 1915 that the Stanley Cup hasn’t been awarded are 1919 (due to a Spanish flu epidemic) and 2005 (due to the NHL lockout).
- The Montreal Canadiens are no strangers to the Stanley Cup. They have won the Stanley Cup more than any other NHL team (24 times) and have the record for most consecutive cup wins in a row (5, from 1956 to 1960)
- There is an official “Keeper of the Cup.” Years ago, Lord Stanley designated that two trustees must always be appointed to take of the Cup and make sure it stayed in proper condition. This role is currently held by Philip Pritchard, and he even has a twitter account (@keeperofthecup).
Stanley Cup: We salute you and you long, prestigious history in the sport of Hockey.