The Stanley Cup is the oldest professional sports trophy in North America and is awarded annually to the National Hockey League (NHL) playoff champion. Here’s more information about the Stanley Cup:
The Cup was donated by Lord Stanley of Preston, then the Governor General of Canada, in 1892. Originally, it was awarded to the top-ranking amateur ice hockey team in Canada. In 1926, it became the championship trophy of the NHL.
The original cup was just a bowl, about 7 inches tall. However, as the tradition of inscribing the names of the winning players, management, and club staff members on the trophy started, bands were added at the base to allow for more space. Today, the Stanley Cup has a size of about 35.25 inches tall and 34.5 pounds in weight.
The Cup has a unique characteristic: when the bottom band of the Cup gets filled with names, the oldest band is removed, and a new band is added at the bottom. The removed band is then displayed in the Vault Room at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Ontario.
Winning the Cup:
To win the Stanley Cup, a team must first make it to the NHL playoffs, which includes the top teams from each of the league’s divisions along with wild card entries. The playoffs are organized in a series of best-of-seven rounds – the first round, the second round, the Conference Finals, and then the Stanley Cup Finals.
The team that wins four out of seven games in the Stanley Cup Finals is awarded the Cup. Each player and key team staff member gets their name engraved on the Cup.
One of the most famous traditions involves each member of the winning team getting to spend a day with the Cup during the off-season. Players often bring the Cup back to their hometowns, and it’s appeared at everything from family picnics to local landmarks to late-night TV shows.
Another tradition is the “captain’s skate” – the captain of the winning team is usually the first to skate a lap around the rink holding the Cup after the victory. This is followed by other team members taking turns hoisting and skating with the Cup.
Remember that the journey to the Stanley Cup is one of the most grueling in professional sports, with teams potentially needing to play up to 28 high-intensity games in the playoffs alone to win the championship. It’s a testament to the skill, teamwork, and endurance of the winning team.