The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Dallas Stars in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Finals, the first one ever played inside a bubble with no fans due to COVID-19.
Defenseman Victor Hedman earned the Conn Smythe Trophy as series MVP, and captain Steve Stamkos, who was injured throughout the playoffs but did come back to score a goal on his first shot in Game 3, took the first turn lifting Lord Stanley's Cup. This summer, as is tradition, he and his teammates will get to take the Cup home and celebrate their championship with their families, friends, and hometown. Here are five interesting facts related to the Cup's past travels:
1. It’s the only trophy with its own “keeper.”
After the 1994 season, when the New York Rangers won the Cup, the National Hockey League designated a Keeper of the Cup to be with the Stanley Cup at all times. This means that it is someone’s job to travel with the Cup as it makes appearances for charities or visits players and their homes after they win it. The Keeper of the Cup is named Phil Pritchard. He is also the curator of the Hockey Hall of Fame, where the Cup stays when it is not traveling. According to Pritchard, he and the Cup are frequent fliers. “In a regular year, I am on the road about 180 days so almost half the year,” he said. “Obviously, this year it was a little different.”
2. It’s the only trophy that has been used in a baptism.
The Cup has had many interesting experiences and has traveled to many different cities and countries. But one of its most memorable moments happened in the Summer of 1996. After the Colorado Avalanche won the Cup by defeating the Florida Panthers, Avs defenseman Sylvain Lefebvre used the Cup as a baptismal font for his daughter.
3. It’s really old.
First presented in 1893, the Stanley Cup is the oldest trophy in professional sports in North America. It takes its name from Lord Stanley of Preston, the governor general of Canada at the time, who donated the trophy. While it is considered priceless now and is insured, the Stanley Cup was originally purchased by Lord Stanley of Preston for $48.67 at the time to serve as a trophy for the “Dominion Challenge Cup.” The year 1926 was the first year that the Cup was used solely by and competed for by the National Hockey League and its teams.
4. It’s imperfect.
While the Cup looks otherworldly when players hoist it, its beauty is in the fact that it is not perfect. There are many misspellings on the Cup, including many players’ names. Even team names are spelled wrong. The name of the 1980-81 winning New York Islanders team is spelled “Ilanders.” The Toronto Maple Leafs in 1962 appear as “Leaes.” The Boston Bruins of 1972 are referred to as “Bqstqn Bruins.” And in 1984, Peter Pocklington, who used to own the Edmonton Oilers, added his father’s name to the Cup. When the NHL found out that “Basil Pocklington” wasn’t an actual player or team executive, they couldn’t just delete the engraving so there are Xs over Basil’s name. The first time that the NHL corrected a misspelling on the Cup was in 1996, when they corrected the spelling of Avalanche forward’s name from Adam “Deadmarch” to Deadmarsh. “The dents, dings and errors on it give the Cup its character,” Pritchard said. “I guess when you and I are 127 years old, we might be perfectly imperfect as well.”
5. It could be a toddler.
Weighing about 37 pounds and standing about three feet tall, the Stanley Cup is the size and weight of an average three-year-old kid. The base is about 17 inches in diameter and is made of silver and nickel alloy. It was crafted in Sheffield, England and has logged more than one million miles in travel over the last 10 seasons. In addition to the U.S. and Canada, the Cup has been to Russia, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland, Japan, Austria, Slovenia, Germany, Italy, England, China and the Arctic Circle.
Photo credit: Perry Nelson/USA TODAY Sports