Stanley Cup History - as colorful and rich as its sport, hockey

If basketball has its championship rings and golf has its green Masters jacket, then hockey can boast of its Stanley Cup. As with all the other victory memorabilia of the other sports, only the best of the best in hockey can claim temporary ownership of it.

Once you are fortunate enough to be part of the team that ultimately emerges as champion of the National Hockey League (NHL), then you get your shot at spending the day with it, as is the current tradition. This is true not just for the team, but for each individual player on the team as well. Looking at recent Stanley Cup history will show that this practice has led to some sweet, some hilarious, but all memorable events. A dose of sweetness and light was definitely what it brought when it was used in the christening of the first child of Sylvain Lefebvre, a player with the Colorado Avalanche. There have also been tales of it being used as a champagne glass, popcorn bowl, and even as a planter. A horse has drank from it as well, although this admittedly was no ordinary horse, having won the 1994 Kentucky Derby. Some celebrations can be taken to the extreme though, such that the cup is now always accompanied by a Hockey Hall of Fame member to ensure its safety.

The Stanley Cup history is equally as colorful as these stories. Its origins were with the amateur level. It was in fact first awarded in 1893 to the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association hockey club, an actual silver bowl bought by Lord Stanley of Preston who was then Canadian governor. Just 17 years after, in 1910, it became the coveted award for the professional league which by then had overshot the amateurs in terms of popularity. From the National Hockey Association which has since been disbanded, it now proudly rests with the NHL.

It has not totally veered away from history though. It has most often be held (at least 24 times) by the Montreal Canadiens, reminiscent of its first ever winner, albeit that was an amateur group.

The Stanley Cup history from a physical perspective is interesting as well. An original donation clause stated that the name of the winning team along with the year must be engraved on a silver ring attached to the cup, and that is still being followed today. It has in fact been expanded to include the names of the team members, such that tmore than 2,200 names have since been engraved. Unsurprisingly, a new ring has to be added every 13 years to accommodate new names in this rich tradition.