8 Fun Facts About The Stanley Cup Trophy

1. The Stanley Cup is named after Frederick Arthur, Lord Stanley of Preston.

Frederick Arthur, Lord Stanley of Preston, was the Governor-General of Canada when he purchased the decorative cup in London for 10 guineas in 1892. Stanley donated the cup to award Canada’s top amateur hockey club after he and his family became infatuated with the sport at Montreal’s 1889 Winter Carnival; it was first awarded to the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association (or MAAA) in 1893.

2. There are actually three Stanley Cups.

Stanley’s original cup from 1892, known as the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup (above), was awarded until 1970, and is now on display in the Vault Room at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. In 1963, NHL president Clarence Campbell believed that the original cup had become too brittle to give to championship teams, so the Presentation Cup was created and is the well-known trophy awarded today. (Skeptics can authenticate the Presentation Cup by noting the Hockey Hall of Fame seal on the bottom.)

The final cup is a replica of the Presentation Cup, which was created in 1993 by Montreal silversmith Louise St. Jacques and is used as a stand-in at the Hall of Fame when the Presentation Cup isn’t available.

3. It’s one of a kind …

Unlike other major league sports trophies, a new cup isn’t made every year. Instead, after each championship, the names of the players, coaches, management, and staff of the winning team are added to the cup. The first team to have its roster engraved was the 1906-07 Montreal Wanderers, whose names were etched within the inner bowl of the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup. The only other team names engraved on the inner bowl are the 1914-’15 Vancouver Millionaires.

4. … And it’s always changing.

More and more teams wanted to be immortalized, so the decision was made to put a separate single ring below the original cup that each new winning roster could be etched on it. Between 1927 and 1947, a new, more streamlined and vertical incarnation of the cup was used. Thanks to its cylindrical shape, it was nicknamed the Stovepipe Cup—but by 1948, the trophy had become too tall to hold or put on display, so the shape was changed to the tiered version used today.

5. The Stanley Cup’s rings are detachable.

Since 1958, five bands of championship names are engraved around the base of the cup. When the rings become full, the oldest band is removed and preserved in Lord Stanley’s Vault at the Great Esso Hall in the Hockey Hall of Fame. A blank replacement band is then put in its place to be filled with the names of the next champions. If all of the rings in the archive were added to the current Stanley Cup, it would be 6.25 feet tall (which is still not as tall as Zdeno Chara).

6. The NHL has official engravers put each name on the cup.

There have been only four official engravers sanctioned by the NHL. The first was the 1948 Stanley Cup designer Carl Poul Petersen, a Danish engraver who moved to Montreal in 1929 and worked with his sons Arno, Ole, and John Paule in his engraving shop until his death in 1977. The current engraver is Louise St. Jacques (creator of the replica of the Presentation Cup), who took over from the second and third official engravers, Doug Boffey and his father Eric, at their shop Boffey Silversmiths in Montreal in 1989.

7. But they’re not always perfect.

Many champion player and team names are misspelled on the Stanley Cup. The name of the 1980-’81 New York Islanders is misspelled as “Ilanders,” and the 1971-’72 Boston Bruins’ name is misspelled as “Bqstqn Bruins.” Most of the errors are left as they are—it would be too costly to fix the mistakes. But fans believe the errors add to the idiosyncratic nature of the cup.

8. There can be extenuating circumstances.

When the Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in 1998, the team asked that Vladimir Konstantinov’s name be engraved on the cup, even though he didn’t play that year. The NHL allowed it because Konstantinov was a team member who was seriously injured in a car accident before the Wings defended their title. There are also a couple of instances where no names were inscribed at all, like when the cup wasn’t awarded in 1919 due to the influenza pandemic. It also wasn’t awarded for the 2004-’05 season because of a lockout between the league and the players union. The entire space for the players’ names reads “SEASON NOT PLAYED.”

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