For those of you who don’t know me, I am Donny’s awesome brother Shaun. For those of you who do know me, what’s good? I am here to talk to you about a subject that is near and dear to my heart. Hockey has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember, going all the way back to Super Nintendo’s Blades of Steel. I could go on forever about my love, but I decided to do this blog post on one hockey topic in particular: the Stanley Cup. In my opinion, the Stanley Cup is, by far, the greatest single trophy in all of sports. The Stanley Cup is one of the few things in the world that make grown men cry. If you don’t agree with me (I honestly don’t know how it’s possible that you don’t), I will give you reasons why I feel it is. And please, excuse the rambling.
The road to the Stanley Cup
Hockey is, arguably, the most grueling season in sports. The NHL training camp starts in September and the playoffs end in June. An 82 game regular season is tough enough, but once you make it to the playoffs you still have to play for another 2 months of even more demanding hockey then that of the regular season. This makes a single season of hockey one of the most physically demanding sports in the world, which alone makes Lord Stanley's cup one of the hardest trophies to win.
Ray Bourque waited 22 seasons before he lifted the Cup.
What do the MLB, NBA and NFL trophies all have in common? They make a new one every year. Notice something missing from that list? Oh yea, the NHL. That’s because there is only one. trophy ONE. The Stanley Cup has been around since 1892 (And no, that’s not a typo). And since then, hockey has been passing around the same single trophy for over 100 years. I don’t really need to go any further than that. Every other professional sports trophy in the US is made annually by Tiffany & Company. If you are looking for any single reason why the Stanley Cup is better than every other trophy, this is it.
Lord freakin' Stanley, Earl of Derby?
If you took a poll of the greatest thing about winning the Stanley Cup I guarantee almost every player will tell you the same thing; getting your name engraved on it. The Stanley Cup is unique in that it is the only trophy that engraves the names of every single player on the championship team. Let’s be real, how awesome is that? The Stanley Cup has 5 rings on it each holding 13 previous championship teams and all of the players, which for the lazy or dumb means that you can read the names of every player that won the Stanley Cup all the way back to the 1940s. One look at the present Stanley Cup and you can find the names of some of the greatest players to ever play the game, and that is a chilling experience I am sure.
Sometimes there are mistakes, like when Eric Staal found an extra "a" engraved in his name.
Once you win the Stanley Cup, you get one day to do whatever you please with it. There have been hundreds of crazy stories that have happened with a player's day with the Cup, but I won’t get sidetracked by it. So if you are interested I definitely suggest you look them up. Another unwritten tradition for players is that they can never touch the Stanley Cup without winning it. The Stanley Cup must be earned. Some players will not go near the Stanley Cup for fear of jinxing yourself (This is true for fans as well, myself included. I'd refuse to go anywhere near the Stanley Cup until the Flyers win it). On a smaller scale, teams have made it a point to never touch the conference championship trophies, with the thought process being that they are playing for the Stanley Cup and all other trophies are meaningless (I wholeheartedly agree and I hate seeing divison/conference/etc memorabilia. You play for the championship, that’s the only thing that should be celebrated).
Size (Apparently it does matter)
The Stanley Cup is a very large trophy. It is 3 feet tall and weighs 35 pounds. This is another of the points I use mainly when arguing why the Stanley Cup is the best. When you win a championship, something you’ve been working your whole life for; do you want to pick up a little ass trophy with one hand? That’s not rewarding at all. Kids everywhere dream of one day hoisting the Stanley Cup (I still hope to one day), there is no better feeling in the world I am sure. And it's no fun hoisting up a baby trophy.