For 124 years, the Stanley Cup has been awarded. It’s the oldest existing trophy to be bestowed to a professional franchise in sports. As such, it has taken on a cult of personality unique among metal kitchenware.
But there is so much that we still don’t know about the revered trophy. Thursday afternoon, Philip Pritchard, the Keeper of the Cup, pulled back the figurative curtain and revealed that the Cup is more than a fancy silver bowl that holds Phil Kessel’s hot dogs.
The 1907 Montreal Wanderers engraved their names in the bowl when they won the Cup. Here’s a better look:
— Philip Pritchard (@keeperofthecup) September 21, 2017
The Wanderers were the first professional team to challenge for the Stanley Cup in 1906. The Wanderers won the trophy that year, defeating Ottawa HC. After losing the Cup to the Kenora Thistles in early 1907, Montreal regained the Cup in March of that year.
After winning the Stanley Cup back, the Wanderers became first team to engrave the names of all their players on the Cup.
The Stanley Cup is named after Lord Stanley of Preston, who gave the trophy to be used as an award for the the best amateur hockey team in Canada. By 1926, the Cup was the unofficial trophy given to the NHL champions. In 1947, the NHL reached an agreement with the trustees of the Cup to make the NHL the controlling hockey league of the award.
Reading the names on the inside of the bowl, one name might sound familiar. Lester Patrick was a star defenseman for the Wanderers, who scored 41 goals in 28 games with Montreal, including 10 in six Stanley Cup games.
However, Patrick is better known as someone who helped shape the game of hockey into its modern form. From Wikipedia:
Patrick invented 22 new rules that remain in the NHL rulebook to this day. He introduced the blue line, the forward pass, and the playoff system, a change adopted by other leagues and sports around the world. After a suggestion by his father Joe, he began using numbers on players’ sweaters and in programs to help fans identify the skaters. A new rule allowed the puck to be kicked everywhere but into the net, and allowed goaltenders to fall to the ice to make a save. He was responsible for crediting assists when a goal was scored, and invented the penalty shot.
After his playing career, Patrick served as the coach and general manager of the New York Rangers. He won multiple Stanley Cups with the team.
Patrick passed away in 1960, but his legacy continues to live on in the National Hockey League. The Lester Patrick Trophy is awarded to those who have contributed exceptionally to hockey in the United States.
Patrick’s grandson, Dick Patrick is the president of the Washington Capitals. He received the trophy named after his grandfather in 2012.
The Stanley Cup will be in Washington Friday and Saturday for the NHL Centennial Fan Arena at Capital One Arena.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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