The first puck of the 2016 Stanley Cup® Playoffs will drop on April 13, and we can’t wait to experience all the action, drama, and excitement on the ice. We’re so pumped we’ve been reading up on all things Stanley Cup®. Now we’d like to share the most interesting and surprising facts about this one-of-a-kind trophy. Read on, then impress your hockey-loving buddies with all the NHL knowledge you pick up.
Wait, There Are Three Versions of the Stanley Cup®?
Yep. Lord Stanley—after whom the Cup is named—donated the original trophy in 1892 while he was serving as Governor General of Canada. This Cup was officially retired in 1962 after it was declared too fragile for regular use, though fans can still visit it at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
A “presentation” version was then created to be awarded to champions in the league’s biggest showdown. When the final buzzer of the Championship series sounds, the victorious team raises this authenticated version overhead as fans cheer them on.
Finally, a “replica” version was created in 1993 as a stand-in at the Hockey Hall of Fame for when the presentation Cup wasn’t available. If you want to know whether you’re looking at the real cup or its stunt double, look for the name “Basil Pocklington” under the 1984 Edmonton Oilers. The original will have his name crossed out with an X (he was the owner’s dad and added to the Championship engraving by accident), while the replica version omits his name altogether.
Lord of the Rings
Each season the championship team engraves up to 52 new names onto the bottom ring of the Stanley Cup®. It takes approximately 13 years for a ring to completely fill with names, at which point the oldest ring on the Cup is retired in the Hockey Hall of Fame. A blank ring is then rotated into the bottom spot, and the rest are moved up. This means a player’s name can remain on the Stanley Cup® for 50 to 63 years—and after that, they’ll still be etched into hockey immortality and on full display at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Where’s the Cup?
The Stanley Cup® sure likes to travel. The championship team gets to hold onto it for a year, and (since the 94-95 New Jersey Devils championship team) each player gets a personal day to spend with the Cup. Players have done everything from baptizing their children to feeding their dogs out of The Holy Grail. There’s even a Twitter page (@WheresTheCup) so fans can monitor the latest travels and adventures of the Stanley Cup®.
More Little-Known Facts
The youngest player to ever win the Stanley Cup® is Larry Hillman (18 years, 2 months old) who played for the Boston Bruins 1955 championship team.
Chris Chelios became the oldest player to win the Stanley Cup® (46 years, 6 months old) when the Detroit Red Wings won the championship in 2008.
Jean Beliveau has had his name etched on the Stanley Cup® more than any other individual. It appears ten times as a player and seven times as a member of team management, all with the Montreal Canadiens. Speaking of which, the Habs have captured the Stanley Cup® more than any other team with 24 championships to date.
There are two seasons the Stanley Cup® was not awarded: in 1919, no team was awarded the Stanley Cup® due to the Spanish Flu Outbreak that ravaged the Montreal Canadiens’ roster; and in 2004-2005, when a Collective Bargaining Agreement dispute led to a league-wide lockout and no games were played, leaving the NHL to engrave the words “SEASON NOT PLAYED” on the Cup.
The Cup has also misspelled a few teams’ names (hey, it happens) in its otherwise sterling history: the 71-72 Boston Bruins were written as “Bqstqn Bruins” and the 80-81 New York Islanders were misspelled as “Ilanders”.
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Hungry for more facts? Check out our unbelievable facts about NHL pucks—just don’t take a bite out of one.
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