If you’re an Ice Hockey fan, then the Stanley Cup is the ultimate, the holy grail of the sport. Winning it or being part of the team that wins it, will ensure that your team goes down in history, and so do you. How did it all come to be though? Where did the sports greatest prize come from? Here we give you a brief history of the games biggest honour, and the Stanley Cups most recent winners.
The Stanley cup is awarded to the play off winner of the national hockey league (NHL) and was first contested way back in 1893. Its origins begin with an English national called Lord Stanley. After queen Victoria appointed him governor of Canada in 1888, the Lord and his family became to get very interested in Ice Hockey. His sons went on to form early teams, and he can largely be credited with the evolution of the game around Canada. He suggested a challenge cup should be played for and bought a silver punch bowl (later identified as a rose bowl) that in today’s market would be worth about £1000. He engraved it with “from Stanley of Preston” and on the other side “Domain Hockey Challenge Cup”.
The Montreal Amateur Athletic club where the cups first winners, and added the first silver ring to the cup, so it could be engraved with their name. This was one of the initial rules that a ring could be added at the winners expense. To begin with the cup was contested as a challenge cup between members of certain leagues. Eventually the other leagues folded leaving just the NHL behind, growing to the league we know and love today.
As the ring added to the original cup began to fill up, teams added their name to the interior if of the bowl, and teams started commemorating their wins in many different places within the famous trophy. Some teams missed adding their names, and did not follow the rules set out by Lord Stanley, but this all changed in 1924. This is when the Canadiens added a new band, and the engraving fo the team name and year won have been a tradition ever since to the present day.
As the rings where added over the year, the size and practicality of the cup became questionable and it was nicknamed “the stove pipe cup” for its likeness to a stove exhaust. This lead to a redesign of the cup in 1948 as a cigar shaped cup which was 2 pieces. The original bowl became very brittle and was replaced in the late 60’s. Since then many bands have been added, filled up and removed so as to be preserved in the national hockey hall of fame. The two piece trophy has the detachable bowl and collar, with 5 rings on the bottom. Each ring can contain the team details of 13 winning teams and all their personnel. Creating the trophy we all know and love today, and perhaps the most iconic sporting trophy in the world. The history has many more twists and turns, and anecdotes to do with controversial matches and funny stories. One thing is sure the Stanley cup does hockey proud. It is the perfect trophy to do justice to our games rich and unique history.
Recent Stanley Cup Winners
For a full list of Stanley Cup Winners, head here