Along with beavers, maple syrup and saying sorry, hockey is as Canadian as it gets. As a huge (and rather annoying) fan, it was inevitable that I would do a post on the sport. And what is a better topic than hockey’s ultimate prize, the Stanley Cup? (However, I may/will go off-topic, for, as my friends can attest to, one thing leads to another and somehow you’ll end up reading about some eighteen year old in Europe (Auston Matthews!).)
The Stanley Cup was donated by Lord Stanley of Preston, the Governor General of Canada from 1888-1893. After he watched a game of hockey, he “expressed great delight with the game and enterprise of the players”. In 1892, he donated the Stanley Cup, a 18.3 cm high silver cup which cost 10 guineas, nearly a month’s wages of an average worker at the time. The first team to win the Stanley Cup is the Montreal Canadiens, who defeated the Ottawa Hockey Club (better known as the Ottawa Silver Seven). It is the first of twenty seven Cups they have won, which is the most of all teams in hockey history.
Many funny and queer stories about the Cup have floated around. One is about the underdog Quebec Bulldogs, who won the Cup in 1912. Even some of the team’s players didn’t think they would win it all, leading to some very strange bets. Goldie Prodger had to wheel a teammate around town in a wheelbarrow, while Joe Hall had to stickhandle a peanut around a city block using only a toothpick!
Hockey players generally are a superstitious set, but the Stanley Cup playoffs has its special oddities. Have you heard of the playoff beard? Some players believe it is bad luck to shave during the playoffs, so by the time the Finals roll around, there are some pretty crazy facial hairstyles. Some players also believe it is bad luck to touch the Stanley Cup if they haven’t won it, or even the Prince of Wales trophy or the Clarence Campbell Bowl (for top teams in their respective conferences). The Chicago Blackhawks won the Clarence Campbell Bowl in 2010 and captain Jonathan Toews refused to touch the trophy. They went on to win the Cup. On the other hand, when the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Prince of Wales trophy in 2008, captain Sidney Crosby refused to touch the trophy. His team went to the Finals and lost to the Detroit Red Wings. The following year, the team was top in their conference again and Crosby touched the Prince of Wales trophy. They went on to win the Stanley Cup as well. Wait, what???
The Toronto Maple Leafs currently have the longest Stanley Cup winless streak. The last Cup they won was nearly fifty years ago! Maybe their fortunes will change soon, as they just drafted highly touted prospect Auston Matthews, who is playing in Switzerland right now… 😉
Author & Artist: Veronica
Sources: Zweig, Eric. Hockey Trivia: The Stanley Cup Edition. Toronto: Scholastic Canada, 2011. Print.