Straight up, the Lombardi Trophy, the Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy, and the Commissioner's Trophy are caged birds that live boring lives and exist in the well-guarded trophy cases of league offices. For one night they are handed to the winning team for a photo op, given back to the league, and have two more photo ops: one with the president and one at a parade. That's three times a year they receive human interaction or feel the sun on their face.
The Stanley Cup was not cut according to a mold or design. It is an imperfect, living, breathing trophy with thousands of stories to tell. It is named after Lord Stanley of Preston, the Governor General of Canada in 1892. He purchased the cup or bowl in London for about $50 and he first gave it to Canada’s top amateur hockey club at Montreal’s 1889 Winter Carnival. Every year since then, as teams came and went and the NHL was formed, players of the winning team take the the Stanley Cup wherever they want. It has a life outside the trophy case that is more lively, peaceful, spiritual, wild, and accomplished than 99% of the population. The Cup is many faces at once, from a newborn to a 16 year old who just received his license to a wise man who'll never pass.
But that's not all that makes the Cup completely unique. It literally grows, for the 3 foot long trophy has bands added to it with the name and players of every team that wins the Finals. The Montreal team from the 1800s through the Penguins of 2017 are engraved upon it. It's also imperfect, for the 1980-81 New York Islanders are misspelled as “Ilanders”. The 1971-72 Boston Bruins’ name is also recorded as the “Bqstqn Bruins.” Most of the errors are left alone as "way leads to way," and they just add to the idiosyncratic nature and personality of the Cup.
With players from around the world, the Cup gets around. It's been invited to parties, carried to mountain tops, South America, the fjords of Norway, Helsinki, Russia, and everywhere in between. It's been paraded through tiny towns, been the best man, a baptismal font, in adult only clubs, and stolen and held for ransom. And Stanley? He is simply a better man for it.
15 Andrew Desjardins Eating Breakfast
Imagine being born in some small town in Canada where many lives depend on the minuscule chance of becoming a pro hockey player, but you go undrafted. Then imagine playing over 500 minor league games before you get "that call." Then imagine an original 6 franchise trades for you to play the dirty, hard, unglamorous minutes needed to win a cup. Then, it's yours to take home and in the morning you wake up to read your name with the 2015 Chicago Blackhawks. Then you search the top bands for the Chicago team that won the Cup in 1934 and discover a winger named Mush scored the winning goal. The goalie was Chuck Gardiner, the only goalie who was also a captain to have his name and "C" engraved on Stanley. Johnny Gottselig's name appears, and though he was raised in Canada he is the first Russian-born player to have his name engraved.
Finally, you see poor Lionel Conacher's name spelled incorrectly. Though the NHL may not want to see this, Andre deserves to eat his breakfast any way he wants.
14 Cups & Bones
In 2012, the Stanley Cup appeared on the set of the TV show Bones after it was won by the Los Angeles Kings. It was the first time the Kings won the championship since their first year in the league in 1967 and it obviously had to make its way to Hollywood somehow. Though the Kings had some great teams and players like the "Triple Crown Line" of Charlie Simmer, Dave Taylor, and Marcel Dionne, and later made the infamous trade for Wayne Gretzky, they were never able to pull it together and win it all. Initially, this photo would surely invite superstitious fans to interpret skulls and bones on the great trophy as a colossal mistake, but in this case it wasn't true, as L.A also won the cup two years later.
13 Nyquist The Horse
One of the biggest superstitions in hockey is to never touch a trophy before you win it, and Nyquist's owner, J. Paul Reddam, should have known better. He's a big time hockey fan and named this potential champ after Detroit Red Wings' winger Gustav Nyquist. So, maybe it's touching in a way? Either way, it's a little weird.
Though Reddam didn't touch, eat, or drink from it, his horse did, and that's breaking tradition and even blasphemous. Then, Nyquist went on to lose the next race and failed to win, as a favorite, the Triple Crown. It's a common occurrence for players to drink from the Stanley Cup, but knowing that a horse has now taken sips from it will probably creep some people out. Just sayin...
12 J-S Giguere Gives His Dog A Drink
In 2003, Giguère would lead the Anaheim Mighty Ducks on a glorious playoff push. As a 7th seed, they'd run the table all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals before eventually losing to the New Jersey Devils in 7 games. However, they had to first face the Wild in the Western Conference Finals. Giguere held the Wild to an all-time, best-of-seven-series low of one goal in the entire series, which included a then franchise-record shutout streak of 217 minutes and 54 seconds. Giguere finished the playoffs without giving up a single overtime goal in seven overtime games, a 15–6 record, a 1.62 GAA and .945 save percentage. He was the fifth player to receive the Conn Smythe as part of the losing team and the first since Flyers' goaltender Ron Hextall in 1987.
However, he and the Ducks would win it all in 2007 by beating the Ottawa Senators. So go for it "Giggie" - share a meal and a drink from the cup with man's best friend.
11 A Party For Kings
Lord Stanley's Cup is always the center of the party, The Kings partied it up with the trophy and filled it with champagne at "Beacher’s Madhouse Las Vegas" after winning it in 2o14. Players danced and drank and passed him around the club all night long. And Stanley seems to be enjoying his night out, and why not? After ruining a horse's career and filling up on dog food and cereal, a night of debauchery with champagne, dancing, and tunes is just what the doctor ordered. Perhaps in the future, Lord Stanley will take more visits to Vegas when the Golden Knights eventually find a way to win it all sometime in the distant future. In the meantime, other teams will have to bring it to Sin City.
10 Paulina Gretzky and Jarrett Stoll
Paulina turns up just about everywhere doesn't she? This is one of those rare photos where she's fully clothed, and that's too bad really, because after all the antics Wayne and the Oil put Stanley through he deserves some TLC. When the Kings won it all in 2012, they brought the Cup everywhere and Paulina and Jarret Stoll were an item. So just how closely are these guys attached to the Cup? Paulina is in the back ground, and despite her "look at me pose," Jarret could care less and wants he and his teammates' mug front and center. The couple didn't last, as Paulina would eventually hook up with Dustin Johnson, while Stoll moved on to sportscaster Erin Andrews, but they'll always have this cherished memory, right?
9 Hayden Panettiere Part 1
Talking bout' TLC! June 11, 2010, was a day that would change the life of Hayden Panettiere and Stanley as well. The Blackhawks' victory parade turned into a wild block party where he received more than he was expecting. Hayden still has that photo on her Facebook page, which has enticed many people to want to friend her. She's had many wall posts, emails, and obscene photos sent to her by envious men and women. Though she receives hundreds of offers to lick other trophies, it seems Lord Stanley's Cup was the only worthy one, her one true trophy love. That's right, in six degrees of separation, her tongue has come in contact with thousands of dancers, lips, pet food, and sweat. What a woman!
8 Hayden Panettiere Part II
Hey now! It seems like Hayden can't get enough of Stanley and who can blame her. Though he doesn't want to be fenced in, it seems the two have developed quite a relationship. He needs to only strut into a room and he's a magnet. He's far more interesting than Jonathon Goldsmith, The Most Interesting Man In The World, and he doesn't need a voice over. The Cup is far more interesting and mysterious and the ladies? Well, obviously they lose control and cant get enough of this silver fox! It had been a long wait for the city of Chicago in 2010, as they had gone 49 years without a Stanley Cup, so perhaps Hayden was just trying to make the occasion special.
7 The Peeler
Not even Madonna has anything on the Cup. Not only can Stanley hang with the Hollywood and Kentucky Derby crowd, but he can can be taken anywhere. Though he's got enough mojo to make his own moves, he's a great wing man. And that's just fine with an alpha personality at "centre" like Mark Messier. Mark was especially known for his late night antics, and who better to bring along than Stanley. Though "Mess" famously brought him to such risque places, one of their personal "faves" was a Montreal gentlemen's club called "The Peelers." Rumors have it that women fought over Stanley and even used him as part of their act. Still wanna touch that trophy if you ever get close to it?
6 Steve Yzerman
It’s well known that Stevie Y is surrounded by three wonderful daughters, so it's really not so strange that he'd take Stan to the showers where they could use all the hot water they wanted. Though a men's locker room is not the most clean or private place, Stanley could use a shower after his most recent encounters. Plus, if all these hoses were turned on he'd certainly come out clean and refreshed. Plus, he's in good hands. Yzerman’s time with the cup over three separate occasions was notable in that they never left each others sight, and that included showering and bathing together. Yzerman's pretty lucky that social media wasn't around back in his days of winning Stanley Cups.
5 Mario Lemieux's House
In 2016, Super Mario threw a Super Pool Party with Stanley as the guest of honor. It was estimated that he was kissed and drank from by over 600 lips at the all night affair. Supposedly, the party opened up after midnight and raged till the sun came up. Stanley did disappear for a little while but cooler heads prevailed when he was spotted at the bottom of the pool. The real Most Interesting Man in the World quickly got a second wind and stayed up all night.Boogie on Reggae Man! On a side note, how cool is Super Mario to throw a house party with the Stanley Cup after all these years? Perhaps more pics from Mario's house will surface after this summer with the Pens being back-to-back champs.
4 Bruins In The Sauna
The Boston Bruins won the Cup in 2011 and few cities can party with it like they can in Beantown. Unlike his more upscale celebrations in Pittsburgh and L.A, he got down and dirty in Boston. Shawn Thornton and others took him on pub crawls through all the different sides of Boston where the locals hung out. But Stanley also needed to relax, and though saunas provide just that, this is just nasty. I don't think Stanley would complain about anything, but it seems like he needs a little elbow room. Somehow though, the idea of Stanley hanging out in a sauna with a bunch of sweaty men is a little unsettling. We sure hope that trophy was cleaned and disinfected before going to the next lucky player who had it for a day.
3 Willie Mitchell Brings It To Dangerous Heights
When Willie won the Cup with Los Angeles in 2012, he took it home to British Columbia. He rowed boats with it over pristine mountain lakes, took it fishing, and hiked it to the peaks of mountains. And it's here we find Stanley, on flat but sloping ground and a handful of feet from certain death. But, if we're following his travels closely, it to deserves some moments of peaceful reflection, to ponder life's essential questions. Is there life after death, heaven and hell, or reincarnation? Do we live more than one life, and if so, could I come back as Stanley? While it's a beautiful picture, it's also a very dangerous place for the Cup. What if Willie dropped it? What if the hill was a little too steep and it fell of?
2 Martin Brodeur In the Lake
The Stanley Cup arrived in Lac-Ste-Marie, Quebec and was welcomed by perhaps the greatest goalie in NHL history. Now everyone knows goalies have a screw loose, but imagine what the Devils and the NHL were thinking when they saw this. This is a live, running, deep body of water and Stanley weighs over 35 pounds and sinks. Most people wouldn't swim alone in rushing water without having a line, body, or a life preserver hear by. But Marty seems to care less as he drifts without any safe guard for his life, or Stanley's life. Question is, who do you save? Either way, we're glad Brodeur knows how to swim and that he had some good upper body strength, otherwise, who knows where the poor Cup would have gone?
Long live Stanley! He's survived near drownings, thousand foot falls, any kind of bacteria a mother or doctor could warn you about, and yet he gets stronger as he ages. The Toronto Maple Leafs are a proud franchise but have not held Stanley in 50 years. But they did win it in 1962, brought it to a party, and he ended up finding his way into a bonfire.
There are many different stories but all of them blame testosterone, women, and lots of alcohol. Someone out there knows the truth, and nothing but the truth, and it deserves to be known. Don't be afraid to snitch!
All of these stories prove just how resilient the trophy is and why it's the most beautiful in all of sports. Long live Lord Stanley!