STANLEY CUP SHENANIGANS

 

So, youíve won the Stanley Cup.  Now what?  Every player dreams of the day they can hoist the cup over their head as a symbol of victory, not to mention hockey supremacy. 

Every player whoís ever been part of a Stanley Cup winning team has the opportunity to have their way with the holy grail for at least one day during the summer.  What is one to do with it once they have it, aside from go to Disneyland (that was not meant as a poke towards fans of the Mighty Ducks)?  Through the years, players and coaches alike have found some very creative ways to spend their allotted time.

Perhaps one of the most famous Stanley Cup stories happened in 1905 after the Ottawa Silver Seven had won it all. Ottawa fans had reportedly wined and dined with the club late into the wee hours of the morning.  When the party finally ended, the Ottawa skaters stumbled home in the bitter cold of the night.  Apparently the cold air wasnít enough to sober up fellow teammate Harry Smith.  For a brief moment, Smith thought he was a football player, as he took the cup and kicked it straight into the Rideau Canal!  Not noticing what he had done, the rest of the team continued their trek into the night, and the cup stayed put until the next morning.  Smith, realizing what he had done, quickly made his way back to the Canal where he found the cup none the worse for wear save for a couple of dents.

Just a year later, in 1906, the Montreal Wanderers upon winning the championship decided to carry the cup to a studio to have a professional victory picture made.  After the shoot, the team headed out of the studio and headed for the nearest pub, and left the cup behind.  Several months later it was found to be in use as a flower pot!

In 1910, the cup made a surprise appearance at a bowling alley on St. Catherine Street in Montreal, full of bubble gum.  To this day, nobody knows how it got there.

In 1924, Montreal Canadiens coach, Leo Dandurand, threw a champagne party for the players at his house. As luck should have it, while on the way there, a few players stopped their car on a street corner to change a flat tire. In their angst, the group continued on their way, leaving the trophy behind.  It wasnít until they made it to Dandurandís house when they realized they left the cup behind.  Luckily, it was still sitting on the same corner they left it.

The Chicago Blackhawks only ever won the Stanley Cup once, in 1961, and a jealous Montreal fan named Ken Kilander was determined to keep it that way.  During the 1962 playoffs, the cup was kept in a glass case in the middle of the old Chicago Stadiumís lobby for everyone to see.  Kilander carefully opened the glass case and realized it was not protected by any alarm or surveillance of any kind, so he grabbed the cup and headed for the exit.  He would have gotten away with it too, if it hadnít been for a meddling cop who spotted him at the last second.  When asked what he was doing with the cup, he answered ďIím taking it back to Montreal where it belongs.Ē  Ironically enough, the cup would later be won by Montrealís biggest rival, the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Talk about adding insult to injury.

Oddly enough, the Stanley Cup had never been to Russia until the Detroit Red Wings won it in 1997.  Fellow linemates Igor Larionov, Slava Kozlov and Viacheslav Fetisov took the cup on an overseas journey to Moscow, where they hoisted it in front of the Kremlin for all to see.

Larry Robinson, who coached the 2000 New Jersey Devils, ended up in a field somewhere in Ontario with the Stanley Cup, a few friends and family members, and a cow.  The cow reportedly ate some hay which was strategically placed in the bowl of the cup.  Who said hay was for horses?

Pascal Rheaume wins my vote for most innovative way to eat poutine.  For those of you who donít know, poutine is simply French fries with gravy and cheese curds (donít knock it until you try it, and if you canít get it where you live, move to Canada!).  After the usual parties with family and friends mixed with photos with the cup (and after being arrested, which turned out as nothing more than a practical joke set up by his wife), Rheaume wanted to spend his remaining hours with the cup eating his favorite food from it.  While most would prefer to drink champagne, his drink of choice was beer.  I canít say I blame him.

In a true act of class, the Devils surrendered the Stanley Cup for one day on July 18 in order to allow the NHL to take the cup to Parry Sound, Ontario to commemorate the opening of the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame.  Rumours of the cup appearance turned out to be true as fans had a chance to have their picture taken with the mug and celebrate a project which was twenty four years in the making.

On Friday, June 13th, 2003, the cup helped bring some good luck to baseballís New York Yankees, and in particular, pitcher Roger Clemens.  The New Jersey Devils, fresh off their victory, rode the cup around Yankee Stadium on a golf cart and had a picture taken wearing Yankee jackets which were donated by team owner George Steinbrenner.  Devils captain Scott Stevens threw out the ceremonial first pitch, and Clemens not only got his 300th career win, which had eluded him for weeks, but also passed the 4000 strikeout plateau.

Did you know the victory skate you see all teams take when the cup is won, along with the on ice victory picture was actually started by the Edmonton Oilers way back when?  Chalk this tidbit up under Stanley Cup trivia.

Even though the small bowl on top of the cup was replaced by an exact replica of the original in 1964, players still manage to find innovative ways to spend their day with the cup.  Of course, thanks to the shenanigans of players past and the risk of theft or vandalism, the NHL had no choice but to keep the cup under wraps twenty four hours a day, released only when it becomes a playerís turn with the cup.  The original, now fragile bowl remains locked in a vault at the Hockey Hall of Fame.  Fans can have pictures taken with an exact replica of the full sized version.  I never tire of watching folks crowd around it.  As we all know, it continues to be the most sought after trophy in sports and the toughest to win.

If you had 24 hours with the Stanley Cup, what would you do?  Where would you go?  I could probably go on for days with stories and facts about the silver trophy, but I know everybody has their own stories about the cup, and I want to hear them.  It will help ease the dog days of summer and help me forget about the fact Iím turning 30.

For more stories about the Stanley Cup, check out the official Stanley Cup Journal here.

 

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