At Spike’s Trophies, the famous trophy company in Philadelphia, we know a good trophy when we see one. We’re talking about the award that goes to the Stanley Cup Champions. They say it’s the hardest trophy to win all of professional sports. The teams that eventually make it to the Stanley Cup Finals have already played at least 100 games! It is a fast, physical sport and the season is long and grueling. By the time the playoffs come around, teams are beat up and the players are battling through multiple injuries… all for a chance at the Stanley Cup.
The Stanley Cup was originally conceived as the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup in 1892. It was named after the Governor General of Canada, Lord Stanley of Preston. Hence, one of its nicknames, Lord Stanley’s Cup. It was awarded to the best amateur ice hockey club in Canada.
Fast forward 125 years and the Cup has grown five times its original height. Unlike other professional sports, a new trophy isn’t made each year. When a new champion is crowned, the names of the players and coaches are engraved on the Cup itself. It is updated over the years as they run out of room.
The NHL is divided into two conferences, the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. The best eight teams from each conference make the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Each team plays another in their conference in what is called a best-of-seven series. The first team to four wins advances to the next round. This year, the Nashville Predators have come out of the Western Conference for the first time in the franchise’s 20-year history. The Pittsburgh Penguins also came out of the Eastern Conference for the second straight year, seeking to win back-to-back titles.
Ask any hockey player fortunate enough to win it. They’ll tell you it was one of the hardest things they’ve ever had to do but it was well worth it to lift the Cup high above their head. They celebrate with their teammates in the locker room drenched in champagne while actually using the Stanley Cup to drink it.
One of the more fun traditions in sports, each player on the winning team gets to have the Cup for a day or two over the summer. Needless to say, it’s seen some crazy things. It’s seen the bottom of a couple swimming pools. It is even rumored that in 1994, New York Ranger Eddie Olczyk fed the Kentucky Derby winner out of the Stanley Cup. In 2006, winner Doug Weight and his family ate an ice cream sundae out of it. In 1996, Sylvain Lefebrve had his first child baptized inside it.
A beautiful trophy is a great way to recognize a long journey of dedicated effort, no matter what line of work you’re in. For top-of-the-line trophies and other awards of recognition, go to Spike’s Trophies, the famous Philadelphia trophy company.