The Stanley Cup is arguably the most coveted trophy in professional sports. Originally called the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, it now carries the name of Lord Stanley of Preston, the former Governor General of Canada who donated it in 1892 as an award to Canada’s top-ranking ice hockey club. The first winners were an amateur team, Montreal HC, in 1893, but since its introduction to the league in 1926, it’s been the “Holy Grail” that every NHL player dreams about lifting.
Being the oldest existing trophy awarded in professional sports, as well as the only championship trophy of the four major sports leagues in North America that isn’t made new each year, but instead passed down from team to team, the Stanley Cup has a long and storied history. Did you know that it’s been stolen before though? More than once actually. It’s been left in a bunch of places too, which is surprising considering how valuable it is.
Via Wiki Commons/Thomas Patrick Gorman
The first time it was left somewhere happened before the NHL had even been founded. After a night of drunken celebrations following their January 1905 Stanley Cup victory, some players from the Ottawa Hockey Club, known as the Silver Seven, thought it’d be a good idea to see if one of them could kick the then-small Cup over Ottawa’s Rideau Canal. Turns out they couldn’t. It landed right in it, which luckily was frozen at the time, not that it mattered much because they left it there anyway. The Cup was retrieved the following day after the buzz wore off.
Via Wiki Commons
In 1907, the Montreal Wanderers left the Stanley Cup at a photographer’s house that they hired to take pictures of their win. The photographer’s mother thought it would make a beautiful flowerpot, and it did, for a few months! Eventually, the team realized what happened and went to pick it up.
Via Wiki Commons
We all forget things from time to time; our keys at home, our wallets in the car, the Stanley Cup on the side of the road. Wait a second… Ok, maybe we don’t ALL do that last one. But some players from the Montreal Canadiens actually did do that, back in 1924. While on their way to a victory party with it in the trunk of their car, they got a flat. So the guys got out, removed the Cup to get to the spare, changed the tire, and drove off. And the trophy? They left it sitting on a snow bank.
Only after it came time for the traditional drink from Lord Stanley’s Mug, later that night, did they remember that they left it sitting on the side of the road. Thankfully though, it was still there when they drove back to get it.
Via Wiki Commons/The Sporting News Archives
During the 1962 playoffs, the Cup sat on display in a glass case in the Chicago Stadium lobby, home of the defending champs, the Chicago Blackhawks. During their lopsided series against the Montreal Canadiens, a disgruntled Habs fan upset that his team was on verge of defeat, decided to take matters into his own hands. Ken Kilander opened the glass case, and when no alarms sounded, he reached in, grabbed the Stanley Cup, and headed for the exits. He was only a few feet away from the doors when a police officer stopped him and asked what he was doing. He responded, “I want to take it back where it belongs. To Montreal.”