The last in our 118-part series.
The Stanley Cup
Lord Stanley’s Cup is the undisputed heavyweight champion of sporting trophies. Everyone knows all the reasons why: it’s the hardest to win; it’s passed on from team to team; it’s presented to the team captain (not the owner) on the ice (not in the dressing room later); it’s identified the world over and everyone knows immediately what its proper name is; it’s engraved with the names of everyone who’s won it (from the Rocket Richards to the Drew Millers); it’s freaking huge and weighs more than a guy with a previously undisclosed separated shoulder and 6 weeks of playoff wear and tear on his body should be lifting (but damned if Scotty Stevens wasn’t going to hoist it anyway). But here’s the real kicker with the Cup — there is nothing to prepare you for how stunningly beautiful it is in real life. We had the opportunity to have our pictures taken with the Cup after the Devils 2003 win. We’ll admit our enthusiasm for the event waned with each passing hour of standing in a lengthy line that never seemed to move. But when we got close enough to see the guest of honor, we suddenly understood what was taking so long. When you see the Cup, polished and especially shiny (we like to think it has a happier sheen when it’s graced with the names of your favorite team), there is nothing you can do but stand and gape with a ridiculous grin on your face. Each name is like a tiny pinprick of light in the glowing firmament of hockey history, each successive ring is a forged promise of the strong foundation of our favorite game, each engraved curlicue on the bowl is a filigreed embodiment of the grace and beauty of the game. And wrapped up in that trophy is a century of the hopes and dreams of every player and every fan who’s ever fallen in love with hockey.
And starting tomorrow, every team in the league is gunning for it!