Friday, April 21, 2006
Yes, that would be me over there in that picture, posing with the Holy Grail of Hockey. That was from a trip to Toronto and the Hockey Hall of Fame a few years ago. They have almost a shrine for it. All the other various awards are in the same room too, closed in glass cases, carefully cleaned after a day's worth of eager fans press too close, nosing the glass in attempts to see a favorite player's name on a particular trophy.
The Stanley Cup, though, is not under glass. Nor should it be. This is a trophy that's been through some history. The tradition is that every player on the Cup-winning team gets to have the Cup for an entire day and do whatever they want with it. It's been swimming in Mario Lemieux's pool. (And as the story goes, silver and chlorine don't combine well.) Sylvain Lefebvre had it used as a baptismal font for his baby. Slava Fetisov, Igor Larionov, Sergei Fedorov, Vladimir Konstantinov, and Slava Kozlov took it all the way to Russia. Luc Robitaille took it on a roller coaster at Universal Studios. A guy I used to work with told me during the summer of 2002 that he'd been out at a club when Sergei Fedorov and the Stanley Cup just happened to show up. It was once left on the side of the road when some players from the 1924 Montreal Canadiens. who were driving around with it had to stop to change a flat tire. (Luckily it was still there when they went back for it.)
It is the only championship trophy in pro sports in which every player from the winning team gets to have his name engraved on it. The bands that form the base for the Cup? Covered in names. Players past and present, from Hall of Famers to hard-working hitters.
So, here's to the hope that come June, Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman will once more raise the cup above his head and skate it triumphantly around the ice!