With the start of the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals tonight, I got a wee bit nostalgic.
In 2014 the Raw Charge staff of Tampa Bay Lightning writers participated in a series of posts chronicling things that endeared each of us to the sport of Ice hockey.
My Five Things post was published on February 18th, 2014. The final topic that makes me love this sport is what I quote in full here.
One reason I love ice hockey and am tied to the game is my reverence of the Chalice of Lord Stanley and it’s history:
The Glory of the Cup
It’s not the NHL title, though it’s bestowed to the champion of the league. Its history goes back beyond the Original Six. Players on this continent and elsewhere in the world are raised to dream about getting possession of it and hoisting it in victory.
Unlike the Lombardi Trophy in the NFL, the O’Brien Trophy in the NBA, the Commissioners Trophy in MLB or the Coaches Trophy in NCAA Division I football, which are all minted for champions individually – for them to own — there is only one Stanley Cup. Unlike the previously named awards, the Stanley Cup carries its legacy and history with it to whomever it is ultimately awarded to – the names etched upon it, the flaws and dents that have their own stories, as do the teams that are named as champions on it.
All trophies can be looked at as over-glorified paperweights in the end, but the Cup is to be drunk from by its winners in celebration. It’s raised over your head in triumph, not foisted around and then stuck in a trophy case to be forgotten about. Every championship in every league the world over is fought for, bled for, scarified for, but this one, the names etched right on the Cup itself show you who has done the same in days of yore; the hockey legends and the bit players from previous championship teams who put everything on the line for that title, who played while hurt or outright infirm.
There is so much hurt, so much anguish, so much emotional strife and insecurity you suffer in your life as a fan, it can haunt you when you’re a fan of a team in a non-traditional market, or one that faces mediocrity on all too regular a basis. But the moment the commissioner tells your team captain to come get his Stanley Cup – all of that is erased. And while you personally aren’t the one who got the Cup, you own that moment and that title just as much as the team that won it all. That’s yours to hold on to until your dying day.
That silver chalice, that’s the most beloved thing that anyone can ever know in this sport.