Strange Misadventures of the Stanley Cup
May 14, 2002 -- -- What single object is the world's most famous champagne cup, potato chip dish and dog-food bowl, while doubling on occasion as a baptismal font?
It's the Stanley Cup.
The Stanley Cup has partied longer and harder than Ozzy Osbourne over its 109-year reign as hockey's Holy Grail. In a tradition unique in professional sports, every player on the championship team gets at least 24 hours to do virtually whatever he wishes with old Stan.
The cup has visited the White House and Lenin's tomb. It's also visited churches, bars, and strip clubs. It's been to the top of mountains and the bottoms of pools. It's been strapped to a Harley, a dog sled, and a golf cart. And along the way, it's been kissed, hugged, and admired by countless millions. Many, undoubtedly, are not hockey fans. They wait on line for more than an hour simply to enjoy a moment in awe of Stanley's grandeur.
This is what the best in the NHL fight for each year: a 35-pound, 3-foot-high polished silver trophy with five removable rings at the base. Each one lists 13 teams and their players, which remain on the cup for 64 years. The older rings are retired and on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
‘Yes, You Can Sleep With the Stanley Cup’
After the winning team takes their victory lap, the Stanley Cup really begins its travels, clocking more than 100,000 miles a year, raising millions of dollars for charity and and acting as hockey's foremost celebrity.
For Mike Bolt, the 32-year-old keeper of the Stanley Cup, it's the days with the players, who often take the cup out for some rowdy partying, that presents the biggest challenge. Last year, Rob Blake of the Colorado Avalanche insisted that the cup be taken to Simcoe, Ontario, where it was perched atop the roof of the combine on his family's farm.
Once a player enjoys his 24 hours, the cup's off to a new teammate.
As long as it does no damage to the cup, Bolt obliges. He can't even name all the players who've taken the cup to bed. Mostly, though, it's just good-hearted celebration: a trip to a favorite restaurant, an old high school, a retirement home, a night out on the town.Several players have taken the trophy to a cemetery to show their parents what they've achieved.