The Stanley Cup is one of the most documented championship trophies in the history of sports, and with good reason. Players are given one day each with the Stanley Cup after they win the finals, and most of them want to take it out and show it a good time. As you can imagine, this leads to some pretty wild adventures and a few choices that some people might consider to be a bit wrongheaded. This isn’t too surprising when you consider that in 1896, nearly a century before the Stanley Cup was first given to players for a day, it was already a tradition to drink champagne out of the thing.
The Chicago Blackhawks have it now, following their 2-0 defeat of the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday. And in the span of one business week, it’s already been hassled by drones, X-rayed by TSA officials, and taken on a trip to Wrigley Field that some consider to be in poor taste. It’s also been credited to the Chicago Bears, which is strange for more reasons than you think. But while we’re certain to hear of some interesting Stanley Cup adventures over the course of the offseason, the Blackhawks have some pretty big shoes to fill. Here are some of the strangest, most interesting, and occasionally lamentable antics associated with the Stanley Cup.
7. Players’ Children Leave Their Mark
You may have read about the unfortunate incident following Chicago’s Stanley Cup win, in which a riot by fans (that ultimately led to five arrests) resulted in the injury of a young child who was hit in the face by a bottle in the midst of the chaos. This is unfortunately nothing new, as we’ve talked about fan riots before at great length. But you’ll be happy to hear that some children have actually been treated quite nicely by the Stanley Cup. In fact, thanks to the Stanley Cup, players’ children have received adorable photo opportunities, have found religion, and have even started potty training.
The most recent photo opportunities actually began Monday night, during Chicago’s on-ice photo session with the illustrious trophy. One of the first children to be placed in the Stanley Cup was two-week-old Jaxson Versteeg, son of Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg. Center Andrew Desjardins was quick to follow with his five-month-old son Ames. Left wing Daniel Carcillo placed his son Austin in the Cup as well. Left wing and alternate captain Patrick Sharp, who has been with Chicago for all three of their Stanley Cup wins in the last six years, did not elect to place his daughter Madelyn in the trophy. He did, however, make her a part of his post-win interview. Other players incorporated their children into pictures and interviews as well.
But children have had an interesting history with the Stanley Cup for nearly twenty years. In 1996, it became a baptismal font for the daughter of Quebec Avalanche defenseman Sylvain Lefebvre. The same thing happened again in 2008, when the Stanley Cup was used for a baptism by Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom. But Alva Felicia Holmstrom wasn’t the only child to make an interesting use of the Cup that year. When center Kris Draper put his daughter Kamryn in the trophy, she celebrated with a victory bowel movement. Luckily, none of the Chicago tots who were placed in the Cup appear to have taken a page out of her book.
6. And Speaking of Bodily Functions….
Kamryn Draper was not the only toddler to use the Stanley Cup as a toilet bowl, nor was she even the first. In fact, a similar incident dates all the way back to 1964. Red Kelly was playing center for the Toronto Maple Leafs at the time. Like many other Cup-winners, he thought it would be cute to put his son in the trophy for a picture. Unfortunately, his son decided that this was the perfect time to urinate. Following the incident, Kelly began to see the champagne-drinking tradition in a newly humorous light.
But if you’re not exactly blown away by yet another child’s experiences with the Stanley Cup, you may be interested to know that Kelly’s son was not the first person to relieve himself in the NHL’s greatest prize. In 1940, a New York Rangers lineup that included left wing Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Lynn Patrick decided to christen the trophy by urinating into the top part of it. So while many great players aside from Patrick may be in the Hall of Fame, it’s probably a safe bet that none of them left their mark on the sport in quite the same fashion that he did.
There’s one other interesting bit of trivia relating the Stanley Cup to unseemly bodily functions, although this one crosses over into the realm of fiction. Quite some time ago, in the late 1990s, a famous celebrity drunkenly vomited into the trophy on national television. The celebrity in question? Krusty the Clown. It was during an episode of The Simpsons entitled “The Last Temptation of Krust,” and showrunner Mike Scully let people know last year during FXX’s marathon of the series that the NHL apparently sent a cease and desist letter to Fox. The station ignored it, which doesn’t seem to have hurt them at all.
5. The Stanley Cup and the Animal Kingdom
In 2014, Los Angeles Kings forward Mike Richards decided to use the Stanley Cup as a cereal bowl. He certainly was not the first one to do this, but what really made headlines was the fact that he set out a miniature Stanley Cup so that his dog could eat breakfast at his side. This sounds a bit more original, except for the part where he used a mini replica. In more straightforward fashion, Anaheim Ducks defenseman Sean O’Donnell used the real Stanley Cup to feed his black lab, Buddy, in 2007. Anaheim goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere also used the Cup as a dog dish, as did left wing Clark Gillies of the New York Islanders back in 1980.
Of course, the Stanley Cup is not always used to feed animals, nor are the creatures that come into contact with it necessarily always alive. In 1994, the New York Rangers took the Cup on such a whirlwind tour that the trophy was left in need of major repairs, thereafter given its own security team. It certainly wasn’t the worst of their misadventures with the revered prize, but one of their stops was the MTV Prime Time Beach House, where it was filled with raw clams and oysters by left winger Nick Kypreos and right winger Brian Noonan. One can presume that their more outlandish transgressions with the Cup that year remained untelevised.
Possibly the most famous animal-related event that the Stanley Cup has attended is the Kentucky Derby. Philip Pritchard, who holds the august title of Keeper of the Cup, posted pictures just last year of the Cup’s trip to Churchill Downs. Not that it was the first time it had been to the Derby. Twenty years prior, during the notorious 1994 offseason mentioned above, center Ed Olczyk brought the Cup with him to Belmont Park. While there, he introduced the Cup to Derby-winner “Go for Gin.” He appeared to follow suit with the dog owners already covered, using the Cup as a makeshift feeding trough. However, he denied that there was ever actually any food inside of it.
4. Fire-Related Antics and Mishaps
The Stanley Cup might be won on the ice, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t seen its fair share of fire as well. This dates back quite some time, such as when the Toronto Maple Leafs took the Cup in 1962. They brought it to a party, after which they racked up a decent bill for reparations. Why? Because somehow or other (hopefully by accident), the Cup managed to find its way into a bonfire. A bit of research seems to indicate varying accounts as to how exactly this happened, but our guess is that a small amount of liquor may have been involved.
But hey, at least that was probably an accident. Right? Well, that’s not the case with the next story, which involves the Stanley Cup being used to burn an important piece of documentation. More specifically, it was used in 1940 (or early 1941 by some accounts) to set ablaze a $3 million mortgage on Madison Square Garden. This was meant as an act of celebration, since the mortgage had been paid during the same year that the Rangers had won the championship. There are some who say that this is the reason the Rangers urinated in the Cup that year—they were trying to put out the fire.
And if we assume that championship trophies are sentient beings with the ability to hold a grudge, then this story lends credence to the oft-fabled Curse of 1940. Supposedly, the hockey deities were so angry at this brash treatment of the sport’s most coveted prize that the New York Rangers were cursed until 1994. Which, if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll recognize as the year they won the Cup and began desecrating it all over again in more unique and imaginative fashions. Because, hey…tradition.
3. Water-Related Antics and Mishaps
For however much time the Stanley Cup has spent doused in flames, it’s spent a lot more time submerged in water. For instance, it’s been in multiple swimming pools. In 1993, it wound up at the bottom of a pool owned by Montreal Canadiens goaltender Patrick Roy. But he was two years late to the party. Mario Lemieux, center for the Pittsburgh Penguins, had already discovered in 1991 that the Stanley Cup doesn’t float. It was such a famous incident that it even became the title of a book. Seriously.
These antics were tolerated for a time, but a line was drawn in 2002. Dominik Hašek, goaltender for the Detroit Red Wings, brought the Cup into his pool because he wanted to see if he could swim with it. This probably sounds a bit ridiculous, given how unwieldy the thing is. More importantly, it was also seen as disrespectful, and it resulted in a broken tradition when Hašek lost his privileges to the Cup before he could complete his day with it. But it’s almost a bit strange that the swimming incident was chastised so harshly, since it certainly wasn’t the worst of the water-related incidents involving the Stanley Cup. One of the more extreme incidents took place in 1905. The Ottawa Senators won the Stanley Cup that year. Following a night of what we’re going to assume was very heavy drinking, they took the Cup out to the Rideau Canal and drop-kicked it into the water. One would assume they’d dive straight in and get it, but they did the more sensible thing and…went straight home and forgot about what happened.
But even that didn’t damage the Cup as badly as the Dallas Stars did in 1999. At the time, defenseman Craig Ludwig was good friends with Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul of Pantera fame. In fact, he and Paul were living together and threw a party to celebrate the Stars’ win. During the party, center Guy Carbonneau allegedly either threw or dropped the Cup off of a balcony overlooking the pool, leaving a huge dent in the side. People aren’t sure whether or not he meant to do it, but there is one troubling bit of circumstantial evidence—he was the same guy who threw it into Patrick Roy’s pool when he was playing for the Canadiens back in 1993.
2. Bringing It to Some Odd Places
If you thought bringing the Stanley Cup to Wrigley Field, the Kentucky Derby, and the bottom of multiple swimming pools didn’t quite seem apropos for a hockey trophy, you haven’t heard anything yet. Nonetheless, you probably won’t be too surprised to hear that the next item on our itinerary revolves (once again) around the 1994 New York Rangers. Among the numerous places they hauled the championship trophy that year was a bar called Scores. It sounds like a sports bar, but it’s not. It’s a strip club. And much like the Ottawa Senators when they plunked the Cup into the canal, the Rangers simply left it there.
On a more international adventure, the Stanley Cup got to visit Lenin’s Tomb. The Cup’s trip to Red Square was orchestrated by three members of the Detroit Red Wings who had won the finals that year: left wing Vyacheslav Kozlov, defenseman Viacheslav Fetisov, and center Igor “The Professor” Larionov. While they were not allowed to actually enter the tomb, the players were permitted to pose with their trophy a few yards from the entrance. Not only did they attract a number of fans, but even the guards who blocked their entrance were reportedly delighted to be so close to the experience.
The Stanley Cup has, however, gone on some more traditional travels. For instance, it frequently gets to experience some amazing views of Mother Nature. A prime example comes from 2012, when defenseman Willie Mitchell of the Los Angeles Kings took the Cup to the top of Mount Waddington on Vancouver Island. Defenseman Scott Niedermayer of the New Jersey Devils pulled a similar move when his team won the Cup, bringing it to a mountain near Cranbrook, in British Columbia. And that wasn’t the only mountain in British Columbia visited by the Stanley Cup. Andrew Ladd, left wing for Chicago when they won the Cup back in 2010, brought it to the top of Crown Mountain. It’s hard to say, but the Stanley Cup might actually be better traveled than some of the people who have held onto it.
1. Straight Up Breaking the Thing
Many of the above stories led to the Stanley Cup being damaged or neglected in one way or another. But they hardly scratch the surface. In fact, speaking of scratching the surface, remember Lynn Patrick? One of the guys who urinated in the Cup, possibly while trying to extinguish a fire? Well he actually came into contact with the Cup in 1925, when he was just a young boy. With no knowledge of the fact that their names would be engraved into the side some fifteen years later, Lynn and brother Muzz grabbed a nail and etched their names into the side right then and there.
It’s been damaged numerous other times as well, and not always through the direct fault of the players. The Edmonton Oilers tried to share the Stanley Cup experience with their fans in 1987. But when center Mark Messier allowed some Alberta residents to drink from the fabled chalice, it was bent so badly that it had to be taken to a body shop. It’s almost hard to imagine how rough they must have been with the trophy that they were able to damage a three-foot-tall, thirty-five pound metal object just by drinking out of it.
But don’t feel too bad for the Stanley Cup just yet. Every once in a while, it does give the players their comeuppance. And no, we’re not just talking about the Curse of 1940. We’re also talking about right wing Maurice “Rocket” Richard of the Canadiens, who tried to drink from the Cup in 1957 and wound up chipping two of his front teeth. Given that he was only following tradition, and that this undoubtedly led to much more physical pain than the run of losses New York received after treating the Stanley Cup like a fire hydrant, we’re thinking of revoking our reference to the Cup as a sentient being that holds grudges. If anything, it’s more like a ruthless force that chooses its victims at random.
It sure looks neat, though.