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NHL’s Stanley Cup – World’s the most unique Trophy

There are many competitive sports and games in the world and hence a trophy is associated with each sport and game. But Stanley Cup has many amazing facts, which make it completely unique in the world. Let’s peep into its brief history to understand it better:


The Stanley Cup is the championship trophy awarded annually to the National Hockey League (NHL) playoff champion. It is the oldest trophy still in use in North America to recognize a professional sports team. International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) termed it as the “most important championships available to the sport”.

Amazing Facts of Stanley Cup:

In 1892, the trophy was commissioned as Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup. It bears name of Lord Stanley of Preston, the Governor General of Canada appointed by Queen Victoria. He promoted amateur hockey competitions in Canada. Ottawa Hockey Club, Canada’s top-ranked amateur ice hockey club, received the trophy as a award from him.

The first challenge games and league play was conducted in 1893 and Montreal Hockey Club won the same. In 1906, professional teams were first permitted to contend for the Stanley Cup. It continued till 1914.

In 1915, the National Hockey Association (NHA) and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA) signed an agreement. Through this agreement, each year both associations would organize respective playoffs and then champions of each side would face each other to win Stanley Cup.

Legally, the trophy is owned by the two Canadian trustees of the cup and through an agreement with them, NHL has secured rights to control the trophy & its trademarks.

The original bowl was made of silver, 11.42 inches wide and 7.28 inches high. Current Cup has a copy of the original bowl which is made of silver and nickel alloy. It is 35.25 inches high and weighs 15.5 Kg.

Since 1914, 20 NHL teams have won the Stanley Cup 103 times together. In 1919, the final was cancelled due to Spanish flu epidemic and in 2005, it wasn’t awarded due to NHL lockout. Maximum winning is earned by Montreal Canadiens (24 times). Second most winner is Detroit Red Wings (11 times).

32 teams of National Hockey League (NHL)

The uniqueness in Stanley cup is not the cup, but the way it is designed and awarded. Read further to know it better.

Every year, new cup is not made for the new winner, as in many other sports and games. Instead, the winners keep the trophy until a new champion is crowned. And the most amazing fact is that the names of all players, coaches, management & staff of winning team are engraved on the Stanley Cup every year! Lo & behold, this is going on since 1903 !!

Now, you will be wondering that how is that possible to have names of not just winner teams but all the team mates, that too for last 120 years!!!

Well, NHL has developed a very unique way of doing it. In 1947, the cup was redesigned and rings and angled rings were added to the cup’s base.

In 1958, NHL redesigned the trophy to current one-piece Cup. Five bands were added to its base. Each band contains names of winning team players of 13 years. When bottom band (5th band) gets filled, the top band is retired and kept for display in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Each of the remaining four bands then move up one place each and new blank band is added in the bottom. Hence a winning team’s name remains on the trophy for good 65 years !!! Here are the plan details:

Stanley cup construct 1
  • The bowl, lists team names of various champions from 1903 to 1907
  • The 1926 ring, listing the team roster of the 1924 champion Montreal Maroons
  • The 1925 angled ring, listing the team name of the 1925 champion Victoria Cougars
  • The 1927 ring, listing the team roster of the 1927 champion Ottawa Senators (original) on one half, and the team roster of the 1929 champion Boston Bruins on the other half.
  • The base ring added by the 1893 champion Montreal HC, which lists team names of various champions from 1893-1902
  • The 1924 ring, lists 1924 champion Montreal Canadiens team
  • The base ring added by the 1909 champion Ottawa Senators, which lists team names of various champions from 1909-1915
  • The shoulder collar, listing team names of all of the champions from 1893 to 1992
  • Band 1, team rosters of all the champions from 1966 to 1978
  • Band 2, team rosters of all the champions from 1979 to 1991
  • Band 3, team rosters of all the champions from 1992 to 2004
  • Band 4, team rosters of all the champions from 2006 to 2017
  • Band 5, team rosters of all the champions from 2018 to 2030

The original bowl was made of silver and is 18.5 centimetres high and 29 centimetres wide. The current Stanley Cup is topped with a copy of the original bowl, made of a silver and nickel alloy. It has a height of 89.54 centimetres and weighs 15.5 kilograms.

Further comes traditions associated with this Cup. Since 1995, the winning team lifts the cup and takes it around the rink to proudly show to cheering Audience. Finally, the winning team members drink champagne from the cup and for that reason the trophy has earned many titles such as “Lord Stanley’s Cup”, “Lord Stanley’s Mug”, “The Holy Grail”, “The Cup”.

Final thoughts

So be it happiness of winning tough competition, be it the most fascinating design of the trophy, be the legends and traditions associated with it; the winning team player while lifting the cup will always be proud of one fact that he is not just lifting the cup but the history of the Stanley cup (in literal sense) !!

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