by Tami Bonos
The Stanley Cup.
As of June 15th 2015, I’m sure everyone in Illinois has heard or seen those words in the media. But do you know what they mean? And why in the world am I bringing them up in a jewelry store blog?
Well, the Stanley Cup is a trophy unlike any other. It’s a piece of hockey (and sports) history. To raise it above your head in victory is a huge accomplishment, but to raise it three times in six seasons, as the Chicago Blackhawks have just done, that’s unbelievably amazing!
It’s called the Stanley Cup because Lord Frederick Arthur Stanley became an avid hockey fan when he moved from England to Canada in the late 1880s. He bought the original Cup for all of $50, and awarded it for the first time in 1893. It was made of sterling silver, and is currently sitting safely in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. It hasn’t even been outside of the vault since 1963.
The modern Cup –the one you’ve seen on TV lately- has been altered over time and is currently composed of a silver and nickel alloy. One thing always remains the same, however: the members of the winning team get their 52 names hand-engraved to the bottom-most band, forever solidifying their place as hockey gods. And this is why I’m bringing it up on a jewelry blog.
Engraving isn’t too difficult when you have an engraving machine. We have one at Jack Lewis that lets us do the inside of wedding bands. But to do it by hand takes precision and patience. So you can imagine the pressure the engravers are under when it comes to forever glorifying the names of the championship team. Only four people have had the privilege (and steady hand!) to engrave these names onto the Cup. The current engraver takes the entire month of September to get the job done. And what a job she does! Since names are added each year, eventually the bands get full. So, over the years, they remove bands and put them in the Hall of Fame next to the original Cup.
The Stanley Cup is such a sight to see! The players, coaches, and staff each get a day with it after the championship title is earned. And man, do they take it everywhere! It’s had babies baptized in it, been taken to other sports games, had alcoholic beverages drunk from it, been to big towns and small towns, and even been left on the side of the road in a snow bank! (Don’t worry though, it was found safe and sound.) Whenever a player raises the Cup, they always kiss it. So as a hockey fan, that is the coolest and most awesome thing you could ever get to do!
I first laid my eyes on the cup on 2010, got the privilege to kiss the cup in 2013, and just saw it again in person at the 2015 celebration rally. The Blackhawks are a modern-day hockey dynasty, and as a lifelong fan, I can barely believe I’ve seen them win three Stanley Cup championships in the last six years!
As I mentioned earlier, the Cup travels a lot, so if you’re wondering where you might catch a glimpse of it in person, there’s an app called wherestheCup that you can use to track it. Or ISU alum and Blackhawks executive vice president Jay Blunk will likely bring the Cup back to his home town of Danvers, IL at some point to be appreciated in all its glory. It’s where I got to see it and kiss it, so thanks Jay!
There you have it! The Stanley Cup championship trophy is hand-engraved after every season with the champions’ names, and raised up high for the world to see! Thanks to the Chicago Blackhawks for letting this fan see it one more time!