Stories of the Stanley Cup have long fascinated me, not just because they are an integral part of the game’s heritage but many of the stories are all the more incredible because they are true.
For instance, in 1905, the trophy was a small silver bowl and it was captured by the renowned Ottawa Silver Seven. After their victory party at a local hotel, and no doubt many drinks, the team , made their noisy way homeward along the Rideau Canal with the precious cup tucked under one of the players arms. A player wondered aloud if he could drop kick the cup all the way into the canal. Of course, his teammates dared him to try. High in the air flew the Stanley Cup, landing somewhere in the snow and ice covering the surface of the canal. The players cheered their companion and eventually they all staggered home to bed, forgetting the cup and leaving it resting perilously close to the watery blackness below.
The next day, club officials inquired about the cup’s whereabouts. The players recalled their prank the night before and rushed back to the canal. One of them, star forward Harry Smith, made his way onto the ice and retrieved the cup and took it home for safekeeping.
The following season, the Montréal Wanderers won the championship and planned a celebration of their own. But when it came to awarding them with the Stanley Cup it was nowhere to be found. Finally, someone remembered that Harry Smith had last been seen with the cup and, sure enough they found it, safe and sound – if forgotten – in the back of Harry’s closet.
But that wasn’t the last time the cup was misplaced, in 1924, at yet another victory party in Montréal, the cup was the Stanley Cup was placed on the curb when the players headed for the party was forced to stopped to repair of flat tire. After the tire was fixed, the players piled back into the car and roared off into the night. Once at the party, as champagne was uncorked and the toast was about to be made, it became apparent that there was something very important missing, the cup!
The players rushed back to the scene of the tire repair, and there stood the cup, exactly where they had left it.
There are many stories about the cup and the road to winning it. Here I will share some of them.