Here are some things you’ll never hear or read about: each basketball player on an NBA Championship team getting a day to spend with the Larry O’Brien trophy. Or a baseball player from a World Series Championship team taking the Commissioners Trophy to a horse track and using it to feed hay to a Kentucky Derby winner. Or some guy who works for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and whose only job is to take care of the Burg-Warner Trophy as it travels around the world. Or a football player from a Super Bowl winner using the Lombardi Trophy to baptize one of his kids.
These things don’t happen in other sports with other trophies. They do happen with hockey and the Stanley Cup. It’s the only major professional sport in the world where the glory, honor, and pride of winning its most-esteemed championship is perfectly embodied in the trophy that’s awarded. And the best part is that every single player gets to take that trophy home with them for a day and do whatever the hell they want with it.
This means that the Stanley Cup has been to some pretty crazy places and done some pretty crazy things over the years. So today, as the L.A. Kings start taking their turns with Lord Stanley’s Holy Grail, we bring you the 15 weirdest places the Stanley Cup has ever been. (Serving chocolate milk to Dustin Brown‘s kids in his backyard is nothing.)
However, let me just preface this list with one thing: all of the stories you’re about to read are true…more or less. In doing my research, I made the not-so-surprising discovery that many of these stories have several different versions. So for this list, I just picked the version that seemed most likely and/or most awesome.
After the Penguins won the Cup in 1992, the team had a pool party at Mario Lemieux's house. At that party, Phil Bourque decided it would be fun to see if the Stanley Cup floats, so he jumped in with the thing and let go. Of course, it immediately filled with water and sank to the bottom of the pool...where the hollow base acted like a suction cup gasket sealing the Cup to the bottom.
Yes, that's right. The Stanley Cup didn't just sink to the bottom of Mario's pool. It got stuck there.
Apparently the players had to organize themselves into diving teams and take turns trying to pry the thing off. By the end of the night, they'd retrieved their Holy Grail, but it was definitely lopsided. Thus, legend has it they all had to extra careful when holding it up for the victory parade the next day.
15. The Bottom of a Swimming Pool
Winning the Stanley Cup turns grown men into children. Among other things, this means that, much like a child who doesn't want to part ways with his or her new favorite toy, a Stanley Cup champion doesn't want to let the Cup out of his sight for one minute. For guys like Theo Fleury and Sidney Crosby, this meant sleeping with the thing next to them in their beds. For guys like Steve Yzerman, this meant taking it with him into the shower.
After finally winning the cup in 1997, the great Red Wings captain used the cup as no one ever had before: as a fancy silver-plated soap dish. So the next time you watch a guy hoist the thing over his head, then bring it back down to his lips for a kiss, just think: that part of the cup could have touched Stevie Y's you-know-what.
14. Next to Yzerman's Junk
Prince Edward Island is the smallest province in Canada, and so they've only ever had 28 locals make it to the NHL. (Though that's actually an incredible rate for a place that only has about 150,000 residents.) The first to bring home the Stanley Cup was Brad Richards back in 2004, after he won it with the Tampa Bay Lightning. And like any good maritimer, Richards took the cup out fishing with him. It probably wasn't the first time the cup had gone fishing, but it was probably the first time in which, had it somehow gone overboard, it probably would have been lost forever. (You can find it at the bottom of a lake. Good luck finding it at the bottom of the Atlantic.)
13. Fishing with Brad Richards
This is one of the legendary stories that's told several ways. Everyone agrees that it happened in Chicago in 1962, when the Canadiens were playing the defending Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks in the playoffs. And everyone agrees that a Canadiens fan tried to steal the Cup from the glass case in which the Hawks kept it in the concourse of old Chicago Stadium.
But here's where the stories diverge: one version says the man paid a security guard $250 to look the other way, took the Cup, and made it wall the way to his car before getting caught by security. Another version says he just snatched it from the case and made a dash for the door, but was stopped before leaving.
I prefer the version in which he paid off the guard and got the cup all the way into his car, for obvious reasons, but either way some crazy patriotic Canadian dude had his hands on the cup.
12. In Some Crazy Fan's Car
Kings fans no doubt loved seeing King Luc Robitaille finally hoist the cup in Los Angeles. He was never able to bring the cup there as a player, but he finally did it as the Kings' President of Business Operations.
However, Robitaille did win the Stanley Cup as a player—it was just with the Red Wings in 2002 instead of the Kings. However, after winning, Luc did bring the cup back to Los Angeles for a visit. And while there, he took Stanley into the hills for a photo shoot with the Hollywood sign, and then to Universal Studios for a ride on a roller coaster.
11. On a Roller Coaster
The Anaheim Ducks thought they were cool when they took the Cup on a float at the Rose Bowl Parade after winning it all in 2007. But the Chicago Blackhawks one-upped them in 2010 when they were the first team to put the Cup on a float in a Gay Pride parade. That, together with the fact the numerous hockey players and officials who have spoken out against homophobia, pretty much makes hockey the most inclusive sport in North America. Who'd have thunk?
10. To a Gay Pride Parade
In 1999, heavy metal band Pantera wrote a theme song for the Dallas Stars' playoff run. So when the team actually brought the Cup to Texas, the rockers hosted a huge bash for the team at the house of drummer Vinnie Paul. At this point, the stories of what happened vary. Everyone agrees that the Cup ended up in the swimming pool (again), but they don't agree on how it got there. Vinnie Paul says Guy Carbonneau threw it into the pool from a second-floor balcony; however, Walt Neubrand—better known as the Keeper of the Cup—says that didn't happen. He was there, of course, and he says a player holding the cup was pushed into the pool.
I'll let you decide for yourself which guy you want to believe.
9. At a House Party Thrown by Pantera
The Stanley Cup has been hockey's most prestigious prize from the beginning. But since it pre-exists the NHL and fully professional hockey, that means there was a day when it was awarded to the sports greatest amateur teams. One of those teams was the Ottawa Silver Seven, who later became the first version of the Ottawa Senators—the team after which the current NHL team was named.
The Silver Seven were the dominant team of their era, holding on to the cup for three straight years. After one particular Cup-retaining victory in 1905, the guys' celebration got a little rowdy, and someone dared forward Harry Smith to drop-kick the Cup (which was only 8 inches high back then) into Ottawa's Rideau Canal. So he did.
Luckily they had enough sense not to go in after the thing while they were still wasted. It was winter and the water was freezing, so someone almost certainly would have died. They wisely waited until the next morning to retrieve it.
8. In the Rideau Canal
Nik Wallenda may have just walked over the Niagara Falls on a tight rope, but who cares? He wasn't holding the Stanley Cup. In 2010, however, the Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane, a native of Buffalo, NY, took the Stanley Cup under the world famous Niagara Falls for the first time ever. It would have been way cooler if he tossed the cup in the river and watched it go over the falls, but that probably would have been frowned upon.
7. Under Niagara Falls
Legendary NHL goon Joey Kocur won the Cup with the Rangers in 1994. When his day with the grail arrived, however, it came to him in two pieces, having been broken in half by the previous guy (who Kocur refused to name). Since he didn't want his one and only day with the Cup to be ruined, Kocur took it to a local machine shop and had them solder it back together with sterling silver in 5 places—a temporary fix, for sure, but one that was strong enough to keep the Cup in one piece while Kocur towed it behind his speed boat on an inner tube.
6. Inner Tubing
Eddie Olczyk, also a member of the 1994 Rangers, decided to take the Stanley Cup to Belmont Park for the Belmont Stakes in 1994. There, the Cup paid a visit to the paddock of 1994 Kentucky Derby winner Go For Gin, where it served as a snack bowl for the champion horse. Unfortunately, it didn't prove to be good luck for Go For Gin, as a horse named Tabasco Cat went on to win the race.
Interestingly, Olczyk has claimed that no horse ever ate from the Stanley Cup while it was in his possession—despite the above photo from the Hockey Hall of Fame. (Yeah, and Bill Clinton didn't inhale, either.)
5. In the Stall with a Kentucky Derby Winner
No, I'm not talking about the Penguins' old arena, which of course was called The Igloo. (Though yeah, it was there.)
According the International Hockey Hall of Fame, Walt Neubrand, the keeper of the cup, says the most memorable trip he ever made with hockey's Holy Grail was to the Canadian territory of Nunavut. There, the cup visited the town of Rankin Inlet, an Inuit community on the Hudson Bay. And of course, while it was there, the Cup visited an Igloo. Which is awesome. (Sorry, Neubrand didn't say what year that was.)
4. An Igloo
Believe it or not, the Stanley Cup has been used as a baptismal font on two separate occasions. In 1996, Sylvain Lefebvre of the Colorado Avalanche used the Cup to baptize his daughter, Alexzandra. Then, in 2008, Tomas Holmstrom of the Red Wings let his cousin baptize his daughter in the cup—in Sweden.
Of course, the Stanley Cup was already the "Holy Grail," but after holding the holy water for these baptisms that nickname became literal.
3. At a Baptism
After the Oilers won their third Stanley Cup in 1987, Mark Messier, Wayne Gretzky, and the guys threw an after party at a strip club called the Forum Inn near the Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton, and obviously, they took the cup with them. Once there, they allowed patrons to drink champagne from the cup before putting it up on the stripper runway and letting the entertainers incorporate it into their routines. So yes, the Stanley Cup acted as a stripper pole.
I wonder how long it took them to get the glitter out of all those little grooves.
2. A Strip Club
In 2007, the NHL and the NHLPA took the Stanley Cup to an active war zone—Kandahar, Afghanistan—for the very first time, where it apparently survived missiles being fired at its plane and a separate missile attack on the base at which it was staying. (Yeah, the Cup handlers survived, too, but who cares about them.)
There American soldiers got a kick out of seeing the Stanley Cup in Afghanistan, but the thing was a rock star to the Canadian troops stationed over there...as you would expect. Since then, it's been back on several more occasions, and it hasn't been blown up yet.
1. A War Zone
hockey, NHL, sports traditions, stanley cup, Stanley Cup Party,