The Stanley Cup Final is about to get started and soon a new team (either Vegas or Florida) will be hosting the Stanley Cup. The Stanley Cup, sometimes referred to as the Holy Grail of hockey; is the ultimate reward for a hockey player and the ultimate prize for a fanbase. But what makes it so special?
Every hockey player and hockey fan have their own reason for why the Stanley Cup is special to them. Here are just a few of the many reasons why the Stanley Cup is so special:
1. There’s only one Stanley Cup. In almost all other sports (NFL, NBA, MLB, Olympics, etc.), a new trophy or medal is made for their respective champions each season. However, there is only one Stanley Cup. It is the oldest trophy is professional sports, dating back to 1893.
2. The greatness that has touched the trophy. The greatest hockey players to have played hockey have won the Stanley Cup. Over 10,000 different people have kissed the trophy after winning it. When the trophy is in your vicinity, you can feel the greatness that has been in its presence. The history of hockey has touched that trophy.
3. Your name lives on forever. When a team wins the Stanley Cup, the names of all the players and team executives are engraved on the trophy. Those names stay with the Stanley Cup until a ring is retired and placed in the Hockey Hall of Fame. We all must leave this Earth at some point. But when your name is on the cup and will be there forever, it means that you and your legacy will live on forever.
4. The difficulty to win it. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are an absolute grind. A team must win 16 games and often plays 22+ games to win it. Games are played every other day and the playoffs go on for two months. Players play through countless injuries and fatigue for a chance to win the Stanley Cup. In no other sport is the road as challenging to win a championship.
5. The trophy is known around the world. Hockey is a global game, as players from around the world compete in the NHL. The Stanley Cup has visited over 24 countries in its history. Hockey players from around the world know about the Stanley Cup and aim to win it. In some sports, the trophy may only be known to a handful of countries (see the Lombardi Trophy).
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The list of reasons goes on and on. To me, it is a culmination of all those reasons plus more. The Stanley Cup is the physical embodiment of everything we love about the game. The hard work of the players and their ability to bond as a team. The dedication from all the coaches, parents, and mentors that have helped the players develop into professionals and eventual champions. The love the fans have for their team, their city, and for each other. The resources and charity given by the team back to their community. The patience and perseverance of the players and fans through many seasons of not reaching the ultimate prize.
All that hard work, passion, resiliency, patience, and love is the reason why the Stanley Cup means so much. Call me a romantic, but the Stanley Cup is the ultimate embodiment of all the traits that bring out the best in people. It is a physical reminder of how blessed we all are to have this great game, to live in great communities, and to be loved by so many.
Whatever the reason, the cup continues to be important to so many people. This was true with past generations, is true with the current generation, and will be true with future generations. No matter the reason, it is the entity that binds all hockey fans together.
So…why is the Stanley Cup special to you?