Tomorrow’s Top Three today: Where would you take the Stanley Cup
FROM PUCK DADDY (one of the great blogs around)
Where would you take the Stanley Cup if you were on the winning team?
Which is to say that Stanley’s gotten around.
Each offseason, the Hockey Hall of Fame has “Keepers of the Cup” travel with the most famous trophy in sports to destinations around the world, as each member of the winning team gets his time with the Stanley Cup. Some destinations are a bit more exotic than others, however.
Here are the 10 oddest places the Stanley Cup has ever visited.
10. Steve Yzerman’s Shower
The Stanley Cup has seen plenty of bedrooms — heck, even Sidney Crosby has slumbered with Stanley.
Yzerman was so elated by the victory, he didn’t sleep the night after the Wings closed out the series. But he did eventually take a postgame shower … with the Stanley Cup.
For a moment, Steve Yzerman was the owner of the world’s most valuable soap dish.
9. Baptism in Sweden
In 1996, Sylvain Lefebvre of the Colorado Avalanche became the first player to use the Stanley Cup as a baptismal font, as his daughter Alexzandra was baptized in it.
But in 2008, the Stanley Cup was not only used for a baptism, but for a baptism in Sweden.
Tomas Holmstrom(notes) of the Detroit Red Wings suggested to his cousin Robert that his 2-month-old daughter should be christened in the Stanley Cup when Holmstrom returned to Pitea, Sweden, with the Cup.
So on a July morning, Alva Felicia Holmstrom was baptized in hockey’s Holy Grail. Which, we believe, already qualifies her for sainthood.
8. “The Howard Stern Show”
When Howard Stern was still on terrestrial radio in New York, Claude Lemieux(notes) of the New Jersey Devils brought the Cup with him for an appearance. During the show, it sounded as if one of Stern’s flunkies (in this case, Jackie The Jokeman) had … er … defecated in the Stanley Cup.
But Mike Bolt, one of the keepers of the Cup from the Hockey Hall of Fame refuted that to Maxim in 2008:
“No. I’ve heard two things: They put chocolate pudding or a chocolate bar in it. Personally, I don’t know why someone would think that was funny; people drink and eat out of this thing. I would not have allowed it if I were around in ’95 when it happened. I always say, you want to keep winning this, you respect it, because in 1940 the Rangers burned the deed [to the old Madison Square Garden] in the Cup and then urinated on it to put out the fire—and it was 54 years before they won it again. But 99 percent of the guys, if not 100, are very respectful around it.”
And who doesn’t like pudding?
7. In the Paddock of a Kentucky Derby Winner
In 1994, after the New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup, forward and horse racing aficionado Ed Olczyk took the Chalice to Belmont Park in New York where Go For Gin, the 1994 Kentucky Derby Winner, was being housed. Olczyk met legendary trainer Nick Zito and took this famous picture of one equine champion eating out of another sport’s championship. (Oddly, Eddie O would later claim that “no horse ate out of the Cup while it was with me,” despite the photographic evidence to the contrary.)
Alas, the Cup curse struck again, as Go For Gin placed second to Tabasco Cat in the ’94 Belmont Stakes.
6. Under Niagara Falls
Buffalo native Patrick Kane(notes) of the Chicago Blackhawks became the first hockey player to take the Stanley Cup to Niagara Falls in August 2010, raising it above his head as the waters from the Bridal Veil Falls splashed down on it. Said Kane: “You have the water hitting you, while you’re holding the thing you worked so hard to get for your whole life to get, it’s really cool.”
Less cool: Getting stranded above the streets of Buffalo on the long ladder of a fire engine, as Kane did later that day.
5. In the Rideau Canal
In 1905, the Ottawa Silver Seven won the Stanley Cup and celebrated as one might expect they would at the Russell Hotel’s bar. This type of revelry is the breeder of bad decisions, and the Sevens’ minds spawned a doozy: Forward Harry Smith was dared to drop-kick the Stanley Cup into the Rideau Canal, which connects the Ottawa River with Lake Ontario.
He won the dare, punting the Cup into the river. So awestruck were the Silver Seven players that they forgot to actually retrieve it after the stunt; according to Sports Illustrated, Smith “returned with a hangover the next morning to reclaim the trophy from the dry bed of the waterway.”
4. On the Runway at a Strip Club
Mark Messier is an NHL legend because of his clutch performances and bold leadership; and it really doesn’t get more bold than bringing one of the most cherished trophies in sports to a gentleman’s club after your team wins it.
In 1987, Messier and the Edmonton Oilers captured the Cup. Messier brought the Cup to the Forum Inn, a strip club near the Northlands Coliseum. He set it on stage, and one of the local talents incorporated it into her routine to create an instant Cup legend.
This move became somewhat of a tradition for Messier. In 1994, when he helped the New York Rangers win their first Stanley Cup in 54 years, Messier and some teammates partied with the Chalice at Scores, a then-hugely popular sports-themed strip club in Manhattan.
No word how long it took the keepers of the Cup to remove all the glitter …
3. Marching in the Tournament of Roses Parade
When the Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2007, they became the first California-based franchise to win the title. Based on that geography, the opportunity was there to make some more history: For the first time in 119 years of the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, the Stanley Cup appeared in the parade, traveling on a float that extolled the virtues of Anaheim. Brad May(notes) was the lucky Duck who rode with it; and despite his reputation as a gritty player, held back from grazing on the flowers.
In 2010, the Chicago Blackhawks took the Cup to another parade for the first time — Chicago’s gay pride parade.
2. The Bottom of Mario Lemieux’s Pool
In an incident so infamous it spawned a book title about Stanley Cup misadventures, Pittsburgh Penguins winger Phil Bourque jumped into the large swimming pool at captain Mario Lemieux’s house, ostensibly to see if the Stanley Cup could float.
“It doesn’t float,” Bourque told the Penguins website in 2008. “We put it in Mario’s pool and it sinks in a matter of 10 seconds. We didn’t want to hurt it because you got to respect the Cup, but you want have some fun with it too.”
Still, the Cup sank to the bottom of the pool, which may have contributed to it being damaged during the Penguins’ Cup celebration that night. When it was Bourque’s turn to have the Cup in his possession, he heard a rattling bolt on the inside of the Chalice, which he took apart and fixed.
In the process, and inspired by some etchings he saw inside the Cup from the 1940s, Bourque took a screwdriver and scratched “Phil Bourque, Pittsburgh Penguins, 90-91, Enjoy it!” inside the metal frame.
1. In a Kandahar War Zone
The Stanley Cup has been all over the world. But in 2007, for the first time, it was taken into an active war zone.
The National Hockey League and its Players Association took the Cup to Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar, Afghanistan, where it was mobbed by appreciative soldiers from Canada and the U.S. for photographs.
From Maxim, Cup keeper Mike Bolt recalled the journey:
We went to Afghanistan this past March and had a missile attack our first night. We first arrived in Kandahar in flak jackets, the whole thing. Later on, I get back to the barracks and hear an air-raid siren, but I was dying for a shower, so I figured I’d just sit tight. I got into my room and—true story—sat down on the Cup case and read Maxim. I swear. I go into the shower, and when I get out a bunch of the guys are around going, “Mike, where were you during the missile attack?” I told them, “Sitting on the Cup case reading Maxim.” And they said, “Holy crap, you’re dedicated to your job!” [Laughs] Truth be told, if I had known better, I would have ditched the Cup and been like George Costanza pushing women and children out of the way.
The Cup has made subsequent visits to Afghanistan, with soldiers wearing NHL jerseys treating it like the Holy Grail of hockey that it is.