The Stanley Cup is a sports championship trophy awarded annually to the winning team of the NHL (National Hockey League) playoffs.
Early hockey fan Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley, Governor General of Canada, donated a punch-bowl style cup to be given to the champion hockey team of Canada. It was first awarded in 1893 as the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, later called the Stanley Cup for its creator.
In 1894, the first championship series for the Cup was played in Montreal, Canada. The competition widened to include U.S. teams in 1916, and in 1926 the Cup became the property of the NHL. The Cup is the oldest awarded sports trophy in North America.
The original Cup had a single band at the bottom on which champions inscribed their team name and the year of their win, and new bands could be added as needed. As the tradition grew to include individual player names and new bands on a near-yearly basis, the Cup became unwieldy.
It was redesigned in 1948, and then again in 1957 with larger bands that could fit the names of 13 winning teams. The topmost band is retired whenever a new band is added to the bottom to keep it from growing larger.
Stanley’s original Cup was also retired from the trophy in 1962 for preservation and replaced with a replica. The Cup awarded today is that same authenticated replica, and each year the winning team engraves the names of each player, coach, and front-office employee in the allotted space on the trophy.
Skating around the rink with the Cup hoisted high and drinking champagne from the Cup after the winning game have become regular traditions. The winners are given physical possession of the Cup for several months, during which players and team members may spend a day with the Cup in the presence of at least one Hockey Hall of Fame representative. Among other things (some more sanctioned than others), the Cup has been taken swimming and fishing, used in baptisms and christenings, and drunk from across Canada, the United States, and Europe.
Learn more about the Stanley Cup through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.
Articles and Clippings about the Stanley Cup
Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley, Governor General of Canada Wed, Jan 11, 1893 – 4 · The Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario, Canada) · Newspapers.comRules and conditions of the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, aka the Stanley Hockey Championship Cup Mon, May 1, 1893 – 8 · The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec, Quebec, Canada) · Newspapers.comConditions of the original Stanley Cup and 1894 championship discussed in early years of award Sat, Feb 17, 1894 – 8 · The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec, Quebec, Canada) · Newspapers.com1st U.S. hockey team (Portland Rosebuds) to compete for Stanley Cup plays vs. NHA winners in 1916 Wed, Feb 23, 1916 – 8 · The Ottawa Citizen (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) · Newspapers.comPacific Coast League champions challenge NHA winners for Stanley Cup as first US team to play, 1916 Thu, Mar 2, 1916 – Page 4 · The Ottawa Journal (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) · Newspapers.comSeattle Metropolitans beat Canadiens for Stanley Cup, becoming first US Stanley Cup Champions Tue, Mar 27, 1917 – 8 · The Ottawa Citizen (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) · Newspapers.comToronto Maple Leafs champions of the 1947-1948 hockey season, win Stanley Cup Thu, Apr 15, 1948 – 14 · The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec, Quebec, Canada) · Newspapers.comCanadiens hockey team players pour champagne into Stanley Cup following 2-1 victory in 1969 finals Mon, May 5, 1969 – Page 15 · The Ottawa Journal (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) · Newspapers.comWayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers hoists the Stanley Cup following victory in the 1987 playoffs Wed, Aug 10, 1988 – 27 · The Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, New Jersey) · Newspapers.comExcerpt from article mentions Clark Gillies of the Islanders fed his dog from the Stanley Cup Sun, Apr 18, 1993 – 63 · The Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) · Newspapers.comArticle about Stanley Cup rumors, stories, and history trivia Wed, Jun 2, 1993 – Page 155 · Hartford Courant (Hartford, Connecticut) · Newspapers.comPatrick Roy of Montreal Canadiens hoists the Stanley Cup following the team's 24th championship win Thu, Jun 10, 1993 – 63 · Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois) · Newspapers.comSyl Apps of the Toronto Maple Leafs holds the 1947 Stanley Cup as it looked before redesign Sat, Mar 28, 1998 – 21 · The Windsor Star (Windsor, Ontario, Canada) · Newspapers.comThe Hockey Hall of Fame, ice hockey museum established in 1943 and located in Toronto, Canada. Sun, Aug 18, 2002 – 92 · The Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) · Newspapers.comPhoto of the original Stanley Cup as seen in the Hockey Hall of Fame beside a photo of Lord Stanley Sun, Aug 18, 2002 – 92 · The Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) · Newspapers.comBrad Richards of Tampa Bay Lightning takes the Stanley Cup on his fishing boat following 2004 win Tue, Aug 3, 2004 – 23 · The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida) · Newspapers.comArticle comments on baptisms and christenings in Stanley Cup, along with other "uses and abuses" Sat, Jul 26, 2008 – 38 · The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec, Quebec, Canada) · Newspapers.com