In 1892, Canada’s Governor General Lord Stanley donated the trophy that now bears his name to be awarded to the country’s top ice hockey team. Today, it’s the coveted prize for NHL champions…who tend to misplace the thing, even though it’s gigantic and famous.
Into the canal
The Ottawa Hockey Club or “Silver Seven” won of the first iterations of the Stanley Cup in 1905. One of the less illustrious Silver Seven thought it would be a good idea to try and kick the cup over the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, Ontario. They didn’t make it, and it landed in the canal. But since it was winter in Ontario, the canal was frozen, so the team walked out onto the ice the next day and retrieved it.
In 1907, the Montreal Wanderers hired a photographer to take a team picture with the Cup—as both winning the Stanley Cup and getting a picture taken were both pretty big deals 100 years ago. Somehow, the team left the trophy behind at the photographer’s house…where his mother used it as a flowerpot for a few months until the team finally retrieved it.
The Montreal Canadiens were on their way to a victory party in 1924 when one of the cars transporting team members got a flat tire. To get to the jack and spare tire in the trunk, one of the guys had to take the Stanley Cup out of the trunk…and then left it sitting roadside on a snowbank. (It was still there when they realized it was gone…a few hours later.)
Was it stolen?
Hall of Famer Guy Lafleur was part of the Stanley Cup-winning Montreal Canadiens (again) in 1979. After a parade honoring the team, Lafleur wound up with the cup and put it in the trunk of his car before driving to visit his parents. There, he put the Cup on their front lawn so friends and relatives could take pictures of it and with it. Meanwhile, official representatives of the NHL charged with looking after the Cup (what with all of the previous mishaps) had no idea where it was for the better part of the day and presumed it stolen…until Lafleur returned it, not knowing he’d technically stolen a priceless sports artifact.