The Stanley Cup is usually reserved for the winners of 16 playoff games, but students at Durham College won the opportunity to pose with the most prestigious trophy in sports recently.
The real Stanley Cup, and its keeper, Phil Pritchard, appeared at the Oshawa campus in the Pit and the Whitby campus in the Student Lounge on Jan. 8.
Dozens of students and faculty lined up an hour before the Cup’s arrival for their chance to get their picture taken with hockey’s holy grail, as well as talk to Pritchard.
The visit was in honour of the 50th anniversary of Ontario colleges and for Pritchard the connection to Durham is personal.
He’s a Durham alumnus, a graduate of the Sports Administration program in 1985. In 2016 he received a Durham College Alumni of Distinction Award.
His internship at Durham also helped him hold the title he does today, he said.
“My internship from Durham was the Ontario Hockey League and from there they got me into the Hockey Hall of Fame, so it was a direct link between Durham and what I do now,” Pritchard said.
He started his job at the Hall in 1988 and has been out on the road with the Cup since his fifth day on the job.
He’s also the curator of the Hall of Fame in Toronto, so on top of taking care of the Cup, he’s also in charge of managing the displays and artifacts at the museum.
He says the Cup is on the road about 325 days a year and while there are a group of keepers, Pritchard still travels with it a lot.
“But I mean you know what, I mean travelling with the world’s greatest trophy, it’s hard to beat.”
Pritchard wasn’t the only one who was excited to talk about the Cup, though. Students were lined up with their jerseys of their favourite teams on, ranging from the Maple Leafs to the Penguins to the Senators.
James Myers, a web specialist in the Communications and Marketing Department, says he isn’t much of a sports fan but “it’s the closest I’m ever going to get to the Cup, so why not?”
Michael Radway, a student in the Fire Life Safety System Technician (FLST) program and a Leafs’ fan, didn’t know about the Cup’s appearance until he came into school in the morning.
“I walked in with a friend to go study for an exam and I was like ‘holy s**t that’s the Stanley Cup.’ So it was an exciting experience.”