A day with the Stanley cup champs

Photography by Conner McTague

From serving as a failed buoy in Mario Lemieux’s pool to the soap dish in Steve Yzerman’s shower, the Stanley Cup has been on numerous adventures, both charitable and downright interesting, since it was first awarded to the NHL playoff champions in 1893.

One of those stops is Durham College as it appeared with its keeper and DC alum Phil Pritchard on Jan. 8 in the Pit to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ontario Colleges.

It also appeared at the Whitby Campus in the student lounge.

All members of the organization who win the Stanley Cup are given their own personal day with Lord Stanley during the summer and they’re free to spend it how they want, and with so little time with the cup, everybody wants to make the most of it.

When the Chicago Blackhawks won it all in 2010, forward Patrick Kane took the cup to the U.S. side of Niagara Falls, as he’s a native of Buffalo, N.Y. and raised the cup over his head under the falls.

Later in the day, he and the cup ended up stranded in the bucket of a fire truck ladder after the motor stopped working, according to NHL.com

When the Ottawa Silver Seven won it in 1905, forward Harry Smith famously punted the trophy into the Rideau Canal on a dare and forgot to retrieve it after.

He had to come back the next day and get the cup.

The cup isn’t only a domestic hit, it’s also had its fair share of experiences around the world.

“We’ve been to 25 countries, but never below the equator so far,” said Pritchard.

Lord Stanley has been to “sauna parties in Finland, rock climbing in North America, we’ve been on the Asia/European border and brought it to Afghanistan for the troops,” added Pritchard.

While it seems like all fun and games when people have their days with the cup, there are many players/coaches/front office personnel who take it as an opportunity to give back to the community.

Pritchard said one of the days with the cup which stands out most to him is Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel’s day in 2016.

Kessel has been critical during the Penguins back-to-back cup victories, recording 45 points in 49 playoff games.

He also is second in league scoring this season, with 63 points in 54 games.

He took the cup to Sick Kids hospital in Toronto, allowing kids facing life-threatening illness to witness a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Kessel is a cancer survivor himself, as he battled testicular cancer while with the Boston Bruins in 2006.

“When Phil was in Toronto, he used to visit Sick Kids all the time and he told them if he ever won the cup, he’d spend it with them, and he did,” Pritchard said.

He added while Kessel never thought he’d be with a different team, he still fulfilled his promise and brought the cup to Sick Kids.

“It was so special because he spent so much time with each kid individually,” he said.

“That’s what it’s about, and Phil, he gets it.”