The 2018 Stanley Cup Final is already historic.
The Vegas Golden Knights made it despite the fact that this is their first year in existence and oddsmakers predicted them to be one of the worst teams in the NHL. And Alex Ovechkin finally gets to elevate his status as one of history’s greatest hockey players on his first trip to the championship.
But those are the storylines you already know. There are plenty of others that may be hidden to you.
We’ve assembled a collection of some of the most interesting and outrageous facts about the Stanley Cup in existence. And when we say “Stanley Cup,” we mean not just the matchup but also the trophy itself.
So take a gander at this list of Stanley Cup facts, and impress whoever you watch the Finals with.
Just the Facts
As crazy as some of these statements may sound, they’re all true. The Stanley Cup comes complete with its own myth.
1. The Stanley Cup is an International Traveler.
It’s one of the few trophies that could actually use a passport.
Because of the number of players from different countries who play in the NHL and the appear of the sport, the Stanley Cup has traveled to countries as different as Russia, Japan, and Germany. It has also visited various tourist sites in the United States like Yosemite and bars in both Canada and the U.S.
2. Each Winning Player Gets a Turn with the Trophy
One of the reasons the Cup has traveled to such far flung countries is that each player on the winning team gets 24 hours with the prize.
And don’t worry, everyone is sure to get a turn. The team itself gets to hold onto the Cup for a year, so every single person involved with the win is guaranteed their time, even if the Cup needs to spend days in transit over the course of the year.
3. The Stanley Cup is Named After a Government Official
Lord Stanley of Preston was the Governor Central of Canada in 1892. Stanley and his family fell in love with hockey after watching it at Montreal’s Winter Carnival in 1889, and it’s no unsolved mystery that he is the Cup’s namesake.
Stanley purchased that first decorative cup for the equivalent of around $50 at the time. He presented the award to Canada’s top amateur hockey club, the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association, in 1893.
4. There are Actually Three Stanley Cups
None of them are imposters!
Lord Stanley’s original cup is called the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup. It was used until 1970. Now, it is on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
The Presentation Cup took the place of the original, and the third cup is a replica of the Presentation Cup that is used at the Hall of Fame when the former isn’t available.
5. There are More Names on the Cup than Years in the Common Era
There were already over 2,000 names on the Stanley Cup five years ago. All a person needs to do to have their name engraved on the trophy is play at least 41 games with the winning team. They can also qualify by playing just one game of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Other persons involved with the team may also have their names added, and teams can petition the league to add other names to the trophy. However, no more than 52 names are allowed per team.
Some people have tried to circumvent the rules, but there are penalties. Former Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington included his dad on the list of names the year his team won, but when the league found out, it had an engraver stamp “X”s over the name.
6. The Cup is Littered with Typos
For a trophy with so much text on it, the NHL doesn’t employ much of a spell checking team when engraving the Cup. Some of the most famous typos include the “Bqstqn Bruins” winning the 1971-1972 championship and the New York “Ilanders,” who won the 1980-1981 season.
7. Its Rings are Detachable
If the Cup included the names of winning team members since the beginning of its history, it would be a regular Tower of Babel.
To avoid this endless adding, the league detaches the oldest ring of the Cup and places it in the Hall of Fame. A new ring gets added to the bottom, and the cycle of hockey championship life begins again.
8. The Bowl will Get you Tanked
The Stanley Cup is famous for players drinking out of it, pretty much from the moment they win.
There’s a reason the trophy is famous for making its way to bars all over the world. Chief among them, it holds a lot of booze!
At the top of the trophy, the bowl measures seven and a half inches tall and 11 and one quarter inches in diameter, which makes for a circumference of 35 inches.
So how much beer can it hold? Try a 12-pack, then add two more beers. Don’t try to drink a Cup’s worth at home.
9. It has Security Guards
The Stanley Cup is one of the most sought after and eye-catching trophies in sports. The Hockey Hall of Fame knows this, which is why the Cup travels with Kevin Costners to its Whitney Houston.
And the Cup doesn’t just have one bodyguard. There are often several people in charge of keeping the Cup safe. This is why their nickname is “Keepers of the Cup.”
10. It’s a One-of-a-kind
Okay, we know this seems to run contrary to the fact that there are three of them. But here’s what we mean. In every other major sport, the championship trophy is reproduced every year.
But in the NHL they seem to value tradition above all. That’s why the Cup is passed from team to team every year, retaining all of the names printed on the outside from years past.
11. There’s a lot of Superstition around It
The biggest superstition players have is they won’t touch the cup until they win it. Not that they have much of a chance, thanks to the Keepers.
Along with this “no touching” tradition, a ritual began in 1950 when Detroit Red Wings captain Ted Lindsay skated around the rink holding the Cup over his head after his team won. Winning players now do this every year.
If you’re superstitious yourself when it comes to your gambling habits, you should make your prediction for the Final and then check it out with experts.
12. It Hosts Baptisms
There are two babies who have been baptized in the Stanley Cup, and they are both fairly recent in the Cup’s history.
The first baptism occurred after the 1995-1996 championship. The Colorado Avalanche won that year, and one of the team’s defensemen, Sylvain Lefebvre, used his day with the Cup to baptize his daughter.
The second was after the 2007-2008 championship. The baptism took place in Sweden. Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom brought the trophy to his home country so his cousin could baptize his daughter in it.
13. There Were Two Years when the Cup Went to No One
It’s not that the league was stingy. These were the two years without a Stanley Cup winner. This happened for very different reasons.
In 1919, the Final came to a halt because of the Flu Pandemic of 1918. The series was tied at two games each between the Montreal Canadiens and the Seattle Metropolitans, and the world never got to see either team take the trophy.
In 2005, the reason was much simpler. It was the year of the NHL lockout.
14. It’s Heavy
The Cup itself weighs 34 and a half pounds. It’s much heavier with beer.
15. This Year, the City of Las Vegas is protesting its opponents by changing the English Language
The Washington Capitals have promoted their postseason campaign with the hashtag #ALLCAPS. Of course, Vegas responded with #nocaps.
The latter city is serious about banning capital letters in solidarity. The city changed its welcome sign and many businesses followed suit with all-lowercase signs.
Stanley Cup Facts Don’t End Here
This year is bound to be one of the most exciting Stanley Cup Finals ever. Now that you’ve brushed up on your history and trivia, you can impress even the most die-hard hockey fans with your knowledge of Stanley Cup facts.
Hockey is an adrenaline-spiking sport, so before you watch, amp yourself up with some motivation and enjoy the rush.