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Canadian History for Kids: The Stanley Cup

May 15, 1893 – Hockey – First Stanley Cup presented to the Montreal Hockey Club (MHC) of the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada.

This Canadian History for Kids exclusive, looks at the Stanley Cup.

Although the Montreal Hockey Club won the championship on March 17, 1893, it wasn’t officially until the cup was handed to them on May 15th, 1893.

Lord Stanley of Preston, Governor General of Canada, announced on March 18th, 1892 that he would donate a challenge cup which should be held from year to year by the champion hockey team in the Dominion (of Canada).

Lord Stanley of Preston was appointed by Queen Victoria as Governor General of Canada on June 11, 1888 and he and his family became highly passionate about the game of hockey. Stanley was first exposed to the game at Montreal’s 1889 Winter Carnival, where he saw the Montreal Victorias play the Montreal Hockey Club. The Montreal Gazette reported that he “expressed his great delight with the game of hockey and the expertise of the players”.

Stanley’s entire family became active in ice hockey. Two of his sons, Arthur and Algernon, formed a new team called the Ottawa Rideau Hall Rebels. Arthur also played a key role in the creation of what later became known as the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA), and would go on to be the founder of ice hockey in Great Britain. Arthur and Algernon persuaded their father to donate a trophy to be “an outward and visible sign of the hockey championship”.

Stanley purchased a decorative punch bowl, made in Sheffield, England, for ten guineas, equal to $48.67. He had the words “Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup” engraved on one side of the outside rim, and “From Stanley of Preston” on the other side.

Stanley never saw a Stanley Cup championship game, nor did he ever present the Cup. Although his term as governor general ended in September 1893, he was forced to return to England on July 15.

For this Canadian History for Kids article, we’ll look at more details about the Stanley cup itself. The first Cup was awarded in 1893 to Montreal HC. In 1915, the two professional ice hockey organizations, the National Hockey Association (NHA) and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA), reached a gentlemen’s agreement in which their own champions would face each other for the Stanley Cup. After a series of league mergers and folds, the Stanley “Presentation Cup” was established as the actual championship trophy of the NHL in 1926.

Unlike the trophies awarded by the other professional sports leagues of North America, a new Stanley Cup is not made each year; winners keep it until a new champion is crowned. The names of all of the winning players, coaches, management, and club staff are engraved on its chalice. It has also been referred to as The Cup, Lord Stanley’s Cup, The Holy Grail, or Lord Stanley’s Mug. The Stanley Cup is surrounded by numerous legends and traditions, the oldest of which is the triumphant team drinking champagne out of the cup by the winning team.

And that’s this week’s Canadian History for Kids, exclusive!

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