The Stanley Cup (French: La Coupe Stanley) is an ice hockey club trophy, currently scheduled to be awarded annually to the National Hockey League (NHL) playoffs champion after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Finals. It has been referred to as The Cup, Lord Stanley's Cup, The Holy Grail, or facetiously (chiefly by sportswriters) as Lord Stanley's Mug. The Stanley Cup is surrounded by numerous legends and traditions, the oldest of which is the celebratory drinking of champagne out of the cup by the winning team. Unlike the trophies awarded by the other three major professional sports leagues of North America, a new Stanley Cup is not made each year; winners keep it until a new champion is crowned. It is unusual among trophies, in that it has the names of all of the winning players, coaches, management, and club staff engraved on its chalice. The original bowl was made of silver and is 18.5 centimetres (7.28 inches) in height and 29 centimetres (11.42 inches) in diameter. The current Stanley Cup, topped with a copy of the original bowl, is made of a silver and nickel alloy; it has a height of 89.54 centimetres (35.25 inches) and weighs 15.5 kilograms (34.5 lb / 2 st 6½ lb).
Originally inscribed the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, the trophy was donated in 1892 by then-Governor General of Canada, the Lord Stanley of Preston, as an award for Canada's top-ranking amateur ice hockey club. It was given for the first time 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 respective champions would face each other for the Stanley Cup. After a series of league mergers and folds, the Cup became the de facto championship trophy of the NHL in 1926 and then the de jure NHL championship prize in 1947. Since then, the league has maintained effective control over both the trophy itself and its associated trademarks. Nevertheless, the NHL does not actually own the trophy, but instead uses it by agreement with the Cup's two trustees. The NHL has registered trademarks associated with the name and likeness of the Stanley Cup, although the league's right to outright own trademarks associated with a trophy it does not own has been disputed by some legal experts.
Since the 1914–15 season, the Cup has been won a combined 94 times by 18 active NHL teams and five defunct teams. Prior to that, the challenge cup was held by nine different teams. The Montreal Canadiens have won the Cup a record 24 times and are currently the last Canadian-based team in the NHL to win the cup after winning it in 1993. The Stanley Cup was not awarded in 1919 because of a Spanish flu epidemic, and in 2005, as a consequence of the NHL lockout.
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“Turning the other cheek is a kind of moral jiu-jitsu.”
—Gerald Stanley Lee (18621944)
“I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man: wine is not so noble a liquor; and think of dashing the hopes of a morning with a cup of warm coffee, or of an evening with a dish of tea! Ah, how low I fall when I am tempted by them! Even music may be intoxicating. Such apparently slight causes destroyed Greece and Rome, and will destroy England and America.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)