Did you know that the Stanley Cup has a bodyguard? That’s right. The oldest trophy in North American sports travels with its own muscle because it, uh… needs to.
The Cup was first awarded back in 1892 by Lord Stanley of Preston, current Governor General of Canada, to the winners of an amateur hockey league. Today every player of the winning NHL team gets one day to personally celebrate with Lord Stanley’s Mug. So basically this thing has been to more parties than LMFAO. Filling it with champagne is usually just the icebreaker. This thing has been taken to strip clubs, tossed into swimming pools, fed a Kentucky Derby winner and even accidentally set on fire.
My favorite story comes from 1962, during a playoff game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Edmonton Oilers. A proud Canuck named Kenneth Kilander was apparently so upset that this team of Americans might hang onto The Cup of Cups for another season that he took matters into his own hands. He went to the lobby of Chicago Stadium where the cup was on display, smashed the glass and stole it.
When he was stopped by a cop outside, he said something like “I’m taking the cup back where it belongs. To Montreal!”
Growing up in Chicago, I’ve seen passionate sports fandom manifest itself in a lot of different ways: cursing, binge drinking, threats of violence. But grand larceny? That’s new to me. Bravo, Mr. Kilander, bravo. Slow clap.
Now beat it back to Montreal.