Victor’s Insider Scoop About Touching The Holy Grail
August 29th, 2012 | top of page

I’m not big on standing in lines. For anything. At Disneyland, an early start or a SpeedPass is mandatory for me. Line up to eat at a restaurant or drink in a bar?—isn’t going to happen no matter how good the food is or whether the single malt is free. But today, I stood in line, outside in Scottsdale in 106℉ heat for over two hours! What could make me do the unconscionable you ask? How about a 35.25 inch, 34.5 pound silver and nickel alloy trophy: the Holy Grail aka The Stanley Cup the most celebrated prize in professional sports!

Today the Cup was at the Altel Ice Den in Scottsdale (where my son plays goalie on the Bantam AA Jr. Coyotes) in the care of Denver Wilson, trainer for the 2012 Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings  so I just had to go.

The Stanley Cup has been around since 1893, a gift of then Governor General of Canada Lord Stanley of Preston for the champion hockey team in the Dominion of Canada.

The Cup is unusual in professional sports in that it is not made anew each year like those of baseball, football, or basketball. The winners keep the Cup until a new champion is crowned the following year. Additionally, it is engraved with the names of the winning players, coaches, management, and staff on its chalice.

The Cup has a few traditions associated with it. One of the oldest requires the champions to drink champagne from the top bowl after their victory. Another is the on-ice presentation of the Cup to the captain of the winning team after the series-winning victory, and the subsequent carrying of the trophy around the rink by each member of the victorious club. Another tradition (or rather superstition) that is prevalent among today’s NHL players is that no player should touch the Cup itself until his team has rightfully won the Cup. Not being in the NHL I had no qualms about touching the Cup myself. But I did instruct my son not to touch it just in case …

Since I grew up in Montreal watching The Habs on Hockey Night in Canada with Danny Gallivan and Dick Irvin here are a few fun facts about the Cup:

The winningest team is, of course, Montreal with their name on the Cup 24 times. The next closest teams are the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs both tied with a paltry 11 wins each.






The player with his name engraved the most times is Montreal’s Henri (The Pocket Rocket) Richard who won the Cup 11 times (amazingly, the same number as both the Toronto and Detroit teams!).






The person whose name is engraved on the Cup the most times is Montreal’s Jean (Le Gros Bill) Beliveau who won it 10 times as a player and 7 times in management for a total of 17 times!






It’s hard to imagine these records ever being toppled.

Me with The Stanley Cup!


Elliot with (but NOT touching!) The Cup

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9 Comments on “Victor’s Insider Scoop About Touching The Holy Grail”

  • Chuck Tratman August 30th, 2012 11:43 am

    How cool is that! Even you photo with the cup on the same page with “The Rocket” gives you celebrity cred.

    I enjoyed the fun facts on the cup.

  • jagg carr-locke August 31st, 2012 2:06 pm

    fantastic, victor! as a fellow canadian, you know i TOTALLY get it! dodgy jersey you’ve got on but i get that too :)
    HOWEVER .. er .. sorry to say this but you already know … the most celebrated prize in professional sports is in fact football’s World Cup. now THAT’S the one *I* want to stand beside, preferably on the pitch with the winners after the final. um … not gonna happen, methinks!
    what a great photo. i’ll send it to our friend in china. he’ll be totally envious.

  • George Venini August 31st, 2012 2:28 pm

    You’re right along there with the all-stars Victor – how to go! 106 degree heat!!! It’s no wonder you headed for the Ice Den!!

  • Sharon Magee August 31st, 2012 2:42 pm

    Hi Victor – Great to see you with THE cup! I’m sure you’ll always remember this date (it’s also Jean Beliveau’s 81st birthday). Don’t let Elliot touch it, just maybe he’ll have a chance to carry it around an arena someday!

  • Stephen Weber August 31st, 2012 2:53 pm

    Great picture and story Victor. I’ve been a Vancouver fan for the last 35 years since living on the Island and I hope one day to stand beside this most coveted of trophies (at least in Canada). I remember going to Johnny B and shaking Maurice ‘the rocket’ Richards hand at a hockey banquet when he was still playing for the Habs. Ah the memories of that great dynasty and our fathers watching the game on Saturday nights. Thanks for the post it brought it all back. Hope you and the family are well.

  • Wendy Pitha August 31st, 2012 4:39 pm

    Wow, I live in really rarified air…. I’m gonna touch you when I come home… You Canadians are really… um… don’t quite know how to say it… xoxo

  • Gerry Cline August 31st, 2012 7:29 pm


    Great blog, thanks for the historical summary. As an analytical guy, I have to wonder, how much space is left for engravings? Do they add more “decks” or layers to the trophy as time marches on? Has anybody ever broken the thing? How often does it get polished?

    You look pretty cool in the photo.


  • Mark Fields September 3rd, 2012 9:57 am

    That’s a Canadian dream!! Well worth the wait without question!
    Another very neat tradition is tied to the reason yopu got to touch it. Each player and various other team employees get one day with the Cup to take it to their home town or wherever is important to them. Great way to take the Cup around Canada and the world!

  • C.M. of Ottawa Canada September 17th, 2012 12:03 pm

    Fancy having a life without waiting in line ups! Then fancy waiting in a long line all to make some memories for your son! He’ll not soon forget such a dedicated gift; and the fact that it takes into consideration the values and countries of both your past and prestent–well that just makes it that much better. The photos and history were a nice touch. What a lovely parenting moment, Victor.

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