Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals 2004: 33
The Stanley Cup Journal

Who was this Stanley guy and why is hockey's most prestigious trophy named after him?

Frederick Arthur Stanley was born in London, England on January 15, 1841, the younger son of three-time Prime Minister of England, Edward George Geoffrey Stanley, the Fourteenth Earl of Derby. Educated at Eton and later at military college, Frederick Stanley received his commission in the Grenadier Guards, but opted for a political career shortly afterwards. He was elected as a Conservative Member of Parliament for Preston, and later represented North Lancashire and Blackpool in the House of Commons. Lord Stanley was a Member of the British Parliament between 1865 and 1886, including a term as Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1885 and 1886. From 1886 to 1888, Stanley was president of the Board of Trade.

On June 11, 1888, Lord Stanley succeeded the Marquis of Lansdowne as the sixth Governor-General of Canada, appointed by England's reigning monarch, Queen Victoria. Stanley's full title was the Right Honourable Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley, Earl of Derby, Baron Stanley of Preston, in the County of Lancaster, in the peerage of Great Britain, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath. Although Lord Stanley lived in the official residence of the Governor-General, Rideau Hall, upon his move to Ottawa, he built a large summer home called Stanley House in order to indulge his love of fishing. It was located on the Baie des Chaleurs near the mouth of the Grand Cascapedia River on the Gaspe Peninsula. Today, Stanley House is a charming bed and breakfast destination.

Lord Stanley's term in office as Governor-General was uneventful, with the exception of his incomparable legacy to hockey. While in Canada, Stanley's children discovered exciting new winter pursuits, including snowshoeing, tobogganing, skating and playing hockey. His sons Algernon and Arthur formed a competitive hockey club called the Rideau Rebels, while his daughter Isobel was one of the first female hockey players in Canada. On March 18, 1892, the Governor-General asked Lord Kilcoursie, a vice-regal aide who played on the Rideau Rebels with Stanley's sons, to read a letter on his behalf to the Ottawa Athletic Association.

'I have for some time been thinking that it would be a good thing if there were a challenge cup, which would be held from year to year by the leading hockey club in the Dominion. Considering the general interest which hockey matches now elicit, and the importance of having the game played fairly and under rules generally recognized, I am willing to give a cup which shall be held from year to year by the winning club.'

A close-up of the original Stanley Cup. Note the faint etchings on the original bowl. Apparently, some players that had won the trophy before the tradition of inscribing entire rosters on the bowl, took it upon themselves to etch in their own name.
Lord Stanley's offer was enthusiastically accepted, and he subsequently requested one of his aides, Captain Colville, to purchase an appropriate trophy. Known originally as the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, the trophy was purchased for ten guineas ($48.67 at the time) and quickly became known as the Stanley Cup. The silver bowl was created in Sheffield, England but purchased in London, England and stood 7.28 inches tall and 11.42 inches in diameter. Today, this original Stanley Cup is kept on permanent display at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Lord Stanley insisted that the Cup remain a challenge trophy, presented for the amateur championship of Canada, and never become the property of any one team. The first Stanley Cup winner was the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association in 1893. In 1910, after having being awarded to both amateur and professional teams, the Stanley Cup was awarded exclusively to professional teams. From the National Hockey League's formation in 1917 until 1926, the magnificent trophy was awarded to the winner of a playoff between the NHL and the Pacific Coast Hockey League. When the PCHL dissolved in 1927, the Stanley Cup was presented exclusively to NHL playoff champions.

Lord Stanley never witnessed either a championship hockey contest or his namesake trophy presented to a championship team. Stanley's term as Governor-General was scheduled to end in September 1893, however, in April of that year (midway through the hockey season), Stanley's brother, the Fifteenth Earl of Derby, died. Lord Stanley resigned the Governor-Generalship and returned home to England on July 15, 1893 to become the Sixteenth Earl of Derby. In 1893, he was appointed president of University College and when the University of Liverpool was established in 1903, Lord Stanley became the university's first Chancellor. Between 1895 and 1896, Lord Stanley served as the First Lord Mayor of Greater Liverpool and also later served as Mayor of Preston. Lord Stanley died at Knowsley, in Lancashire, on June 14, 1908.

Lord Stanley of Preston had no comprehension of the immense impact his gift would have. In 1945, the donation of the Stanley Cup earned its benefactor entrance to the Hockey Hall of Fame, as a builder of the sport -- one of the fourteen men inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame that initial year.

2,272 names of individuals are engraved on the Stanley Cup. Some players, like Henri Richard, are engraved multiple times -- eleven in the case of the 'Pocket Rocket.' These men and women, all immortalized by the strike of a punch on the silver veneer of hockey's most revered prize, are almost all hockey-oriented, but are not all necessarily players.

The 1906-07 Stanley Cup Champion Montreal Wanderers engraved within the inner bowl.
Through the Stanley Cup's long history, there have been just four official engravers. In 1948, the National Hockey League, which at the time was based in Montreal, selected Carl Petersen as the official engraver of the Stanley Cup. Petersen, a Danish silversmith, had relocated to Montreal in 1929 and opened a shop called C.P. Petersen and Sons. Carl's son Arno was the second engraver of the trophy. C.P. Petersen and Sons closed their business in 1979, and Boffey Silversmiths was chosen to continue engraving the Stanley Cup. Doug Boffey, the owner, engraved the Cup himself for a number of years, but beginning in 1988, that honour and responsibility have been entrusted to Louise St. Jacques, who has worked for Boffey Silversmiths since 1978.

The first team to have the names of each member of its roster engraved on the Stanley Cup was the 1907 champion Montreal Wanderers, although the tradition didn't become an annual rite until 1924 when the Montreal Canadiens captured the Cup. But there are some true oddities - the first (and only) non-human name engraved on the Stanley Cup is 'Bow Wow,' who may have been the mascot of the Stanley Cup champion Quebec Bulldogs of both 1912 and 1913, or may just have been a tribute to a player's favourite pet. According to legend, the first woman to have her name appear on the Stanley Cup was Lily Murphy. Although far from official, Lily Murphy's name was scratched into the patina of Lord Stanley's bowl. Her connection to hockey is dubious -- her husband, Dennis Murphy, whose name is also on the trophy, was president of the Bank of Ottawa when the original Ottawa Senators won the Stanley Cup in 1911. Murphy was a colleague of M.J. O'Brien, who donated a trophy for the champion of the National Hockey Association, a predecessor of the NHL. The NHA existed until 1917 when the National Hockey League was born. O'Brien's son Ambrose was founder of the pioneering league.

The first woman to have her name officially engraved on the Stanley Cup was Marguerite Norris, the president of the Detroit Red Wings when they won hockey's most prestigious trophy in 1955.

The misspelled 1980-81 New York Islanders engraving
To earn the status of getting your name engraved on the Stanley Cup, players must play at least 40 games through the regular season or one in the Cup final. Although not an official ruling, this standard helps dictate those who are considered part of the championship team. This ruling has allowed players like Aut Erickson and Milan Marcetta to get their names on the Stanley Cup. Neither played a single regular season game for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1967, but both played in the Cup final and as a result, earned the honour. Teams can get dispensation to include players it deems worthy to add. In 1972, the Boston Bruins included Ted Green on their list of engraved names. Green was injured in a violent pre-season game that season and missed the entire campaign, but was an integral part of the Bruins' franchise nevertheless.

If a fine leather can be evaluated by its individual flaws, then so too can the Stanley Cup. Each team name, each individual, is carefully measured and, taking hammer to punch, individually tapped into the Stanley Cup. But adding to the allure and curiosity of the Cup are the errors that have been made through the years. The 1962 Cup-winning team is represented as the Toronto Maple LEAES. In 1972, the Boston Bruins were misspelled as coming from BQSTQN. The New York Islanders became the ILANDERS in 1981. Individual names have been incorrectly engraved through the decades too. Pete Palangio of the 1938 Chicago Black Hawks is engraved twice; once correctly and once as PALAGIO. Turk Broda also had his name engraved twice in 1942; once as WALTER Broda (his given name) and once as TURK Broda, his nickname. In 1947, Maple Leaf Gaye Stewart was spelled GAVE, while Ted Kennedy became KENNEDYY in 1951. In 1952, when the Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup, Coach Tommy Ivan was shocked to see his name spelled NIVAN, while Alex Delvecchio was engraved as BELVECCHIO. During the Montreal Canadiens' dynasty of five consecutive Cup wins between 1956 and 1960, poor Jacques Plante had his name spelled five different ways. Bob Gainey of Montreal was Bob GAINY in 1975. In 1984, Edmonton Oilers' owner Peter Pocklington included his father's name on the list for the engraver. But Basil Pocklington had no affiliation with the team, so the NHL insisted on the name's removal. Sixteen 'Xs' now cover the name of Pocklington's Dad.

The 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers engraving with the X'd out Basil Pocklington.
Once the Stanley Cup has concluded its tour of duty with each of the Tampa Bay Lightning's warriors, it will return to the office studio of Louise St. Jacques in September. There, using a small hammer and stamp for each of the individual names and numbers that will be added to the bottom ring of the Stanley Cup, the 2003-2004 champions will have their names engraved to be honoured in perpetuity. Each name takes approximately thirty minutes to inscribe. After a good polish, the Stanley Cup will be ready to return to Tampa Bay, hopeful for the start of the 2004-2005 hockey season.

One of those who will, for the first time, see his name engraved forever in the sterling silver patina of the incredible Stanley Cup will be Ben Clymer, and you'll read about Ben's day with the Cup on Wednesday, here in the Stanley Cup Journal.

Kevin Shea is the Manager of Special Projects and Publishing at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Spirit Of Hockey, shop online now!
Find out about renting the facilities at the Hockey Hall of Fame
Donate your hockey artifacts to the Hockey Hall of Fame