Who's Tops in
Hockey and Who's Not
The National Hockey League needs to do more to encourage better coverage
of the hockey games. With so many other sports realizing national
coverage, the NHL is sometimes forgotten. However, this year, there's a
race for the Stanley Cup, and only one is set to win it. But which team
will that be?
Right now, bookmakers are showing that, while the Philadelphia Flyers
were on top only days ago, the odds are now swinging back and forth with
the Flyers and other potential contenders such as the Ottawa Senators,
as the teams to watch in the sprint for the Stanley Cup this year. Of
course, all of the NHL information and stats change daily, but the odds
are the best current indicator of which team is certainly a contender
for the Stanley Cup of 2006.
However, the race
for the 2006 Cup didn't simply begin with the end of the 2005
playing season and the winning of the Stanley Cup for the year. It
began over 100 years ago in 1892, at a dinner of the Ottawa Amateur
Athletic Association. A speech was delivered that indicated that a
challenge cup would be a good idea and that this contest should be
held from year to year for the teams in the Dominion of Canada. At
the time, that was a grand total of three major teams. You might be
accurate in an assumption that the National Hockey League has seen
tremendous growth since then.
Lord Stanley purchased a silver cup which by today’s standards would
only have a value of only about $50 and appointed Sheriff John Sweetland
and Philip D. Ross as trustees of the cup. This Stanley Cup is the same
cup that the two men were trustees over all of those years ago.
The winners of each year's Stanley Cup are tasked to hold the Cup and to
return it in good condition to the trustees at year's end so that it may
be given to the winner of the next Cup. The Cup is never to become the
exclusive property of a single team regardless of how many times that
team may win the trophy but each year the winning team's club name and
the year are engraved on the silver ring fitted on the Cup.
That very first
year, the Stanley Cup was taken by the Montreal Amateur Athletic
Association (AAA) hockey club as the winners for 1894.
Unfortunately, Lord Stanley was never to witness a championship game
or even the presentation of the trophy he had purchased because he
returned to England, his homeland, in mid-1893.
The popularity of hockey grew so quickly that in 1895 almost every town
in Canada had a team which thrived on hockey. No longer were Ontario,
Quebec and Winnipeg the only teams that were ready to take the Stanley
Cup. Instead numerous teams came out and all of the teams were strong
contenders for the Stanley Cup. In 1896, the Victorias of Montreal
versus the Victorias of Winnipeg placed with the Winnipeg team taking
the Cup 2 to 0. Less than a year later, a rematch was to occur.
Presented as the greatest sports ever in Winnipeg history, even in the
economy of 1896, tickets were scalped for as much as $12 each. Everyone
wanted to see this Stanley Cup playoff game. Montreal won this match up
6 to 5 after being down 2 to 0 at halftime. It was documented as the
finest match ever played in Canada.
While the early
Stanley Cup games differed greatly from today's game, the popularity
has continued to rise over the many years. Originally, there were
seven men on the ice for each team rather than the six we know
today. Sideboards were non-existent and players used very little
sports equipment. Injuries were quite common and much more serious
than what players of today have to deal with in their hockey games
The Stanley Cup is considered to be the most famous trophy in the
sporting world. It is certainly the oldest trophy competed for by
professional athletes, having logged more than 400,000 miles in travel
during only the past five seasons. Traditionally, each winning player
and team management staff member gets to take the Cup home for one day
to share with their friends and family.
No matter how the lines move between now and the final play for this
year's Stanley Cup, you simply will not want to miss keeping track as
the big day draws closer. This game is the Super Bowl of hockey and it
pales in comparison to many other sports as far as national coverage is
concerned. The Stanley Cup will be watched by millions, some of whom are
not traditionally hockey fans and many who do not know the history
behind Lord Stanley’s great purchase. And for a sporting event to be
worthy of a trophy which travels over 400,000 miles to note the worthy
accomplishments of one lone team, it’s an event that no one should miss
especially those behind the major networks! Incidentally, in the humble
opinion of many fans, the only true contender this year for the Stanley
Cup is the Philadelphia Flyers. What do you think?
This article was
written by Leslie Sinclair sponsored by
http://www.stubhub.com. If you’re looking to buy sports tickets
for the next Piston’s game, look no further than Stubhub.com where
fans buy and sell the hottest tickets. Reproductions of this article
are encouraged but must include a link back to
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