The Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks are playing for the Stanley Cup, the oldest trophy for professional athletes in North America. The Stanley Cup was created by Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley (Lord Stanley of Preston), the Governor General of Canada from 1888 to 1893.
After purchasing the cup in London for about $50 at the time, he donated it and had it awarded to Canada's top amateur hockey club. It was first awarded to the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association in 1893.
Since 1926, the Cup has been awarded to the NHL champion. This is the 13th time the Blackhawks are playing for it (their last of six wins was in 2013), while the Ducks are making their third bid (they won in 2007).
JUST THE FACTS
Original Cup: Named the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup.
About the bowl: Original was made of silver. Eventually, it became too brittle and was replaced with a silver and nickel alloy bowl.
First team to engrave its roster: 1906-07 Montreal Wanderers (engraving done inside the bowl).
Number of names engraved: 2,424
Name engraved the most: 17, Jean Beliveau (Montreal Canadiens) 10 as a player, 7 as management.
Player engraved the most: 11, Henri Richard (Montreal Canadiens).
Coach engraved the most: 9, Scotty Bowman (Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, Montreal Canadiens).
ORIGINAL BOWL IN HALL OF FAME
There are three versions of the Stanley Cup: The original bowl, purchased in 1892, was retired in 1962 and is displayed in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. The Presentation Cup has been awarded since 1963, and the team keeps it for 100 days, with each player getting a day with it. The Replica Cup is used as a stand-in at the Hall of Fame whenever the Presentation Cup is absent.
SOMETIMES, A NEW RING TO IT
A new Cup isn't made every year. The trophy is passed from one champion to the next, and names of the winning players, coaches, management and staff are added to the lowest of the five rings. When the rings become full, the oldest band is removed and sent to the Hall of Fame. A blank replacement band is then added. Each ring holds 13 teams.
THE 'ILANDERS'? OOPS!
Some engraving errors were not corrected, including the 1980-81 Islanders team that is misspelled as "Ilanders," and the 1971-72 Boston Bruins shown as "Bqstqn Bruins."
GOOD TO THE LAST DROP
The bowl of the Cup can hold 14 cans of beer.
The Canadiens have won the Cup more times -- 24 -- than any other, but not since 1993. Montreal has also won the Cup a record five consecutive times (1956 to 1960).
LEFT ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD
When members of the 1924 champion Montreal Canadiens got a flat tire on the way to the team's victory banquet, they removed the Cup from the trunk of the car to get to the spare tire and left the Cup on the side of the road. They found it later laying in a snow bank.
LINDSAY STARTED IT
In 1950, Detroit Red Wings captain Ted Lindsay began the tradition of winning players hoisting the Cup.
A NIGHT ON ICE
In 1905, the Ottawa Silver Seven tried to kick the Cup across Ottawa's frozen Rideau Canal. It made it halfway and spent the night on ice until it was retrieved the next day.
The Cup went to an active war zone in 2007 when it was flown to Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar, Afghanistan for a meet and greet with Canadian and American troops.