NHL champions only get to keep the Stanley Cup—arguably the most iconic trophy in all of sports— for one year. As a perk, each individual player on the team has the privilege of spending one day with the Cup, a symbol of all that player's hard work and dedication to his sport. Typically, on their day with the Cup, players bring Lord Stanley's trophy back to their hometown and immerse it in some of their own culture. Dating back to 1905, the Cup has endured both some fantastic and traumatic experiences.
The 2015 Stanley Cup Finals presented a strange historical fluke: It featured eighteen players that had previously won a Stanley Cup (seventeen of which were Blackhawks.) As a result, in the 2015 Cup final, almost half players (and some coaches and managers) had some type of special Cup story. In this list, we count down the strangest, most hilarious, ways those players have spent their day with the Cup.
#8: Brad Richards
After Brad Richards won the Conn Smyth trophy (awarded to the playoffs MVP) in 2004 as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, he took the Cup for a ride on a boat. According to the Hockey Hall of Fame, Richards strapped the Cup in an orange life jacket and took it for a spin.
#7: Patrick Sharp
Dressed in his old little league jersey, Patrick Sharp stopped by his favorite childhood baseball field holding The Cup. According to the Keeper of the Cup, as soon as the players from the two teams recognized the native of Thunder Bay, Ontario, holding the twenty five-pound Cup, the Little Leaguers lost focus in their baseball game and bolted over to greet him and his prize.
#6: Marian Hossa
On the ice, Marian Hossa is a savvy veteran. By the start of the 2015 playoffs, the 36-year-old Blackhawks winger had amassed an astounding 486 goals and 570 assists in his career. Off the ice, though, he's made a little light of his tours with the Stanley Cup. In 2010, the Hockey Hall of Fame noted, Hossa took the Cup to his hometown of Trencin, Slovakia. Since he owns a pierogi factory in Trencin, Hossa put a batch of perogies in the Cup and ate them. A man of routine, in 2013, Hossa stuck to the same schedule—the Cup once again bore another batch of pierogies. After their 2015 win, it was almost a sure bet that the Cup returned from Hossa’s trip with a distinct aroma of Polish cooking.
#5: Valterri Filppula
After winning the Cup with the Red Wings in 2008, Tampa Bay Lightning center Valtteri Filppula took the Cup to Espoo, Finland, where he played youth hockey. While there, Filppula participated in the customary Finish tradition of sitting in a sauna, the Keeper of the Cup noted. Filpuula brought the Cup inside of the 100+ degree room, but he promptly left because he was nervous the Cup could get damaged.
#4: Bryan Bickell
In 2010 and 2013, Bryan Bickell, a winger for the Chicago Blackhawks, brought the Cup back to his hometown of Orono, Ontario. Both times, he took the Cup out on the Otonabee River. In 2010 he went with his girlfriend and his family. That year, they only caught one fish (his girlfriend caught it and put it in the Cup).
In 2013, Bickell took his time on the river to another level by inviting the host and camera crew of the TV show Facts of Fishing. In the four hours on the boat, Bickell and host Dave Mercer caught 21 fish. To keep pace with his trend, Bickell would need to catch 441 fish after the 2015 win. (It probably won't happen, it will be interesting to see whether Bickell takes his own tradition to another level.)
#3: Patrick Kane
In 2010, Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane brought the Cup to his hometown of Buffalo, New York. While there, according to the Keeper of the Cup, Kane hoisted the Cup while standing under Niagara Falls. The Cup and the hockey gods must have been pleased with Kane for giving the Cup a much needed bath—the Blackhawks won again in 2013.
#2: Steve Yzerman
Like Kane, Bickell, and Richards, Steve Yzerman—the former captain of the Detroit Red Wings and current General Manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning—spent his time with the Cup near water. However, his experience was definitely more intimate than those of Kane’s and Bickell’s. In 1997, according to espnW, Yzerman was rumored to have showered naked with the Cup.
#1: Eddie Olczyk
After the New York Rangers won the Cup in 1994, former center Eddie Olczyk took the Cup to the Belmont Stakes. There, he didn’t show it off to the fans. Instead, he allegedly filled it up with horse food and served the food to 1994 Kentucky Derby winner Go For Gin. Ultimately, Go For Gin finished second. In 2015, it was Olczyk who was second—to NBC legendary play-by-play man Mike “Doc” Emerick, as Olczyk assumed the duties as the color commentator during the Stanley Cup Finals.