In 1893 when the Montreal Hockey Club won the Stanley Cup, the first Stanley Cup rings were awarded to the team’s personnel. Since then, rings were not awarded again until 1927 when the Ottawa Senators won the Stanley Cup Championship.
Championship rings are historically presented to winning teams in North American professional sports leagues and college tournaments. Typically, only one championship trophy is awarded to the team, but the championship ring is a memento for each individual to enjoy.
Like in Major League Baseball, National Hockey League teams pay for the cost of their own rings, and for the last 50 years, NHL championship teams have been free to design their own.
One week after the Kings won their second Stanley Cup back in mid-June, premier jeweler, Tiffany & Co., began the design process for the championship ring, expanding on the collaboration that began after the Kings 2012 Stanley Cup Championship.
“The first thing we wanted to do this time that was different than 2012 is we wanted to involve the players right from the get go, and get their opinions on direction and things that they wanted,” said Kelly Cheeseman, chief operating officer for AEG Sports.
“There was a core group of the leadership that we went to right from the beginning, and we said ‘what do you guys want to see?’ and they told us,” continued Cheeseman. “They felt as though it’s a brotherhood and it’s for them, so it was important for us to honor that request.”
A few of the important design points for the players were that the ring be large in size, incorporate the logo shape, and have exclusive features available to only them.
The face, which measures 32mm, boasts 136 round diamonds amongst pave-set black spinels,. The entire face of the ring is the Kings logo, and the black spinels appear to be set lower than the diamonds and crown, which gives the ring a three-dimensional quality.
In addition, there are three specific design characteristics that are private and only found on the rings of the players.
A handful of original designs were submitted to the Kings for review, and changes were made from there.
One shank of the ring features STAPLES Center and beaming lights, along with the player’s name and number.
“A lot of the rings we had seen had the skylines of the city, and we wanted something that represented LA, and we saw things like palm trees,” Cheeseman explained. “One thing we looked at was STAPLES Center, and STAPLES Center is very unique-looking, it’s our home, it’s the players’ home, and that’s why we went with STAPLES Center on the side.”
A silhouette of the Stanley Cup can be found on the other shank, accompanied by the Kings’ overall playoff record, and two black spinels, which represent the Club’s two championships. Similar to the 2012 ring, the series scores are inscribed on the inside of the ring.
“The only thing that is the same from one of the original etchings is that the top is essentially our logo, and then we worked off of that. The shanks were all different from the original ones, so you start picking and choosing and designing from there,” Cheeseman shared.
The players were given their rings at a private function on October 6, while the rest of the staff received theirs on October 8, just prior to the season-opener. Between designing, fittings, and deciding on the different rings that are made available to personnel, plus marketing the collection that will be made available to fans, the process is an arduous lengthy one that actually isn’t over yet.
For Cheeseman, and the rest of those involved, it’s a good problem to have.