Miragh Bitove

Miragh Bitove got to see firsthand when the Vegas Golden Knights players and staff had their individual celebrations with the Stanley Cup last offseason.

This season she’ll travel even more in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and offseason as one of the Cup handlers.

“It’s exciting,” said Bitove, who has been an archivist with the Hockey Hall of Fame since 2005. “It’s really neat to get to watch people at the top of their game and get to see how they choose to celebrate with something they’ve been dreaming about their whole life in sports. That part is exciting but also just meeting people along the road.

“I love meeting all different kinds of people and finding common ground and learning about people and hearing people’s stories about their associations with the Cup. That always keeps it interesting and entertaining and it’s an honor.”

Bitove, who will become the first woman to be a Cup keeper, isn’t a stranger to traveling with the hardware: when the various trophies and Stanley Cup are brought to events such as the NHL Awards or NHL Draft, Bitove is there with them. Now she’s also part of the offseason traveling tour, which includes a group of Cup handlers and keepers who rotate through 100 days of travel to celebrate Cup days with the winners. She’s not sure how much her travel will increase this year, but it will be more than the 24 days she spent traveling last summer.

“I think the way the Hockey Hall of Fame always works is we’re all a team. People chip in when we can. It’s during the summer when a lot of people take vacations and we’re on the road, probably our busiest time with the trophies,” said Phil Pritchard, Hockey Hall of Fame curator and Keeper of the Cup since 1988.

“It’s great she can chip in and help out. It’s one of those balance things but she’s gung-ho to do it and has been helping out for the last 20 years. She comes from a hockey family and hockey background and loves the game.”

Bitove’s great uncle, Ted “Teeder” Kennedy, won the Stanley Cup with the Toronto Maple Leafs five times and was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in 2017. Her father, Fred Addis, recently wrote “Gallinger: A Life Suspended” on former Boston Bruins forward Don Gallinger.

Bitove’s work with the Hockey Hall of Fame began in 2003, when she cleaned hockey paintings and filed newspaper clippings. As the Hall’s archivist, Bitove said her work is “fascinating.”

“I’m looking at my desk right now and I have gloves from the (2024) All-Star Game and the Professional Women’s Hockey League Showcase at the All-Star Game. I have a pendant from an Ontario championship in 1902. I have a (Wayne) Gretzky toaster on my desk,” she said.

“In a lot of cases, I’m documenting the history of the game and that could be things from more than a 100 years ago or things that happened last month. Especially looking at this Professional Women’s Hockey League. Their history is being written today, every day. So I’m trying to document to the best of my ability so down the road, 40, 50 years so people can look back at the Hockey Hall of Fame’s documents and get a full picture of the development of this history.”

Bitove, who is hockey mom of three, has been a big part of the Hockey Hall of Fame for more than 20 years. Traveling more with the Cup in the offseason is just the latest reward in a job full of them.

“People are in a very happy mood when they see the Stanley Cup roll into a building, so we’re seeing the best of people but also the people who are on the back end of it, this team of Cup Keepers and Cup Handlers, it’s a great group of people,” Bitove said. “I’m one of them, but I’m not all of them. Everybody’s out there on the road, these road warriors if you will, but it’s a great group of people to be around, both friends and colleagues.”