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Stanley Cup to go home for 125th anniversary

Ottawa will host four-day event in March 2017 to commemorate trophy's first presentation in 1892

by Chris Stevenson / Correspondent

OTTAWA -- The 125th anniversary of the Stanley Cup will be celebrated when the trophy is returned to its home here next spring.

The trophy, a national treasure in Canada, will be on display at Rideau Hall, the residence of the Governor General of Canada, on March 16, 2017. Lord Stanley of Preston, the sixth Governor General of Canada, was residing at Rideau Hall when he came up with the idea of the Stanley Cup, to be awarded to Canada's amateur hockey champion in 1892.

Fans will be able to have their photo taken with the Cup under the official portrait of Lord Stanley. The Cup will be at Rideau Hall as part of a four-day celebration March 15-18, 2017, to mark the Cup's anniversary.

The Stanley Cup 125th Tribute is a collaboration between the NHL, the Ottawa Senators, the Office of the Secretary to the Governor General, the Canadian Museum of History, the Lord Stanley's Gift Memorial Monument and the Ottawa 2017 Bureau.

"I'm sure that my predecessor Lord Stanley would be proud to know the Cup he gave his name to in 1892 is now among the most prestigious trophies in sports," His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, said in a statement. "Canadians have come to cherish the Stanley Cup as part of our identity. What better way to celebrate the Cup's 125th birthday than where the tradition began?"

"Ottawa is the ideal location for a celebration for the most legendary and revered trophy in all of sports," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said. "Lord Stanley declared his intention to donate the Cup in a letter to the Ottawa Hockey Club on March 18, 1892, inspiring generations of athletes to strive for the ultimate level of excellence and sacrifice to win it.

"The National Hockey League is thrilled to support the events that will honor the Cup's remarkable history, will continue to share its story with hockey fans of all ages and will help give this iconic trophy the spectacular 125th birthday party it deserves."

Video: Stanley Cup 125th Tribute Event

Ottawa will be the focal point of Canada's 150th anniversary celebrations in 2017. Next year also marks the centennial of the League and the Senators' 25th season since their return to the League.

"2017 will be a remarkable and memorable year for Canada, for hockey and for the Ottawa Senators," Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said. "Never before in the nation's capital have we undertaken such a collaborative effort to celebrate the special combined anniversaries of the Ottawa Senators and the greatest trophy in all of sport, the Stanley Cup."

The four-day celebration of the Stanley Cup will begin with an evening gala at the Canadian Museum of History on Wednesday, March 15. A new exhibit will celebrate the sport of hockey.

After the Rideau Hall event on March 16, the Stanley Cup will be at the Aberdeen Pavilion for a meet-and-greet for fans with NHL alumni. The Aberdeen Pavilion, also known as the Cattle Castle, is the oldest building in which Stanley Cup competition was played. The Ottawa Silver Seven played there in 1904.

There will be a multimedia Stanley Cup tribute concert at Canadian Tire Centre that night.

The celebration will wrap up on March 18 with a groundbreaking ceremony in downtown Ottawa on Sparks Street, which will be home to a future monument to Lord Stanley's gift to hockey. March 18 is 125 years to the day the Stanley Cup was first presented.

"This is a signature event to honor a national shrine, a national symbol that is near and dear to Canadians across the country," said Guy Laflamme, executive director of the Ottawa 2017 Bureau.

"I think it's great," Senators president Cyril Leeder said. "Working with the different partners, there's been a lot of collaboration and everybody wants the same goal which is to put on a big show in the nation's capital in 2017."

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