|Fastened to a building on Regent Street in London, this plaque commemorates the purchase of the Stanley Cup in 1892. Photo: submitted.|
by Todd Anderson
Some Sens Army members might be surprised to learn that the Ottawa Senators are trying to bring home Ottawa's 12th Stanley Cup to Hockey Country.
The most coveted prize in the NHL, the Cup found a home in the nation's capital on 11 previous occasions from 1903 to 1927. In fact, the idea for the Stanley Cup came to life in Ottawa in 1892 when Canada's Governor General, Lord Stanley of Preston, offered to donate a challenge cup that hockey teams in the Dominion of Canada would play for year after year. Lord Kilcoursie delivered the following message on behalf of Lord Stanley during an Ottawa Amateur Athletic Association dinner on March 18, 1892:
"I have for some time been thinking that it would be a good thing if there were (sic) a challenge cup which should be held from year to year by the champion hockey team in the Dominion (of Canada).
"There does not appear to be any such outward sign of a championship at present, and considering the general interest which matches now elicit, and the importance of having the game played fairly and under rules generally recognized, I am willing to give a cup which shall be held from year to year by the winning team."
The original Cup - a gold-lined silver bowl standing on an ebony base and measuring 19 centimetres by 29 centimetres - cost 10 guineas, or just under $50. Lord Stanley called upon one of his aides, Captain Coville, who was stationed in England, to visit the best silversmith in London to have the trophy made.
Montreal A.A.A. won the first Stanley Cup in 1893 but it didn't take long for Ottawa to get its name on the mug.
Dubbed the Silver Seven - because manager A.J. Smith gave all seven players a silver nugget as a token for their victory - Ottawa's first Cup victory came in 1903 when they defeated the Montreal Victorias in a two-game, total-goals series 1-1 and 8-1 on March 7 and 10, respectively.
When originally introducing the Cup, Lord Stanley stated the trophy would remain a challenge cup and teams must ensure the trophy is handed to the victor in good condition. Shortly after the Silver Seven won their first Stanley Cup, they were challenged by Rat Portage (now Kenora, Ont.). Ottawa successfully defended the trophy in another two-game, total-goals series, winning 6-2 on March 12 and 4-2 on March 14.
The Senators went on to win the Stanley Cup on 10 other occasions, including their last in 1927 when they defeated Boston in a four-game series 0-0, 3-1, 1-1 and 3-1.
This year they go for a 12th championship against the Anaheim Ducks.
Click here for a look back at the club's history with the Stanley Cup.