A Season of Cups & Trophies
Trophies loom large this time of year as teams slug it out through the finals to try and make history.
NHL champions will raise North America’s oldest professional sports trophy, the Stanley Cup. First awarded in 1893 to the Montreal Hockey Club, the Cup was named after Lord Stanley of Preston, then Governor-General of Canada.
The original puck-chasing prize was just a punch bowl before it came to rest on top of an oversized, silver and nickel trophy weighing 34½ lbs.
NBA winners will mark their triumph by hoisting the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy, named for the league’s commissioner who served from 1975 to 1984. Originally a wide-mouthed chalice, the current hoops prize depicts an official size basketball on a solid rim.
The English Premier League, now in its 25th season, will hand out their relatively young cup, while the League’s affiliate, the FA Cup, will present soccer’s oldest trophy dating back to 1871 (photo above).
In continental Europe, winners of the year-long Champions League competition will soon embrace a long-handled silver urn with the inscription “Coupe Des Clubs Champions Europeens”. The trophy was first presented in the 1950’s after French sports newspaper, L’Equipe, pushed for a pan-European soccer tournament.
In the waters of Bermuda, sailors are poised to compete for the 35th staging of the America's Cup, the oldest international sports trophy.
Affectionately known as the “Auld Mug”, the ewer-shaped trophy was first awarded in 1851 to the New York Yacht Club for defeating the Royal Yacht Squadron in a race around England’s Isle of Wight.
Joining the America's Cup in the pantheon of 19th century trophies are the Scottish Cup 1873 (soccer), Calcutta Cup 1879 (rugby), Ashes Urn 1882 (cricket), Challenge Cup 1896 (rugby) and Davis Cup 1900 (tennis).
Baseball’s World Series champs receive the Commissioner’s Award, the only trophy among the four major sports in America not named after a specific person.
Depicting a ring of 30 gold-plated flags symbolizing the league’s 30 teams, the Award was first bestowed in 1967 when the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Boston Red Sox for the World Series.
Prior to 1967, Major League Baseball did not have a trophy.
Super bowl victors savor the Vince Lombardy Trophy, first delivered in 1967 and named three years later after legendary coach Vince Lombardy who won the first two super bowls with the Green Bay Packers. The sterling silver figure takes the shape of a football in a kicking position.
First accorded in 1930, the prestigious FIFA World Cup Trophy was previously known as the Jules Rimet Trophy, after FIFA’s president who launched the world’s most widely-watched sporting event.
Pursued not just on the soccer field, the original Jules Rimet was stolen twice while on display- first in England in 1966 but later recovered; then in Brazil in 1983 and never seen again.
In its most recent format, the 14½ inch world cup sculpture depicts two human figures holding up the earth.
It's not a surprise that we still honor cups and trophies, the most cherished objects to immortalize teams and championships.
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HOCKEY November 22, 2008 The Montreal Canadiens retire Patrick Roy’s #33 jersey. One of the greatest goaltenders of all time, “Saint Patrick” Roy spent his career playing 11 years for the Canadiens and 8 years for the Avalanche between 1984-2003. The Quebec native won 4 Stanley Cups, 2 with each franchise. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2006.
BASKETBALL November 14, 1998 Chicago Bulls power forward Dennis Rodman weds model and ‘Baywatch’ actress Carmen Electra at Little Chapel of the Flowers in Las Vegas; 6 months later Electra would file for divorce. The eccentric Rodman was a 5x NBA champion, twice with the Pistons and three times with the Bulls. His last stint in the NBA was with the Dallas Mavericks in 2000.
FOOTBALL November 20, 1988 The first NCAA football game to take place in Europe is played at Dublin’s Lansdowne Road Stadium in Ireland. Boston College defeated Army 38-24 in what was billed as the ‘Emerald Isle Classic’. The game was intended as an annual event to attract some of the 40 million Americans of Irish descent back to their ancestral homeland.
MOTOR RACING November 19, 1978 NASCAR driver Cale Yarborough is crowned champion of the Winston Cup Series after winning 12 of the season’s 30 runs. It was the third consecutive Series triumph for the South Carolina native who remains only one of two NASCAR racers to claim three straight victories; the other is Jimmy Johnson with five.