During the Olympics I had the chance to have a little visit with the Stanley Cup at the BC International Media Centre. Phil Pritchard was present with his white gloves as media and security staff lined up to find and point out where their favourite player or team’s name was engraved.
I walked up to the cup, found the Vancouver Millionaires, and posed beside it for a photo as a feeling of total hockey fan bliss washed over me. Everyone in the room urged me to hug it, so I put my hands on either side and posed for more photos.
My friends John Biehler and Robert Scales did the same while others even gave it a smooch. It was surreal.
After uploading my photos and sharing them online I received some grief instantly saying that it’s bad luck to touch the Cup. From what I understand, you cannot lift the Cup if you have not won it nor should a player touch it if they haven’t earned it. It’s also bad luck for the captain of a team to touch or lift the conference cup ahead of the Stanley Cup final series. I really don’t know the official protocol for fans.
With Phil and Craig — the keepers of the cup — looking on from 5 feet away, I touched it as did everyone before and after me.
Update I have contacted the Hockey Hall of Fame to see if there is an official position on this.
Update From Kelly Masse, Director, Corporate and Media Relations for the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto:
Whether seeing the Stanley Cup while it’s on the road, as you did during the Olympics, or visiting it at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, guests can touch it, hug it, kiss and get their picture taken with it. What is only reserved for players who have won it is hoisting over your head. So unless your name is on it, you can’t lift it.
There is a superstition that you shouldn’t touch it unless you have won it. In fact, if I’m touring a current player or coach around the Hockey Hall of Fame, I will let them know that we are about to go into the Great Hall, which is the room that houses all the NHL trophies, including the Stanley Cup. I’ve seen players stand on the peripheral of the room, I’ve seen them walk in the room, but not near the Cup, and I’ve seen them circle the Cup, but I’ve never seen a player touch it that hasn’t won it. In fact, I’ve seen mascots of NHL teams do the same thing.
Masse also brought up the superstition about the touching Lucky Loonie that was buried under the ice during the 2002 Olympics. Thanks to everyone for chiming in on this!