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Would You Touch the Stanley Cup?

April 26th, 2010 @ 12:22pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

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.

The Holy Grail of Hockey

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.

If you had a photo opportunity with the Stanley Cup, would you touch it?

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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!

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28 comments

  1. Tanis says:

    If I was an NHL player, I wouldn’t touch the Cup. I also believe it’s an unwritten rule that anyone who hasn’t won the Cup doesn’t deserve to hoist it. Lastly, Sidney Crosby proved last year by picking up the Prince of Whales Trophy that it isn’t bad luck to touch or pick up the Conference trophy. He still won the Cup!

    Since I’m not an NHL player or on my way there, I’d definitely touch Lord Stanley’s Cup!!! :-)

  2. Ianiv says:

    Given that there is no such thing as “luck”, simply touching or lifting the cup will not have a direct effect on any hockey game. You could even drive a truck over the thing and the mob lynching you after will still have nothing to do with bad luck :)

  3. I would touch it after the season or if I know Canucks are not making playoffs. Today for example, If i was to see it I wouldn’t :). I dont think that touching the cup before wining it matter really but for some weird reason I would stay away from it until Canucks are finished with their playoff run. :)

  4. Erin says:

    Much like the unwritten rule about not wearing a marathon t-shirt until after the race, I agree that players shouldn’t pick up the Cup until they’ve earned it.

    That said, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hold the Cup when I was working for the Canucks a few years ago. We had arranged for the Cup to visit Vancouver as part of SuperSkills, and during that year Jiri Slegr was playing for the Canucks. He had been part of the Stanley Cup champions Detroit Red Wings the previous year, but for whatever reason had never actually seen the Cup since his name had been added. So following a game, he came to my office where the Stanley Cup was being kept — that itself was surreal — and the keeper of the Cup took it out of its case and Jiri spent a good 20 minutes checking it out. And when he was done, the keeper offered to let me hold the Cup… so now I’ve accepted that I won’t win it myself…

  5. Larry S says:

    I already did during the Vancovuer Giants Memorial cup season. I was guarding it and touched it…it felt great!

  6. It’s a nice symbol, but it’s just a hunk of metal. Your touch has no effect on any hockey game.

  7. As a hockey player I have reticence about even wearing pro jerseys when I play (but I still sometimes do, accepting that the hockey gods will deliver me later punishment) because frankly I have not earned it.

    For me, approaching the cup for the first time it felt like it had this magnetic energy drawing me to it. As a kid growing up playing hockey in this country you fantasize about winning it for so long that the urge to touch it is just irresistible. I held steady, though I do have a photo somewhere of me getting VERY close to it.

    Not touching, kissing, or hoisting the cup has little to do with luck and karma — and everything to do with respecting and honouring the relatively few who have possessed the drive, skill, good fortune, and endurance to win it.

    Player or fan — in my book you don’t kiss it, hug it, drink beer from it, touch it, or most certainly hoist it until you have endured the 10 months of gruelling effort and self-sacrifice that it takes you and your team to earn the right to do so.

    And until then you revere those who have done so in the past and will in the future. It’s because of this, not because of fear of smudges, that Phil Pritchard wears white gloves when handling The Cup. It’s actually pretty-much covered in scratches and dings and dents.

  8. Miss604 says:

    @Ian There is no doubt that it is symbolic and to be revered. I was definitely trembling being in its presence, hence my reluctance to even get close to it at first.

  9. Mooch says:

    I touched it, and took family pics with it…I think it will be our Christmas card this season…..I didn’t know there was a protocol, and everyone was touching it, although I did wonder who the guy with the white gloves was…..

  10. Sharylin says:

    Oh I’d kiss the cup for sure!

  11. I touched it at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. I think the no-touch rule only applies to players — and those who don’t shave or change their underwear during the course of the playoffs at that.

    Now, avoiding touching it to avoid the wrath of your superstitious teammates, that’s a another reason altogether.

    Here’s a pic of the cup swimming in Mario Lemieux’s pool:

    http://www.gunaxin.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/Cup.jpg

  12. VancityAllie says:

    No way! It’s disrespectful to touch the Cup (without gloves) unless you win it!

  13. VancityAllie says:

    (The vote is kinda weird because I don’t believe it’s bad luck, I just don’t think it’s right) :)

  14. Why would I want to touch the cup? Would I touch Big Ben? Would I touch a Steinway piano?
    Derek’s right. If touching a hunk of metal made any difference, nobody would practise. They would just pass on all responsibility of winning or losing to superstition.

  15. teflonjedi says:

    I would definitely touch it, and did:

  16. Michelle says:

    I’ve done more than touch the cup – was lucky enough to drink beer from it too. A friend of mine played for the Devils the year they won the cup. He had a career ending injury the next season. Coincidence?

  17. LickTheCup.com and LickTheCup.ca are both available…

  18. John Biehler says:

    Hmmm….perma-smiles all around: http://flic.kr/p/7Ef9Te

    There was also lots of debate that day if the Cup on display during the Olympics was THE Cup…and not a stunt road Cup.

    Considering the number of security + both Phil & Craig on hand, it seemed like the real deal to me.

    I was ecstatic to hug it…if it had any bearing on the game, it wouldn’t tour around…plus I’m not a hockey player so it has even less bearing.

    But if the Canucks lose this year, then clearly I am the Chosen One since I caused it.

    Signed,
    Neo

  19. Jeff says:

    I touched it, and took family pics with it…I think it will be our Christmas card this season…..I didn’t know there was a protocol, and everyone was touching it, although I did wonder who the guy with the white gloves was…..

  20. William says:

    I touched it at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. I think the no-touch rule only applies to players — and those who don’t shave or change their underwear during the course of the playoffs at that.

    Now, avoiding touching it to avoid the wrath of your superstitious teammates, that’s a another reason altogether.

    Here’s a pic of the cup swimming in Mario Lemieux’s pool:

    http://www.gunaxin.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/Cup.jpg

  21. Sarah says:

    LickTheCup.com and LickTheCup.ca are both available…

  22. Richard says:

    No way! It’s disrespectful to touch the Cup (without gloves) unless you win it!

  23. Tony says:

    I’ve done more than touch the cup – was lucky enough to drink beer from it too. A friend of mine played for the Devils the year they won the cup. He had a career ending injury the next season. Coincidence?

  24. [...] Bollwitt, who many of you may know better as Miss 604, clarifies an issue surrounding the Stanley Cup. I always thought that you weren’t supposed to touch or hoist the Cup unless you earned the [...]

  25. Aidan says:

    I have touched the Stanley Cup – Though I hardly touched it to begin with. I was more in shock and awe to even stand before it. It was like seeing god for the first time, unsure weather to shake his hand or not. I found the Vancouver Millionaire on the cup, took my picture pointing at the name (was not about to touch that part!) – Though I would never life the cup, nor hold it.

    Though my friend did manage to talk to the guy who takes care of the cup if he could hold it, and he actually let him. (it was also my friends birthday so that’s why)

  26. [...] I refused. It’s bad luck to eat a cupcake from the Stanley Cup before you’ve won it. Everyone knows that. In addition to frosted baked treats, there were some other fun things on display out in front of [...]

  27. dean says:

    Hmmm, my name is not on the cup and I have a photo of me lifting it above my head. It came to my junior high school in the early 90’s and they only said we had to hoist it by the base and the neck because the cup part had suffered damage during transport after the finals.

  28. Andy says:

    I would never touch the cup unless handed to me by a member of the winning club(preferably the Chicago Blackhawks). It is not a matter of superstition but honor and respect. I would love to drink some beer out of it with Chris Chelios(too bad all his cup wins were with Detroit and as we all know Detroit SUCKS!). Still love Cheli though.

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