Wednesday, November 22nd will be a day long remembered for many people in Kelowna, including us. The Stanley Cup paid a visit to our store for the evening, thrilling fans of all ages who came down to see it and get their picture taken. We were also able to help the Kelowna Food Bank, as admission to see the Cup was by donation of either food items or cash—we hope that it will help make a difference in the community. In all, with all the minor hockey teams and other fans, we think at least 400 people had the chance to see Canada’s most famous trophy.
Our adventure with hockey’s holy grail started with some awesome surprises for minor hockey teams. With the Cup safely covered in its plain black case, we were able to get it into Memorial Arena and into the locker room area. Imagine the surprise of coming off the ice as an 8-year old kid and seeing the Stanley Cup waiting for you! This was a real highlight of the day, and we hope that maybe one day one of those kids will see it again on the ice in the NHL.
The in-store event was a tremendous time for everybody. We had several other minor hockey teams in the house, including a team that came all the way from Salmon Arm to get their team photo taken. The beaming smiles and saucer-wide eyes tells us that it was definitely worth the trip for those kids and their coaches. In addition to seeing the Cup, we also handed out free packs of hockey cards to all the kids that came through the store—maybe we’ll have a new collector or two from the experience. For a solid two hours we had a lot of familiar faces and some new ones come through door and it felt like everybody had an awesome time. Whether people were kissing it, putting babies (and stuffed animals) in the bowl, looking for their favourite teams and players inscribed on the trophy, they all had a few special moments to spend with the Cup.
What made this experience even more cool for us was that this was the real Stanley Cup, the same trophy that the players receive on the ice after the Finals, the one held high by legends like Gretzky, Lemieux, Orr, Beliveau, and so many others. This was a surprise for us, as we expected to be hosting the replica version that travels throughout Canada and around the world. You can see the scratches and dents, and little unique things that exist as the telltale signs. One thing that we learned is that when the next ring gets added after this season, some of the game’s greatest names will be coming off the Stanley Cup. In order to keep it roughly the same size and weight, the bands have to be removed or else the trophy would be eight feet long already. So while today’s stars get added, stars from the 1950’s and early 1960’s will soon be taken off, including Maurice Richard and the Canadiens dynasty that won five straight championships from 1956 to 1960. The bands get flattened out and remain on permanent display at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
This day was all made possible by the Hockey Hall of Fame, so we want to thank them for this great opportunity. Thank you also to Mike Bolt, the “keeper of the Cup” that we got to spend the day with and hear some amazing stories about the Cup’s history and activities with the players that have won it. If you ever get the chance to go to Toronto, make sure to stop at the Hall of Fame to see some of the incredible history of hockey on display.
We are so proud to have made so many people happy by hosting the Stanley Cup. We hope you had as much fun as we did. Thanks for coming down, be sure to share with us all your photos and memories of this very special day.