Over the course of the summer, each member of the champion Chicago Blackhawks is enjoying their “day with the Cup”, leading the trophy through a tour of small towns, big cities, and community barbeques. Each stop along the way is a feel-good story, as fans young and old are given a rare chance to spend time with the greatest trophy in all of sports.
But while each player is given free reign to determine how to spend their day with the Cup, the league does provide some guidance. Every year, each player receives a printed memo from the NHL head office with a few tips to help things run smoothly.
Most fans never get to see that top secret memo. That's about to change, since I just happen to have come into possession of a copy which I’ve reproduced below.
Dear miscellaneous NHL player,
Congratulations on winning the Stanley Cup! As per hockey tradition, you are now entitled to spend one full day with the trophy in a location of your choice.
Before you plan your big day, however, the National Hockey League would like to offer several suggestions which could help make your time more enjoyable.
- Consider having several small cards printed up that explain that the Stanley Cup is a trophy awarded to the NHL champion at the end of every season. This will save you from having to constantly stop and explain everything to lifelong Vancouver Canuck fans who have never seen it before.
- You’re likely to meet fans who will want to take photos of their children or grandchildren sitting in the bowl of the Cup. For reference, the Cup can safely hold the weight of one large toddler, two small babies, or three Montreal Canadiens forwards.
- The Stanley Cup is notable for its tradition of recording past champions by etching their names onto the sides of the trophy. Given how easily the Cup can be scratched or dented, please respect the league’s history by only dropping it so that it lands on forgotten teams the 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning or 2006 Carolina Hurricanes.
- When describing your Cup win as “easily the greatest moment of my entire life”, be sure to awkwardly add “um, obviously other than my wedding day” if you think your wife may be listening.
- The Stanley Cup is 117 years old. If you decide to spend your day at Denny’s, save money by ordering its meal off the senior’s menu.
- If you happen to meet an Ottawa Senators fan, he will inevitably want to tell you about all the Stanley Cups his team won a hundred years ago. As a representative of the National Hockey League, please do your best to listen to him politely for at least three full minutes before pulling the nearest fire alarm.
- Remember that the Cup is made entirely of metal, and is therefore prone to rust if exposed to excessive moisture. Please keep it away from Jeremy Roenick, in case he gets a glimpse of it and starts bawling like coliccy baby again.
- Please keep in mind that the Cup has been handled by literally thousands of players and fans over the years. Consider giving it a quick wipe with a paper towel before letting your newborn drink formula out of it.
- Impress your friends by pointing out that the engravings on the Stanley Cup include several typos and other errors. For example, in 1975 Bob Gainey’s name is misspelled as “Gainy”. In 1981, the New York Islanders are misspelled as “Ilanders”. And in 1999, the Buffalo Sabres are misspelled as “the Dallas Stars”.
- Occasionally, a young child may ask you why the trophy doesn’t list a champion for the 2004-05 season. This is a complicated subject, so the best way to answer this question is to ask the child to hand you their allowance, use it to light an expensive cigar, and then blow smoke rings in their face while pointing at them and laughing.
- Finally, for members of the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks: Be sure to block off some time in your schedule for Stan Bowman to call and tell you which team you’ve been traded to.