What if the Cup Runneth Over?

Slate's Culture Blog
June 10 2010 1:43 PM

What if the Cup Runneth Over?

The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 49 years Wednesday night. Per tradition, the players and coaches took turns hoisting the 35.25-inch, 34.5-pound chalice above their heads. If you look closely, you'll see that it's inscribed with the names of past winners. What happens when the Cup is filled to the brim?

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According to Kelly Masse of the Hockey Hall of Fame, almost the entire trophy is covered in names—2,163 to be exact. Names were first inscribed on the upper part of the Cup (the bowl and stem feature several defunct teams, such as the Vancouver Millionaires, champions in 1914-15, and the Victoria Cougars, champions in 1924-25). Then, in 1954, names began appearing on the massive barrel, which is composed of five movable rings. When all five are full—Masse said that takes about 13 seasons—the NHL removes the top ring and places it in the Hockey Hall of Fame's vault in Toronto. The remaining rings are then shifted upward and a blank ring is added to the bottom of The Cup. (The last time The Cup runneth over, Masse said, was after the 2003-04 season.)

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The Blackhawks' names will be added in September, after each member of the winning team has spent some quality time with the Cup. There are a few imperfections . In 1984, Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington —who infamously traded Wayne Gretzky—included his father Basil Pocklington's name on the roster. The NHL later covered it up with 16 Xs.

 

Alan Siegel is a writer in Washington, D.C. You can reach him at asiegel05@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter.