The Stanley Cup: Inside Hockey’s Holy Grail

On Wednesday night (April 14), the road to the Stanley Cup kicked off with the first batch of games in the NHL playoffs. The drama has already escalated, as the eighth-seeded Colorado Avalanche took the first game against the top-seeded San Jose Sharks, while the Ottawa Senators managed to upset the defending champion Penguins on their home ice in Pittsburgh. There are many more games to be played, but only one of the 16 squads who qualified for the playoffs will be able to hoist up the most coveted trophy in all of sports at the end of it.

As a warm-up, the Stanley Cup stopped into the MTV Newsroom on Wednesday. It was accompanied by Mike Bolt, one of four official “Keepers of the Cup” who brings the trophy around the world (it’s on the road roughly 320 days out of the year, which is remarkable). The Cup was first presented in 1893 to the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association and became the top prize in the National Hockey League in 1926. It started out simply as the bowl at the top, but was re-designed several times to allow for every team and player to have their name etched on the trophy’s lower rings.

But what happens when the names fill up the Cup entirely? Bolt, a cornucopia of Stanley Cup facts, schooled us on the science of the rings and pointed out exactly where this year’s champion will sit once the playoffs come to an end.

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The Stanley Cup has become something of a celebrity in its own right. It has “acted” on soap opera “Guiding Light” and primetime drama “Boston Legal,” appeared at parties thrown by Maxim magazine, had dinner with Susan Sarandon (where it got a surprise visit from Mark Wahlberg, who happened to be in the restaurant) and apparently got crunk with Lil Jon. Who will get to party with the Cup once the playoffs wrap up? Will the Boston Bruins bring it back to Beantown, or is this the year the Washington Capitals break on through? Is San Jose for real? Only the Stanley Cup knows, and it isn’t telling.