Hockey fans worldwide are currently losing their minds because the National Hockey League (NHL) Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche are currently playing the Stanley Cup playoffs, the annual championship tournament that decides the league champion. But most importantly, it decides which team will take possession of the prized trophy — the Stanley Cup. The Cup, revered by both hockey players and fans, has a rich, storied and downright quirky history.
The Cup was purchased for a mere 10 guineas ($50 at the time) in 1892 and donated by Lord Frederick Arthur Stanley (hence the name) who was Governor General of Canada from 1888 to 1893. The first Cup was awarded to the championship hockey club of the Dominion of Canada league during the 1892-1893 season. In 1910, the National Hockey Association took over the Stanley Cup and when the NHL formed in 1926, the Cup moved to the league. Today the Stanley Cup trophy is still the oldest trophy that a professional athlete can compete for in North America.