Epic Stanley Cup Journey: 12,000 Miles and Counting in Historic NHL Final Showdown

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Keeper of the Cup Nearing End of Another Long Haul During Final

Epic Stanley Cup Journey 12,000 Miles and Counting in Historic NHL Final Showdown
Epic Stanley Cup Journey 12,000 Miles and Counting in Historic NHL Final Showdown

The Journey of the Stanley Cup and Its Custodians

Phil Pritchard and Craig Campbell, known for their iconic white gloves and crested blazers, embarked on another monumental journey with the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe Trophy. This time, their voyage took them aboard an NHL charter from Edmonton to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in preparation for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. Scheduled to touchdown in the late afternoon, the trophies were bound for the decisive match between the Florida Panthers and the Edmonton Oilers at Amerant Bank Arena.

An Unprecedented Series

This series marks the first time since 2011 that the Stanley Cup has crossed the border between Canada and the United States five times. Back then, it was the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks who battled it out over seven games. Reflecting on this, Pritchard remarked, “It’s been one heck of a series,” with a laugh, just moments before their departure from Edmonton.

The Custodians of the Cup

Phil Pritchard: The Keeper of the Cup

Phil Pritchard, the curator of the Hockey Hall of Fame, has many roles. He’s also the vice president of the shrine’s Resource Center and Archives. However, to hockey fans, he’s famously known as the “Keeper of the Cup,” a title that entails being the Stanley Cup’s historian, travel agent, tour guide, silver polisher, and bodyguard.

Craig Campbell: The Manager Behind the Scenes

Craig Campbell, Pritchard’s long-time friend and colleague, has been on the road since Game 3 of the Final. As the manager of the Hall of Fame’s Resource Center and Archives, he is the other white-gloved escort familiar to fans. Together, they ensure the trophy’s safe journey and pristine condition.

The Trophy’s Epic Journey

The Stanley Cup has been on the move since June 6, accumulating an impressive travel log:

  • June 6: From Toronto to Fort Lauderdale for Media Day, 1,209 miles.
  • June 6-10: In Florida for Games 1 and 2.
  • June 11: From Fort Lauderdale to Toronto, 1,209 miles.
  • June 12: From Toronto to Edmonton, 1,680 miles.
  • June 12-15: In Edmonton for Games 3 and 4.
  • June 14: Conn Smythe flown to Edmonton.
  • June 16: From Edmonton to Fort Lauderdale, 2,550 miles.
  • June 16-18: In Florida for Game 5.
  • June 19: From Fort Lauderdale to Kansas City, then to Edmonton, 2,830 miles.
  • June 19-21: In Edmonton for Game 6.
  • June 22: From Edmonton to Fort Lauderdale, 2,550 miles.
  • June 22-24: In Florida for Game 7.

The Final Stretch

The Stanley Cup and its custodians have experienced a smooth journey this year, with no major hiccups. Pritchard and Campbell had the Cup polished and ready for presentation multiple times, always prepared for the next leg of their adventure. The Cup’s appearance before the opening face-off of Game 1 in Sunrise, Florida, was a new tradition, inspired by similar practices in other sports like soccer.

What’s Next for the Stanley Cup?

The final whereabouts of the Stanley Cup post-Game 7 depend on the outcome. Should the Oilers win, the Cup will head back to Edmonton. If the Panthers win, it will stay in Florida for celebrations. Following that, the Cup is scheduled to be in Las Vegas for the 2024 NHL Awards and the Upper Deck NHL Draft.

The Legacy of the Engraving

One of Pritchard’s proud achievements is the prompt engraving of the Stanley Cup. Last year, the Cup went to Montreal for engraving before being returned to the champions, a tradition he hopes to continue. “It’s brilliant,” he said. “Families get to see their names on the Cup when players and others have their day with it.”

For now, the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe Trophy are securely locked away, awaiting their moment at center ice on Monday night.

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