Dear Fellow Hockey Supporters,
We are overwhelmed and excited by the response that we have had so far to the SPIRIT CHALLENGE CUP™. It confirms what we have always believed – that the spirit of hockey in Canada is a powerful, unstoppable force. We love this game collectively as players, fans, kids and adults. And we believe that the best team playing in the land should win the Stanley Cup, just as Lord Stanley of Preston intended when he granted the cup to the benefit of all Canadians.
We sincerely hope the NHL and the NHLPA resolve their differences and save their 2012-2013 season. But if that does not happen, we also believe that Lord Stanley still meant for the Cup to be awarded. We think he would be disappointed to find a labour dispute preventing his challenge cup from celebrating excellence in hockey.
And so, in the spirit of fair play that defines our game, we propose a tournament to restore the Stanley Cup to its roots as a challenge cup, even just for one year. We aim to settle on a plan by January 18, 2013. But right now, more than anything, we need your ideas and your support.
Please leave your comments, feedback and support. Click PUCK TALK to read and comment on specific questions.
thestar.com: Published on Thursday December 20, 2012
The cup is up for grabs — or, at least, it should be. That best serves what Lord Stanley of Preston wanted when he announced creation of the now-legendary trophy bearing his name.
Back in 1892 he noted the need for a prize because “there does not appear to be any outward sign of a championship at present.” And that’s precisely the situation we have today, with the National Hockey League and the players union locked in a contract dispute that threatens another hockey season.
There’s no end in sight to the 97-day lock-out. If it lasts another month all games will be cancelled. But rather than keeping the cup locked away, as in the lost 2004-05 season, a heartening effort is afoot to put it back in play.
A small group of hockey enthusiasts, mainly lawyers, has banded together to organize a tournament next year that would, potentially, award the Stanley Cup to the best amateur hockey team playing in Canada. If that happened, it would be a case of going back to the future — the Stanley Cup is older than the NHL and was originally awarded to a variety of amateur organizations. (Go Kenora Thistles, winners in 1907!)
Teams are being invited to register by Jan. 18 for the Spirit Challenge Cup, to be played a few months later, with proceeds to benefit amateur hockey in Canada. Two things could block this plan for reviving cup competition: the NHL and its players could reach a deal before the entire season is sacrificed, or the two trustees controlling Lord Stanley’s storied mug simply won’t play along.
These trustees pose a problem. Brian O’Neill and Scotty Morrison, both former NHL executives, have in the past said they won’t grant the cup to any team outside the league. O’Neill went so far as to say that would “demean the trophy.”
Far from it. Awarding the cup to the country’s best amateur team, when the NHL can’t play, is entirely in keeping with the trophy’s original goal. O’Neill and Morrison shouldn’t demean themselves, and Canada’s national game, by throwing that purpose aside to benefit their former league bosses.
Canadians are coming together and working on organizing an alternative Stanley Cup competition. If they’re successful, the cup should be awarded to the winner. After all, it’s our game, not the NHL’s. And the Stanley Cup isn’t a pawn to be sacrificed when billionaire team owners and millionaire players can’t reach a deal. O’Neill and Morrison should try to remember that.
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Dec. 19 2012, 10:29 PM EST
Last updated Wednesday, Dec. 19 2012, 11:56 PM EST
There is a new “drop-dead” date for whether the Stanley Cup will be awarded this season: Jan. 18, 2013.
And, surprisingly, the deadline wasn’t set by the National Hockey League.
An expansive plan is in the works to force a “challenge” for the Stanley Cup that would honour the original intention of Lord Stanley of Preston, who bequeathed the trophy to the people of Canada more than 120 years ago.
The shinny-loving Toronto lawyers who, seven years ago, took the NHL to court to prove the league did not, as claimed, own the Stanley Cup, are back – and this time with the potential financial backing to see the Stanley Cup awarded in 2013, even if there is no NHL season.
They figure that by Jan. 18 – a date presumed to be around the NHL’s own moment of decision – it should be clear whether the league and its locked-out players can reach a collective agreement.
If they have not, then their group – Spirit Challenge Cup – will launch their initiative to ensure the cup is played for by amateur teams in a “challenge” format.
“How we do it is up to the people of Canada,” organizer Tim Gilbert said.
The plan is rooted in Lord Stanley’s own words.
“I have for some time been thinking that it would be a good thing if there were a challenge cup which should be held from year to year by the champion hockey team in the Dominion,” the governor-general wrote in a letter to the Ottawa Amateur Athletic Association on March 18, 1892…
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