The Globe and Mail: NHL LOCKOUT ‘Challenge’ proposal would see amateur teams vie for Stanley Cup

ROY MACGREGOR
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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