The Stanley Cup
is an ice hockey
club championship trophy
, awarded annually to the National Hockey League
champion. It is commonly referred to as The Cup
, The Holy Grail
, or facetiously (chiefly by sportswriters) as Lord Stanley's Mug
.The Stanley Cup is surrounded by numerous legends and traditions
, the oldest of which is the celebratory drinking of champagne
out of the cup by the winning team. Unlike the trophies awarded by the other three major professional sports leagues
of North America, a new Stanley Cup is not made each year; Cup winners keep it until a new champion is crowned. It is the only trophy in professional sports that has the name of the winning players, coaches, management, and club staff engraved on it. The original bowl was made of silver
and has a dimension of 18.5 centimeters (7.28 inches) in height and 29 centimeters (11.42 inches) in diameter. The current Stanley Cup is made of silver and nickel alloy
. Today, it has a height of 89.54 centimeters (35.25 inches) and weighs 15.5 kilograms (34.5 lb).
The Stanley Cup is the oldest professional sports trophy in North America. Originally inscribed the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, the trophy was donated by former Governor General of Canada Lord Stanley of Preston in 1892 as an award for Canada's top-ranking amateur ice hockey club. In 1915, the two professional ice hockey organizations, the National Hockey Association (NHA) and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA), reached a gentlemen's agreement in which their respective champions would face each other for the Stanley Cup. After a series of league mergers and folds, it became the de facto championship trophy of the NHL in 1926. The Cup later became the de jure NHL championship prize in 1947.