How many Stanley Cups are there?

My first ever summer vacation I took after I started work was a road trip to Toronto from Calgary (about 36 hours of driving). Why Toronto? Two friends and I wanted to go to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto and see the Stanley Cup.

When we got there I learned something I never known before – there is more than one Stanley Cup! What????

How many Stanley Cups are there? There are actually three Stanley Cups. There is the Dominion Challenge Cup, which is the original bowl donated by Lord Stanley and retired in 1960, the Presentation Cup, which is the one the players skate around with, and the Hockey Hall of Fame Cup.

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So when I was at the Hockey Hall of Fame I was looking at the Presentation Cup that was made for the purpose of being displayed at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

But that begs the question, why three Stanley Cups? What is the purpose of each? Let’s look at each of the three different Stanley Cups in more detail. 


1) Original Dominion Cup

The Original Dominion Cup is the one that was donated by Lord Stanley himself in 1892. At the time of donation it was only a cup with a one ring base. As teams won titles they would add to the Stanley Cup by adding more rings to it when necessary. 

The Stanley Cup would end up growing every few years and ended up looking like a large “StovePipe”, which is long and skinny. 

The Stanley Cup went under redesigns to the shape in 1948 and 1957 eventually becoming the shape we are familiar with. 

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The original Dominion Cup that Lord Stanley was part of these redesigns up until 1970. However, at this point it was determined that the cup was becoming to old and brittle. The trustees of the cup were concerned about its ability to stand up to future use. 

At this point, an exact replica was made, and the Original Dominion Cup was put in the trophy room vault at the Hockey Hall of Fame. 


2) Presentation Cup

The authenticated version or “Presentation Cup” was created in 1963 by Montreal silversmith Carl Petersen. NHL president Clarence Campbell felt that the original bowl was becoming too thin and fragile, and thus requested a duplicate trophy as a replacement.

The Presentation Cup is the one that is in heavy use. 

It is the Stanley Cup that you will see awarded to the players and carry around the ice after they win the Stanley Cup finals. It is the Stanley Cup that you see in the parade. It is the Stanley Cup that each of the players get to take home with them for a day in the summer. 

While it is at the Hockey Hall of Fame, sometimes, it can be found mostly on the road. It has a busy travel schedule of over 200 days per year away from its home at the Hockey Hall of Fame. 

How can you tell if you are seeing the Presentation Cup? Well, there are two main ways. 

The first is there is a seal of the Hockey Hall of Fame that is on the bottom of the cup that you can see when the players lift the cup over their heads. Now, unfortunately when you see the cup there is no way you can check this out, because you cannot pick it up.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to lift the Stanley Cup up – however, you can only do this if you actually win it or are good friends with someone who does. 

The second was is that you can look for the errors on the Stanley Cup. Yes, there are numerous errors on the Stanley Cup that have never been fixed.

The easiest one to spot is in the 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers championship. Peter Pocklington, the owner of the Oilers, had his Dad’s name Basil Pocklington engraved amongst the management and players. However, you are not allowed to list people who have had no substantive role in helping the team win the Cup so the Hall of Fame put a number of large ‘XXXXX’ through the name.

So if you see all the XXXXX in the 1984 Oilers you know you are looking at the Presentation Cup. 


3) Hockey Hall of Fame Cup

When the Presentation Cup is fulfilling its duties at all of the various events they want to have a Stanley Cup to display at the Hockey Hall of Fame. So, enter in the Hockey Hall of Fame Cup.

This replicated permanent cup was made in 1983 as a stand in when the presentation Cup is not able to be displayed

The easiest way to tell if you are seeing the Hockey Hall of Fame Cup is to look and see if the errors have been fixed. 

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Again, the easiest one to look for is to see if there is an XXXXX over Basil Pocklington in the 1984 Edmonton Oilers. The XXXXX or Basil Pocklington’s name do not appear on this trophy.

This error and all of the other errors have been fixed for the Hockey Hall of Fame Cup.

This is the Stanley Cup I saw when I went to the Hockey Hall of Fame, which is not surprising as I went on the summer and the Stanley Cup will be touring all of the player locations at that time. 

I have seen the Presentation Cup when it came to Calgary, and one of the coolest things to look for is Basil’s name crossed out. 


Related Questions

Do teams get a copy of the Stanley Cup?

No, there are no more Stanley Cups being replicated. In other major sports like MLB, NBA, and the NFL each team is given a replica of their respective trophy, but not in the NHL.

A team will get to keep the Stanley Cup for celebration purposes during the summer, but it is given back to the trustees of the Hockey Hall of Fame at the start of the next regular season. 

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