Touching trophies is never more contentious than with the Stanley Cup itself. This is also a modern superstition because in the old days players on the winning team got to take the trophy into the dressing room after the game and nothing more. The league took the trophy back to the NHL offices in Montreal the next day, and the sacred Cup sat in a small safe until the following year, when it was again hauled out for a couple days.
But in 1993, the NHL started to allow each player and staff member of the winning team to have a day with the Cup. The team kept it for several days after winning it, culminating in the Cup parade through the downtown city streets (or, in the case of New Jersey, the arena parking lot), and throughout the summer players have taken it to towns, hospitals, golf courses, and mountaintops all over the world.
DON’T TOUCH STANLEY UNLESS YOU’VE EARNED THE RIGHT NHL Photo Gallery
However, the more Stanley travels, the more he is exposed for the world to touch and enjoy and be photographed with. For any serious hockey player, though, the rule is very simple. If you touch the Cup before having won it, forget it you never will.
This superstition was painfully observed by Jordan Staal and his brothers Marc and Jared. The incredible Staal family consists of four brothers. Eric plays for the Carolina Hurricanes; Jordan is with the Pittsburgh Penguins; Marc is with the New York Rangers; and, the baby, Jared, is on the road to the NHL.
In 2002, Eric, the eldest, helped the Hurricanes to a surprise Cup victory in his rookie season, and, of course, in the summer he took the Cup back to the family farm. The other brothers, all with their eyes on the same prize at some point down the road, had to be very careful. They were in awe of their big brother for winning the Cup, but they didn’t want to get carried away and jinx their own chances of winning it. So they celebrated with Eric, from a distance.
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