Friday, January 28, 2005

Our Culture. Our Heritage. Our Game. Our Cup.

Tom Thurston, Mark Suits and Michael Payne  Posted by Hello

Our name is forever etched into the bowl at the very top of the sacred Stanley Cup. It clearly says Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup - From Stanley of Preston.

That’s the Dominion of Canada, folks. And that’s Lord Frederick Arthur Stanley of Preston, Earl of Derby, and our 6th Governor General, who gave us the cup on March 18 1892.

On that now historic evening, Lord Kilcoursie relayed the contents of a note from Lord Stanley to those in attendance at a dinner for the Ottawa Amateur Athletic Association:

"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 of Canada... I am willing to give a cup which shall be held from year to year by the winning team."

He intended the Cup to be awarded to the best team in Canada. As a challenge cup. Year to year.

Free Stanley is the brainchild of Edmontonians Tom Thurston, Mark Suits and Michael Payne but it carries with it the hearts, minds and spirits of hockey starved Canadians who are gearing up to dream a dream we thought had been iced for the year.

And we want the cup back.

When the Cup was formally ceded to the NHL it was with the understanding that it would continue to be awarded annually through the NHL providing the league continued "to be the world's leading professional hockey league as determined by its playing calibre."

Moe Litman, Associate Dean and Professor of Trust Law at the University of Alberta, points out that "It seems to me that the argument is there that this year, the NHL is not the best league. They can't be, because they're not playing. It's not an abstract requirement."

And while the NHL gradually disintegrates through one lost season and contemplates the loss of future seasons, all of us are being denied the Stanley Cup.

"If you guys don't want to play for the Stanley Cup, that's up to you, but you can't just hold it hostage from hockey fans," says Mark Suits, the webmaster. I agree with him.

It really is our cup. It even has our name on it.

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