Another exciting season of NHL hockey is winding down. April 15th marks the beginning of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. That means 16 of the league’s best teams – 8 from the Eastern Conference and 8 from the Western Conference – will square off to find out who is the NHL’s top team.
In celebration of hockey’s approaching postseason, here are some fun facts about the history of the game and the Stanley Cup:
- The first organized hockey game on record took place on March 3, 1875 in Montreal. Many of the players were students of McGill University.
- During hockey’s early years in the 1800s, the first pucks were made of frozen cow dung. Luckily, makers of hockey pucks have left the manure in the pasture and upgraded to vulcanized rubber.
- The Stanley Cup was named after a British politician named Lord Stanley of Preston. Lord Stanley was introduced to hockey by his sons while serving as the sixth Governor General of Canada from 1888-1893.
- The first Stanley Cup was made at Lord Stanley’s request in 1892, but it wasn’t awarded in the NHL until 1926.
- Today there are three different Stanley Cups: the original commissioned by Lord Stanley, a “Presentation Cup” and a replica that resides permanently at the Hall of Fame in Toronto.
- With 23 wins, the Montreal Canadians have won more Stanley Cups than any other team in the NHL. The Toronto Maple Leafs have the second most Stanley Cup wins at 13.
- Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux are the only two players to tally more than 40 points (goals + assists) in a single postseason.
- The Conn Smythe Trophy is awarded to the player deemed most valuable to his team during the Stanley Cup. The trophy has been awarded 48 times to 42 different players since 1965.
By Justin Papp