Each season, the best hockey teams from all around come together to battle for the Stanley Cup. Only the best team can win, going down in history alongside some of the most prestigious players. Part of the tradition is to pass on the trophy, though there are some mysteries surrounding it.
One example is what is engraved in the bowl of the Stanley Cup. While the outside is filled with rows of engravings of the roster of the winning team, the inside is filled with something much more historical. It features the names of the 1906-07 champs (Montreal Wanderers) and the 1914-15 champs (Vancouver Millionaires), along with H. Broadbent. It wasn’t until later in the 1900s that the engravings we know and love today began.
What Is the History of the Stanley Cup?
Back in the late 1800s, Lord Stanley of Preston, an avid follower of the sport, decided to award the overall winner with a prize. That is where the Stanly cup came from, originally a big hunk of polished silver.
Part of the pride that came with winning the cup was engraving the names of the winners within, meaning that they would remain for all to see for centuries to come. Thus, the first official winners of the Stanley Cup added their names onto the cup.
Surprisingly, winners for some years after did not follow suit, skipping several before engraving came about again. The next engraving was in 1914, with another long period in between the next one. It wasn’t until 1924 that engraving became the standard.
Before it became what it is today, teams could decide to buy a ring or not, choosing to add their names, their team’s name, or even add their engravings elsewhere. It’s because of this that you’ll find the names of some clever, out-of-the-box thinkers that decided to add their names inside the cup.
What’s Engraved in The Bowl of the Stanley Cup?
Anyone who’s been up close enough to see the inside of the Stanley Cup may have noticed a little something on the inside, unable to distinguish what’s there. In total, there are 30 different names on the inside, all of them coming from the lucky teams that took the overall tournament.
A Look at the Matchups
The first team to engrave their names on the inside of the Stanley Cup were the Montreal Wanderers, followed by the Vancouver Millionaires. Here’s a look at how their matchups went and what led them to engrave their names on the inside.
Montreal Wanderers: 1906-07 Champions
Montreal has been a powerhouse for years, known as one of the toughest teams in hockey history. They held up to their name back in this two-game series against the Kenora Thistles, where they swept the win out from under them and declared themselves winners for the 1906-07 season.
Upon receiving the title of champions, they decided to do something a little different, taking the cup and engraving their roster onto the inside of the bowl. Though the reason they decided to do so is not known, they chose well, going down in hockey history forevermore.
You can still see the names engraved perfectly on the inside of the bowl, leaving their names to go on forever as the first team to engrave their names inside where there is limited space.
Vancouver Millionaires: 1914-15 Champions
There was a bit of a gap in between teams that decided to engrave their names on the inside. It wasn’t until 1914 that the overall winners mimicked the Wanderers, engraving their names on the inside of the Stanley Cup.
The Vancouver Millionaires went up against the Ottawa Senators, beating them out in a true underdog tale. Ottawa was certain that they had it in the bag, though Vancouver had something up their sleeve, wiping them out in three straight games.
They decided to boast a bit about their accomplishment and, apart from the names of the team’s players along with their manager added the line “Vancouver B.C./1914–15/Defeated Ottawa/3 Straight Games.”
H. Broadbent: Hall of Famer
While the other two circumstances are pretty normal, this one is still leaving many scratching their heads. H. Broadbent was indeed a great hockey player in his time, crowned a member of the hall of fame and winning the league scoring title.
He did go to the Stanley Cup and win with two teams, with his name on a few of the rings as well. On top of his name being on the outside, it’s also on the inside, upside down, and along the outer rim. It’s not known why it’s there and who put it there, creating a bit of mystery around the topic.
Unlike the other engravings, his seems a bit more amateur and is the wrong way, leading some to believe he or a diehard fan was behind the etchings. Broadbent did play consecutive seasons and was highly successful, though he did go off to World War I shortly after, ending his hockey career.
What Happens to the Rings when the Stanley Cup is Full?
The Stanley Cup is shrouded in history, with names of some of the best players of all time. As new teams come along and add rings around the cup, older ones get knocked off, taking up a spot in the hall of fame where they will forever remain.
When the topmost ring is taken off, another is added around the bottom and the winning team for that year can decide what they do. Most teams decide to add the names of all the players and the coaches, though it’s up to them to decide.
What About The Original Bowl?
The original bowl is the one that has the names engraved on the inside. It’s since become more fragile and is protected in the Hall of Fame. The Stanley Cup of today has an exact replica of the bowl, used to keep the sense of tradition alive and well.