Lord Stanley of Preston’s Cup touched down for the first time in China on the evening of Saturday, September 8. The undisputed symbol of ice hockey excellence, the 126-year-old Stanley Cup is currently visiting Beijing, before heading to Hong Kong on September 11.
After a short stint in the ‘Fragrant Harbor,’ the Cup will cross the line to Shenzhen, where it will be involved in a number of NHL promotional activities in the lead up to next Saturday’s preseason NHL match between the Calgary Flames and Boston Bruins.
Speculation was rife this summer that the esteemed trophy would be paying China a visit in September. This theory received official comment back in July, when the NHL’s executive vice-president of media and international strategy, David Proper, told That’s that plans were in place to bring the trophy to the Middle Kingdom.
The Cup and its caretaker, Keeper of the Cup Phil Pritchard, have been busy since their arrival in Beijing. Yesterday morning, the Cup visited the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall for a photo shoot that resulted in some pretty iconic images.
Image via the NHL
Image via the NHL
After the Wall visit, the Cup was on display yesterday afternoon at Bloomage Live in Wukesong, Beijing. Once in Hong Kong, the Cup will visit Taikoo Mall from 1-3pm on September 12.
In Shenzhen, the Cup will be on display at Coco Park on September 13 from 4-8pm as part of the NHL’s Fan Fest. Additionally, two former NHL players, Lanny McDonald and Alex Tanguay, will attend the event.
On September 15, hockey fans will be able to view and take photos with Lord Stanley’s Cup outside Universiade Sports Center in Shenzhen from 11am-2.15pm, provided they have tickets to the preseason game that starts inside the stadium at 2.30pm. (Don’t have tickets to the Shenzhen match between the Calgary Flames and Boston Bruins? Purchase your ticket now by clicking here).
After the match, the Stanley Cup will head to Terrace in Shekou, where it will be on display from 7-9pm as the restaurant and bar hosts its ‘NHL After Party’ event.
For the uninitiated, the Stanley Cup’s story began back in 1892, when Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley, aka Lord Stanley of Preston, purchased the trophy in London for 10 guineas, which was about USD50 at the time, according to nhl.com editorial director Shawn Roarke. Lord Stanley, the Governor General of Canada in 1982, purchased the ornamental cup to present to the Dominion of Canada’s champion hockey team.
Lord Stanley of Preston. Image via Wikimedia
In the years since, the Cup has grown considerably, now standing almost 90 centimeters tall, according to nhl.com. Unlike the trophies awarded by most major sporting leagues, a new Cup is not produced every year: at the conclusion of each championship, the winning team’s name – as well as the team’s roster (including coaches and management) – are added to the trophy.
Looking to score tickets to witness the NHL’s Boston Bruins and Calgary Flames duke it out in the Middle Kingdom? We have you covered, hockey fans, with links to purchase tickets to the Shenzhen game here, and the Beijing game here!
With files from Tom Smith.
[Cover image via the NHL]