Put skates on your coin collection, and add a puck
- Published: Oct 19, 2015, 6 AM
Thirty teams, including seven in Canada, began the 2015–2016 National Hockey League regular season on Oct. 7 in pursuit of the ultimate prize, Lord Stanley’s Cup.
The Stanley Cup has been the official prize for the NHL’s championship winner since 1947, and unofficially since 1926. The NHL’s season is young, and as the new quest for the cup begins, it may be the right time to focus on collecting coins reflecting the popular pastime.
Ice hockey is a popular sport not only in the United States and Canada, but in many European and Eastern European countries. Consequently, coins celebrating the sport are available from several nations and could form a themed collection.
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Canada’s Coin for the Stanley Cup
The National Hockey League was founded in 1917, and by 1926 was the only major hockey league remaining from the turbulent early days of the sport.
Though founded in Canada, most of the league’s teams now are located in the United States, reflecting the growth in the game’s popularity. Canada has traditionally been the most represented nation when it comes to players, though the number of U.S. and European players has increased in recent years.
The Stanley Cup is the oldest sports trophy in North America. The Stanley Cup is named for Lord Frederick Arthur Stanley, who was governor-general of Canada and the patriarch of a family that played and promoted the sport in its early days.
Originally commissioned in 1892 as the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, it was awarded to Canada’s top-ranking amateur ice hockey club. The first cup was awarded in 1893 to Montreal Hockey Club, and professional teams became eligible for the award in 1906.
The Stanley Cup is unique among modern American professional major league sports in that a new award is not made each year. Instead, the same award is shared annually with the winner before it moves to the next year’s winner.
The Stanley Cup originally started as a bowl, but bands were added to allow room for subsequent winners’ names to be engraved. Additional bands made the bowl unwieldy, and the form and size of the award has been changed over time to address the issue.
During the 1957–1958 season, a new trophy was created, and the original went into the Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum in Toronto. Since then, when a band becomes full, it is removed and placed in the museum; a new band replaces it on the award, to maintain the award’s size.
In 1993, the Royal Canadian Mint celebrated the centennial of the Stanley Cup as the subject of the nation’s annual silver dollar. The .925 fine silver coin’s reverse features at center a well-padded hockey player in modern uniform advancing; another player in a uniform of the 1890s skates in the same stance behind him, in the coin’s left field. A depiction of the modern Stanley Cup is in the forefront at right, while the original cup is depicted as in the background, to the left of the historically suited player. The legend about the edge reads CANADA DOLLAR at top and the bilingual inscription STANLEY CUP 1893–1993 COUPE STANLEY below. .
Brilliant Uncirculated and Proof versions of the coin were issued, and each coin today trades in the $25 to $35 U.S. range.
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