Hockey’s top prize will always have a place to call home in Ottawa.
One hundred and twenty-five years ago, Canada’s then governor general Lord Stanley of Preston, a hockey dad himself, bought a silver cup for 10 Guineas, or $50 Canadian at the time. At the corner of Elgin and Sparks Streets, he gifted this cup to Canada’s top-ranking amateur hockey club.
In 1926, the National Hockey League adopted the cup, christening it the Stanley Cup, and made it the top prize in professional hockey.
Now, steps away from where Stanley originally handed over the cup, a monument to mark the gift is going to be erected.
For the organizing committee, Lord Stanley’s Gift Monument, this monument will act as a place to forever mark the original gift by Stanley in Canada’s history.
On March 18, Canada’s current Governor General David Johnston was on hand at a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of this monument.
“My predecessor Lord Stanley would be so pleased to see us here, at the corner of Elgin and Sparks Streets in Ottawa. The heart of Canada’s capital is a fitting place for this monument,” Johnston said at the ceremony.
Johnston went on to say the cup is a symbol of Canada, of excellence, of grit, grace and hard work.
“This monument honours the legacy and will further cement the Stanley Cup’s place in the life of our country,” he said.
Commenting on the unique tradition of the cup where players and staff from the winning team each get time to spend with the cup, ultimately having the cup go all over the world, Johnston said he thinks this new monument will offer people from all over Canada and the world who visit it a chance to share in the glory of the Stanley Cup.
Braving the cold morning temperatures on March 18, young hockey players from the Ottawa Valley Silver Seven donned jerseys to represent the teams of the NHL at the ceremony..
Proud moms Joanne McNally of Carp and Mandy Vanvliet of Stittsville said it was a great opportunity for their boys to participate in.
“I think they would rather be cold and celebrating this part of history than not be here,” McNally said.
George Hunter, president of Lord Stanley’s Gift Monument, took the moment to reflect on the hockey dream and those of the boys standing in front of him.
“The monument, the ground-breaking for the which we celebrate today is all about dreams,” Hunter said, adding that the simple bowl in which Stanley purchased has gone on to represent the ultimate achievement and dream in hockey.
According to the committee, the historic, simple silver bowl donated by Stanley is what inspired the winning design for the sculpture.
The sculpture will rise from a white paved “hockey rink” with imbedded stainless steel lines evoking skate marks and 39 granite discs engraved with the names of the Stanley Cup winners from 1893 to 2017.
A 1.4 metre black granite bench in the form of a “hockey puck” will complete the ensemble.
The monument will be donated to the city and unveiled in December 2017.
The unveiling will be part of the 2017 celebrations of Canada’s 150th anniversary, the 100th anniversary of the National Hockey League, and the 25th anniversary of the Ottawa Senators.