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Is it wrong to touch the Stanley Cup if you didn’t ‘earn’ it?

Jul 27, 2011, 12:15 PM EDT

Zdeno Chara AP

Forgive me for stating the obvious, but fans embrace their given sports in a wide variety of ways.

Some associate themselves so much with their jersey-wearing heroes that they refer to the team’s highs and lows by using the pronoun “We.” Others enjoy nothing less than nitpicking every transaction or coaching decision to the point of exhaustion. There are even a shameful few who will punch a fan of an opposing team to show some of misplaced loyalty.

If there’s one thing that can unite the eclectic group of people that is hockey fans, it’s the glorious shiny splendor that is the Stanley Cup, though. Fans pay tribute to the silver chalice with replicas (and many other number of things) just to mimic the act of raising that great trophy.

But even with the Cup, there are disagreements. For some fans, it’s just not right to touch the Stanley Cup if you weren’t (literally) part of the team that won it. Biz Jacobs of Stanley Cup of Chowder considered herself one of those people, until she found herself right next to its awe-inspiring sheen.

Nonetheless I found a place in line and told myself a picture with the Stanley Cup would be plenty. The line grew thinner and thinner as fans departed after their moment of glory. It finally got to be my turn and I stood right next to it, not daring to touch it, but tempted to for the first time in my life. I didn’t have much time with it, but I took a quick scan of as many names as I could. And in that moment, I looked to the camera, and it was as if the cameraman had read my mind.

“Put your arm around it,” he said.

I brought myself back into lucidity and said that I had not done anything to deserve touching it, but was quickly scoffed at and told, “And you will probably never have that opportunity to win it on the ice.”

And that’s when it hit me. I reached over, leaned into it and touched my hand to the front of the cup as he snapped the photo.

Personally, I’m not the superstitious type* so I don’t really have a problem with fans touching the Cup. Honestly, it wouldn’t bother me if Alex Ovechkin (or some other active player who hasn’t won the Cup yet) touched it, either. If you ask me, the only curse that comes with touching the Cup is simply not being good enough to win it.

But what do you think, PHT readers? Is it bad form to touch the Stanley Cup or not? Let us know how you feel in the comments.

* – Well, not when it comes to touching trophies, anyway. (Throws salt over shoulder.)

  1. ThatGuy - Jul 27, 2011 at 12:27 PM

    If your dream of winning it is still alive(NHL, AHL or even top prospect), I wouldn’t touch just by Tradition not superstition. But as a keyboard jockey, if I got a chance i’d be all over it like a teenager at prom.

  2. BlackandGoldMNBruinsFan - Jul 27, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    I agree with ThatGuy…if you, at some point, could possibly be in the quest for the Cup, you shouldn’t touch it. (At least, I wouldn’t). But as a fan/writer/whatever who has no chance of being on a team that wins it, then fire away. Just show it the proper respect it deserves.

    Here’s another valid question. If you are in the farm system for the championship team (say, the Providence Bruins), can you touch the Cup?

  3. demons87 - Jul 27, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    What qualifies as having earned it?

    Is it the NHL’s definition of 41 games or a playoff game or it something different?

    Does a Providence Bruin who was called up for 6 games with Boston when they were real thin on defense mid year, qualify as having earned it? What if he had scored a game winning goal and that helped them clinch their playoff seeding?

    What about Blake Wheeler who played 58 games for the B’s before being traded. Did he earn it? I think they all helped earn it even if you skated a single shift for the team.

  4. dohpey28 - Jul 27, 2011 at 5:11 PM

    Since I am never going to play professional hockey, I would be all over it.

  5. obsolete777 - Jul 27, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    Demons87, good questions. I would say that it would be up to that players own conscience as to whether he earned it or not, and should touch it.
    However, I think hoisting it over head should probably be reserved to those players who will actually get their name on the cup. Obviously, your Providence Bruins example player wouldn’t get his name on it.
    When Adam Burish brought it to Madison last year, I touched it. But I am not a player.

  6. emperorzero - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    Just because I’ll never have the opportunity to win the Stanley Cup doesn’t mean I have the right to touch it. Because I’ll never score a game-winning goal, or block a shot, take a hit, get in a fight, etc. doesn’t give me a pass over those who do these very things to get their name on the Cup. I think of all the stories about the Stanley Cup (babies being baptized in it, spending the night at the bottom of a pool) and I just don’t think mere mortals as ourselves should defile the grail.

  7. donttouchthedirtypenny - Jul 27, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    Just touch it. Oh yes. Touch it.

  8. nhlbruins90 - Jul 27, 2011 at 10:19 PM

    I’ve always understood the “don’t touch” rule to apply only to players. Who would care a whit if I touched the Cup? I doubt if any player cares.

  9. thebigwhitecat - Jul 28, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    When the Blackhawks brought the Stanley Cup to Wrigley last summer for a White Sox-Cubs game, Sox manager Ozzie Guillen grabbed the Cup by both ends and held it over his head in the classic pose. Now THAT was wrong.

  10. polegojim - Jul 30, 2011 at 11:01 AM

    Players: The superstitious stuff is crap, players should not touch out of respect. Touching it has long been the right ‘earned’ by being on the team that wins it. I support that.

    Fans: Go for it.

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