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Lord Stanley's gift of Cup commemorated with a statue in shadow of Parliament

OTTAWA - Lord Stanley and the battered mug that represents hockey supremacy will get the rare honour of a new monument in the shadow of the Peace Tower.

A statue depicting Lord Stanley of Preston's donation of a "challenge cup" that is now hoisted over the sweaty brows of exhausted National Hockey League players every spring will be going up at the east end of Ottawa's Spark Street Mall.

Lord Stanley was Canada's sixth governor general when donated the cup on March 18, 1892 as an award to be presented annually to the Dominion's champion hockey team. It resembled more of a bowl then that was wider than it was tall.

The original cup was presented to winning teams until 1970, when it was replaced with a replica, dubbed the Presentation Cup. The original now resides in The Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Stanley was a British politician who moved to Canada when he was appointed governor general in 1888. His seven sons were all avid, well-known hockey players competing in amateur leagues in Ottawa. Their love of the game influenced their father's decision to donate the cup as a hockey trophy.

The monument, which is slated to be unveiled in Ottawa in 2017, will depict Lord Stanley and the original cup. A design competition is scheduled to open in 2014.

Paul Kitchen, who leads the committee behind the drive for the monument, said the history of Lord Stanley and his cup isn't well known and should be better commemorated in a hockey-obsessed country where the cup is nearly sacred.

"I can't think of a trophy that has more significance in this country than the Stanley Cup," he said.

"When people go to look at the trophy, a silence falls over them. They walk about in hushed tones, as if they were in a place of worship."

The original cup was a silver punch bowl Lord Stanley purchased in England for the princely sum of 10 guineas—about $50 at the time. As more and more names were engraved on the trophy, various bands and rings being added to accommodate until it acquired its current shape, earning it the nickname the "stovepipe cup."

The Cup has been stolen, tossed into the Rideau Canal, taken a shower with Steve Yzerman and trolled through various gentlemen's clubs on its way to becoming the holy grail of professional hockey.

In 1896, the Winnipeg Victorias started the practice of drinking champagne from the cup after victory. In 1950, Detroit Red Wings team captain Ted Lindsay became the first to lift the cup over his head and skate around the rink, which henceforth become a tradition.

The trophy has also travelled around the world, to such places as Russia, Japan, and Switzerland. It's even visited NATO troops in Afghanistan.

The original cup was presented to winning teams until 1970, when it was replaced with a replica, dubbed the Presentation Cup. The original now resides in The Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Ottawa city officials recommended placing the monument in a prominent location near Parliament Hill, at the major intersection of Sparks Street and Elgin.

There are a number of statues on Parliament Hill and in the parliamentary precinct, but this remains a singular honour. Almost all of those depicted in marble are former prime ministers or sovereigns. Some of the rare exceptions include Terry Fox and the Famous Five representing the women who fought have women recognized constitutionally as persons in 1929. The likeness of the Famous Five is located on the grounds of Parliament Hill. The representation of Terry Fox is directly across Wellington Street from the Peace Tower.

The committee behind the monument plans to draft a budget and start fundraising for its construction now that a location has been finalized.

Minister of Sport Bal Gosal released a statement congratulating the monument committee, calling the Stanley Cup "one of the world's most recognizable and cherished trophies and an enduring historical symbol of the spirit of competitive play."

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