HALIFAX - The Halifax Mooseheads will not be following in the footsteps of the previous two Memorial Cup champions and allowing their players to each spend 24 hours with the trophy.
© Metro Halifax
Halifax Mooseheads defenceman Trey Lewis, left, and right winger Stefan Fournier pose with the Memorial Cup after defeating the Portland Winterhawks in the finals in Saskatoon, Sask., on Sunday, May 26, 2013.
General Manager Cam Russell says the decision was made by the organization on its own, and the players were notified last month.
“We thought about it long and hard,” Russell said on Monday. “We are not going to ship it around from town to town, to player and player.”
The Saint John Sea Dogs, in 2011, and the Shawinigan Cataractes, in 2012, were the last two teams who allowed each of their players to get the trophy for the day. However, the Memorial Cup ended up getting badly damaged, including last year when the 94-year-old Cup was reportedly bashed in and some hockey player figurines went missing.
After a story about the damage made its way into a Quebec newspaper last year, QMJHL commissioner Gilles Courteau issued a statement condemning the trophy’s treatment.
“The Memorial Cup was donated in 1919 to honour Canada’s war fallen,” Courteau said in that statement. “It is unfortunate and deplorable to see it in such a state.”
Instead of giving it to its players for a day, Russell said the team has been putting it on display throughout the municipality – including at the IWK Health Centre, Department of National Defence, and at local minor hockey rinks.
“We felt it would be better served doing that with the trophy,” Russell said.
He said the Cup did make a trip to Quebec already with head coach Dominique Ducharme, and Mooseheads players from the province were able to have family photos with it. He also said if a player wants the trophy in Halifax – to get photos taken with family and friends – it will be made available.