December 30, 1896: Ernie McLea helps his team win the Stanley Cup. He was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1876. He went to Bishop’s College School in Lennoxville and met two of his future teammates there. He went on to McGill University and played both rugby and cricket while there. He joined the senior Montreal Victorias for the 1896 season. They were playing the Winnipeg Victorias for the Stanley Cup in a one-game playoff. McLea scored a hat trick during the game, the first ever during Stanley Cup play. One of his scores was the winning goal scored two minutes before the game ended with a 6-5 score. He played five seasons with the Victorias and scored 17 goals in 24 regular season games. After retiring, he stayed with hockey and became an on-ice official.
A hat trick is making three goals in a game. The term was first used in 1858 when HH Stephenson took three wickets with three consecutive deliveries while playing cricket. A collection was held for Stephenson and he was brought a hat filled with the donations from grateful fans. The term first saw print in 1878. It became popular in North America in the 1940s when the National Hockey League began using the term. Hat tricks in test cricket are extremely rare with only 41 recorded. In hockey, it has become customary for fans to throw their hats onto the ice after witnessing a hat trick. A natural hat trick is even trickier and the three scores must be made consecutively.
The Stanley Cup is the championship trophy awarded to the winner of the Stanley Cup Finals held by the National Hockey League. Originally commission in 1892 as the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, it is named after Lord Stanley of Preston who was Governor General of Canada then. He awarded the cup to the top-ranking amateur ice hockey club in Canada. It was first awarded in 1893 to Montreal HC. In 1915, the two professional hockey organizations the National Hockey Association and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association decided their respective championship teams would play each other and the winner would take the cup.
Eventually, the cup came to be the symbol of victory in the National Hockey League. There are three cups: the original Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, the authenticated Presentation Cup, and the Replica Cup at the Hall of Fame. The NHL does not actually own the trophy, but uses it in agreement with the two Trustees of the Cup. Unlike other professional sports trophies, a new cup is not made each year. Winning teams get to keep the cup until a new winner gets to bring the prize home. Today, the playoffs are an elimination tournament consisting of four rounds of best of seven series. Eight teams from each of the two conferences qualify to begin. The Finals will be being on April 15, 2015 for the current season.
A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be. – Wayne Gretzky
All hockey players are bilingual. They know English and profanity. – Gordie Howe
Hockey is a tough, physical game, and it always should be. – Mario Lemieux
You see a hockey player, you’d never know he’s a professional athlete. But you put the skates on him, and he becomes a beast. – Junior Seau
Also on this day: Once in a Blue Moon – In 1982, the only total eclipse of a blue moon in the entire century took place.
Countess Bathory – In 1610, the Blood Countess was stopped.
Ted on the Loose – In 1977, Ted Bundy once again escaped from prison.
Not So Special – In 1924, Edwin Hubble announced that we were not alone.