Charles Corville

Lord Stanley’s Gift: The Hand-Picked Ornament

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By Ken Zurski

In 1891, Charles Colville, secretary for the Lord Frederick Stanley, the British appointed General Governor of Canada, was ordered to sail back to England and return with a hand-picked ornament.

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Charles Colville

Stanley had something particular in mind and Colville knew just where to look.

On Regent Street near Piccadilly Circus, he stepped into the shop of George Richmond and Collis Co. and spotted a “silver bowl lined with a gold gilt interior.”

Colville bought the bowl for 10 guineas, the equivalent of about 10-thousand U.S. dollars today.

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Stanley was ambivalent at first. “It looks like any other trophy,” he remarked.

Generally, though, he was pleased.

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Lord Frederick Stanley

In 1893, the first Stanley Cup, as it was called, was awarded to Montreal, the champions of the Ontario Hockey Association. Stanley, a big hockey supporter, offered the trophy as a gift.

The first Cup presentation however came with a dubious start.

Lord Stanley’s team was Ottawa. So animosity between the two teams was apparent. When Montreal was awarded the inaugural cup bearing Stanley’s name, only a few players were on hand.

Even more telling, no Montreal team officials bothered to show up.

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