Stanley Cup to an amateur team?

Posted: December 27, 2012

Please welcome the 2012-13 Stanley Cup champion Fort Saskatchewan Chiefs?

If a member of the Canadian parliament gets his way, it might happen in June.

Brent Rathgeber, a lawyer and Conservative Party MP who represents Edmonton-St. Albert, Alberta, says Lord Stanley's Cup should be awarded to a Canadian amateur team such as the senior-level Chinook Hockey League's Chiefs if the NHL labor fight isn't settled in time to save the season.

Rathgeber suggested in a blog post last week that the Cup could be the prize in a national competition to determine the best non-pro team in Canada. He said the original purpose of the Cup's trustees was to promote amateur hockey in Canada.

"The Stanley Cup does not belong to the NHL," he wrote, "it belongs to Canada. This is both historically and legally accurate."

He pointed out that the Cup was donated in 1892 by Lord Stanley, the governor general of Canada, as the "Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup" to be awarded annually to the top-ranking amateur ice hockey club in the country. "The NHL only uses the Cup by agreement with the two trustees of the Cup; however, it does not own the Cup."

If the lockout is not resolved by the end of January, Rathgeber indicated, he might file a bill in Ottawa to establish such a national tournament for the Cup.

But before you head north to join your cousin Gord's beer-league team in Gananoque, consider that it may not be so easy for amateurs to pry the Stanley Cup loose from the pro league's grip.

A group of recreational players made a similar suggestion during the 2004-05 lockout, when they argued in court that the Stanley Cup wasn't the exclusive property of the NHL.

An out-of-court settlement said the Cup's trustees may have the option of awarding the prize to another team if there is no NHL champion, but they are not obligated to award it to anyone.


Contact Michael Harrington at

mharrington@phillynews.com.

This article contains information from the Associated Press.

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