Bill Geist's Date With Stanley

The Stanley Cup travels the world. CBS

The Stanley Cup is the holy grail of hockey and the rock star of sports trophies — one you won't find behind a velvet rope or locked in some stuffy trophy case.

People are always shocked to see this distinguished and revered silver cup out and about with the masses — rather like seeing Queen Elizabeth at a bus stop. The Stanley Cup draws crowds and cameras wherever it goes, and the cup goes everywhere.

It doesn't go alone. Mike Bolt of the Hockey Hall of Fame is the Stanley Cup's chaperone, butler, valet, traveling companion, friend and protector. He calls it just plain "Stanley."

"There's not a day that goes by that I don't get a little tingle from this thing," he told Sunday Morning correspondent Bill Geist.

The cup has more adventures and leads a better life than some people. It's a world traveler and meets celebrities almost on a weekly basis.

"I mean, it's a celebrity in its own right," Bolt said.

Indeed, Stanley is a matinee idol, appearing with cast members of the "Guiding Light" soap opera, and a prime time star, in a recent episode of "Boston Legal."

The cup is special. Just ask former hockey star Adam Graves who's won it twice.

"And I remember getting that cup in my hands and just thinking, 'This can't be true, it can't be true,'" he said. "To have it in your hands and know that your name is going on it is a special feeling."

Each and every member of the championship team has his name engraved on the same cup that's been around since 1892 when Lord Stanley, governor general of Canada, donated it.

When there's no more room on the cup, the older names are retired to the hallowed hockey hall of fame in Toronto. Geist's wife's grandfather, Herb Lewis, has his name on there. He was captain of two Stanley Cup teams back in the 1930s

"This is the same one that all the greats have touched, you know, and all their teammates. As a fan, you get to come up and touch and look at the same thing that the actual players hold onto," Bolt said. "The holy grail of hockey, absolutely."

It comes complete with dents, scratches and misspellings.

"It adds character for sure," Bolt said. "For example, there no 's' in 'Islanders.' Now that one, I don't know how you spell Islanders wrong, I don't know."

But the most amazing thing about the Stanley Cup is that the winning players each get to take it home for 24 hours.

"Hockey's such an international game that we could be in the United States one day and Russia the next," Bolt said. "Then off to Sweden and the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Belarus, Siberia. It's been in the Arctic Circle of Russia, Sweden, and Canada. Last week it was out in L.A."

What the players do with it during those 24 hours is his business.

"I mean, guys have taken it on top of mountains," Bolt said. "They've taken it fishing where it's in a boat and the guys put bait in it."

They might take it to a children's hospital — or they might take it out for a wild night of partying. It has been in Mario Lemeiux's swimming pool.

Lucky for Geist, he got to spend 24 hours with the cup. They went to the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and even the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where Stanley met some of his ancestors — Roman silver-smithing made over 2,000 years ago.

Stanley was originally a $48.67 fruit bowl. Over the years, it has had its fill of foods and beverages.

"I've seen cereal, ice cream, spaghetti, pooteen which is French fries, gravy and cheese, Thai food, slurries or slushies, ice cream sundaes," Bolt said. "Martinis, margaritas, beer, champagne, slushies. It holds 12 beers."

Geist took Stanley to lunch at an outdoor café and the cup got its own hotdog.

Geist even took Stanley rowing in Central Park for a brief respite from the swarms of fans.

Before capping off the day with the lights of Broadway, Stanley made an appearance in Times Square. One man, in the car with his girlfriend, couldn't contain his excitement.

"Is that real, is that the real deal?" he asked. "I need to be riding with you all. I'm here ridin' with my lady — make a trade or something. You're doing all right, guy, y'all are doing way better — you have a great night, man, alright."

It was a 24-hour dream date with the Stanley Cup.
  • Caitlin Johnson

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