Vancouver Was Awesome: ‘V’ is for victory and ‘C’ for The Cup

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In 96 years, how will we remember June 15, 2011?

Surely it will not be a day of vainglory, but instead a day of victory?

We may indeed recall an uproarious celebration over a large cup — the return of a silver crown jewel to a fair coastal city whose green crown jewel is a park from the same namesake; a grove where Lord Stanley himself once “poured… champagne from its bottle slowly to the ground.” (Early Vancouver, Vol. 7, p. 293 [PDF])

Seven years after he created his cup for a small eastern hockey club, Lord Stanley set foot in Vancouver for the dedication of a grand city park. Twenty-six more years would pass before The Cup followed him, when the Vancouver Millionaires defeated Ottawa in the finals on March 26, 1915.

The Stanley Cup engraving in 1915: Vancouver (Photo by Dave O/Uncleweed)‘Vancouver’ adorns The Stanley Cup engraving for 1915. (Photo by Dave O/Uncleweed)

And now, 35,145 days — 96 years, 81 days, and 24 leap days — has passed since a hockey team from Vancouver has won the great prize. Surely it is time for Vancouver to regain The Cup?

Surely, with the prize in hand, we can purge it of bad luck by correcting an unfortunate omission?

And when The Cup does come back to Vancouver — this year, next, sometime — it will be time to think about how we will remember it.

In 96 more years, will we still know and use the team’s name, or will ‘Canucks’ join the ‘Millionaires’ in a gentle repose?

Will Rogers Arena off Chinatown join the realm of the great Denman Arena off Coal Harbour?

Will the rules change again, so much that even the day’s biggest fans wouldn’t recognize the game that was played today?

Ninety-six years is a long time in the human scale. It is an even longer time in hockey years.

In a matter of hours we will know whether today is an occasion to rejoin Lord Stanley in silver and in spirit. We may wake up from this dream tonight to find ourselves doing what he did best once long ago in Vancouver: pouring out champagne, on a very happy occasion.

View of Coal Harbour showing the Vancouver Rowing Club and the Denman Arena in 1913. (Van. Archives ref. PAN NXVII)Coal Harbour, with the Vancouver Rowing Club and the Denman Arena in 1913. (Van. Archives ref. PAN NXVII)

The Denman Arena in 1913. (Van. Archives ref. PAN NXVII)The 10,000-seat Denman Arena in 1913. (Van. Archives ref. PAN NXVII)

The Vancouver Millionaires in 1914 (Vancouver Archives Ref. CVA 99-126)The Vancouver Millionaires in 1914 (Vancouver Archives Ref. CVA 99-126)

Vancouver Millionaires of the PCHA from the 1914–15 PCHA season, in which they would win the Stanley Cup.
Back row (left to right): Smokey Harris, Cyclone Taylor, Pete Muldoon, Mickey MacKay, Frank Nighbor
Front row (left to right): Frank Patrick, Si Griffis, Lloyd Cook, Hugh Lehman (Source: Wikipedia)