Skating the Stanley Cup Around the Ice Began With Terrible Ted

It’s one of the richest traditions in all of sports. The NHL uses video of it in countless promos, culled from decades of occurrences.

It’s the skating around the ice of the Stanley Cup, which is something I actually got to experience first hand in 2009, as I covered the Cup Finals and was on the ice when the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrated at JLA. Yeah, I got hit with some champagne during the festivities!

But it was Ted Lindsay, old Terrible Ted himself, who started the tradition, in the 1950s.

Teddy told me all about it in 2006, before we engaged in a hockey roundtable for the magazine I was working for at the time.

I had made mention of skating the Cup around, casually, making small talk with Johnny Wilson, who was also on the roundtable.

“I started that!” Lindsay chimed in.

Do tell.

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“Up to that point, Clarence Campbell (then NHL president) would give the captain the Cup and the teams would just skate off the ice with it. They put the Cup on a folding table, you snapped a few pictures and that was it.”

Ted didn’t think that was right.

“I thought the fans should be a part of it,” Lindsay told me. “So it was just an impulsive decision. I didn’t plan it. Campbell gave me the Cup and instead of skating to the dressing room, I skated it around, holding the Cup for the fans at Olympia to see.”

Nice.

“Campbell wasn’t too happy with me, but I didn’t care,” Lindsay said, smiling that familiar, scar-faced smile.

Lindsay didn’t care about much when he played—other than winning.

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