The clock is ticking, and while I stand firm in my belief that no one, not Gary Bettman, not Donald Fehr, not 30 filthy-rich NHL team owners, not hundreds of very well-off NHL players would be so stupid that they would flush billions of dollars down the toilet by cancelling the 2013 NHL season, there’s still a possibility that these maroons will be that foolish. It makes one's head spin to think that could happen, but if it does, if the season is scrapped, the Stanley Cup still needs to be awarded.
The Stanley Cup has gone unrewarded twice during its history. The first time in was in 1919, when a Spanish Flu epidemic caused the series between the Montreal Canadiens and Seattle Metropolitans to end tied at two games apiece. The second time was in 2005, when the NHL season was canceled.
As we sit on the precipice of a repeat of 2005, we know one thing that we didn’t readily know then, that the Stanley Cup does not belong to the NHL. The Cup is administered by two trustees, Ian “Scotty” Morrison and Brian O’Neill, and these two men can decide, if they so desire, to award the Cup to a team outside the NHL, but that’s something they don’t plan on doing.
Some will say that awarding the Cup to a non-NHL team would be a farce, but I ask, would it be any more of a farce than what is currently going on between the bickering NHLPA and NHL? I would say not, not by a long shot.
Someone that agrees that the Cup should be awarded to a non-NHL team if the 2013 NHL season is canceled is Brent Rathgeber, a member of the Canadian Parliament.
Rathgeber took to his blog and stated:
I propose that the trustees exercise that very discretion and award the Stanley Cup to the best amateur or beer league or women’s or sledge hockey team in Canada. That would allow the trustees to fulfill their obligation to exercise their duties in the best interests of the original purpose of the trust, which was to promote amateur hockey in Canada.
I have called for this to take place in the past, and I honestly believe it’s the right thing to do. It will show the NHL that they don’t own the game of hockey, that they don’t own the Stanley Cup, that there are individuals out there that play the game because they love it and not because they can get rich from it.
If the 2013 season is scrapped, I expect the pressure to be increased on this matter, and I would hope that fans of the sport would throw their unmitigated support behind the movement.
NHL season or no NHL season, the Stanley Cup must be awarded in 2013.