The Stanley Cup is undoubtedly the most reckognizable trophy in all of sports. Whether you make six figures playing on national television or simply play in your driveway on a pair of rollerblades, every hockey enthusiasts has imagined what it would be like to hoist the cup, to skate around the ice and smudge fingerprints on the polished finish.
Every year, when the Finals come to an end, I always look forward to the cup presentation, no matter what team wins.
Every winner has to take the same grueling trip through the post-season and defy the odds, so there's a certain joy in watching anyone sigh in relief or scream to the heavens when they finally get to touch the Stanley Cup.
Here's a list of five favorite moments of the Stanley Cup that I've had the pleasure of watching in my lifetime.
The 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs were compiled of some of the greatest hockey series I've ever watched in my life. From the Habs eliminating both the Pens and the Caps in Game 7, to Philly winning four consecutive games, down 0-3 against the Bruins, to make history.
The true feel good story of that summer were the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. The roster consisted of a young core of super talented players like Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Dustin Byfuglien and many more.
Winning the cup is a once in a lifetime opportunity, unless your name is Marian Hossa. The superstar was making his third consecutive trip to the finals, all with different teams. He lost in Pittsburgh to Detroit, then flew to Motown and lost to Pittsburgh! The native of Slovakia surely figured he was getting Punk'd, but in 2010 the Hawks finally took home the prize and Hossa got to hold the cup in his arms.
One couldn't help but feel good about the sight of Hossa hoisting the cup and to watch how genuinely thrilled his teammates were for him to do so. It was a perfect display of camaraderie and determination.
Had Hossa lost a third straight cup, who knows what kind of legacy he would've left behind? Luckily, he'll never have to answer that question.
Scotty Bowman is a hockey legend, a class act that I've had the pleasure of watching coach and can truly say is one of my favorites to ever step foot in an arena.
No stranger to the Stanley Cup, Bowman has more rings than he has fingers. He's won a record nine championships as a coach and three as a member of the front office. The man simply defines success but his best cup win may have been in 2002, his final year as a coach in Detroit.
As the Red Wings clinched Game 5 on home ice, Bowman had already announced in February that he would finally walk away from the game, regardless of the season's outcome. Well, Scotty got one last tour with the Stanley Cup and did it in epic fashion.
After receiving the cup from captain Steve Yzerman, Bowman donned a pair of skates and hoisted Stanley above his head, sending Joe Louis arena in a frenzy as he took his final victory lap.
It was the kind of thing that even the most anti-Detroit Red Wings fans had to appreciate and one I'm glad to say I had the pleasure of having witnessed.
As a Habs fan, I can't say that watching the Boston Bruins hoist the Stanley Cup this year was particularly enjoyable, especially because they had eliminated Montreal to get there.
As much as I tried to frown and jump on the Vancouver bandwagon, I couldn't help but grin when the Beantown boys finally got a chance to touch the cup. From Mark Recchi, one of my favorite players, getting his last chance to win a championship, to Chara lifting it a good nine feet in the air, to Tim Thomas putting the icing on the cake of his storied career.
But the best moment came when management walked onto the ice, as President Cam Neely, one the greatest Bruins in history, finally got a chance to hoist the cup, something he never did as a player.
From being a Boston great, to a Hall of Fame inductee, to a recurring character in the Farelly brothers movies, now Neely can scratch the Stanley Cup off of his bucket list and marvel at the fact that he's a champion.
What's better than winning the Stanley Cup for the fourth time in your career? Getting to do it with your brother at your side.
In 2007, the Anaheim Ducks roster featured both Scott and Rob Niedermayer and eventually went on to win the Stanley Cup against the Ottawa Senators. They became the first pair of brothers to hoist the cup since Duane and Brett Sutter did so in 1983 with the New York Islanders.
It truly was remarkable to watch captain Scott receive the cup and pass it to his brother, an alternate captain on the squad. It was Rob's first time winning a championship and one can only imagine how much more invigorating it must've been to do it with his brother.
Also, the 2007 Ducks also featured Teemu Selanne's first and only cup win, another great moment in hockey history.
Selanne came roaring into the league with the Winnipeg Jets and still holds the rookie records for most points and goals in a season. Though he was traded and also played for the Avalanche and the Sharks, Selanne returned to the Ducks in 2005 and has been a staple in the organization ever since.
To this day, I consider this moment to be the greatest in hockey history.
Raymond Bourque is one of the finest defenseman to have ever laced up a pair of skates, winning five Norris Trophies, holding the record for all time points by a defenseman and made 19 All-Star appearances over the span of 22 years.
Playing almost his entire career in Boston, Bourque requested a trade to a cup contender in 2000, leaving the east coast and landing in Denver to play alongside Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg and Patrick Roy for the Colorado Avalanche.Though Bourque helped Colorado clinch a division title that same season, they eventually fell to Dallas in the conference finals.
Knowing it would be his last, Bourque returned for one last season in Colorado, where the Avalanche went on to beat the reigning cup champion New Jersey Devils in seven games, clinching the Stanley Cup on home ice and bringing Colorado it's second title.
As time elapsed and it was a forgone conclusion that the Avalanche would win, the crowd waited impatiently for the cup to come out onto the ice and for Bourque to finally end his legendary career in the best possible manner.
From captain Joe Sakic immediately handing the cup over, to Bourque's son standing on the ice in tears, how could this not be one of the greatest moments, not only in Stanley Cup history, but in hockey history?