We’re going to go from one number one overall draft pick to another in Lightning history. Last week it was Vincent Lecavalier. This week it is the 2008 number one pick, current captain, and two-time, that’s right two-time, Stanley Cup champion - Steven Stamkos.
According to the Trading Card Database, the future hall of famer has 4,125 different cards in existence. This is one of them.
From 2013-14 Upper Deck Series One, the Stamkos card was one of forty-eight that made up the Lord Stanley’s Heroes insert set. It was a pretty decent checklist that featured legends that had won the Cup (Mario Lemiuex, Peter Forsberg) along with young stars that hadn’t tasted glory at that point such as Stamkos and Taylor Hall.
With no Stanley Cup on his resume at that point in his career the back of the card details Stamkos’ performance in the 2007 World Juniors where he posted 10 points in Canada’s march to the gold medal.
When the card was released, Stamkos was coming off of the lockout shortened 2012-13 season where he scored 29 goals in 48 games. He was on pace to beat that pace as he recorded 25 goals in the first 37 games of the 2013-14 season. Unfortunately, we all know that the season ended for him at that point as his leg collided awkwardly with a goal post in Boston.
The card itself features not one, but two pictures of Lord Frederick Arthur Stanley of Preston, the namesake of the NHL’s championship trophy. The front has his photo in a hologram along with the chalice (holograms on cards are always nice), along with a portrait of him on the back.
Why is the Cup named after him? Well, because he donated it. Noting that there was no trophy awarded to the top amateur team in the country during his time, he decided to rectify that situation. Professional hockey as we know it didn’t really exist back then and most of the interest in the national sport was centered around regional teams made up of local players.
Originally named the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, Stanley’s trophy was given to the best amateur hockey club in Canada. He paid roughly the equivalent of $50 for the trophy and it was first awarded to the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association’s Montreal Hockey Club in 1893. It spent the next decade or so bouncing around amateur clubs until the Montreal Wanders won it in 1907 and declared themselves a professional team.
It wasn’t until the 1926-27 season that the Cup became the sole possession of the NHL. Lord Stanley never saw a NHL team raise his trophy, having passed away in 1908. He had been an avid sportsman and a fan of hockey (his sons and daughter all played amateur hockey) as well as the Governor General of Canada from 1888-1893.
Born in London, Lord Stanley was the son of the former prime minister of the United Kingdom, Edward Stanley. The younger Stanley served in Parliament and held several government posts. Among those roles were Secretary of State for War (1878-1880) and Secretary of State for the Colonies (1885-1886).
It was in his role as Governor General that he moved to Canada and set up residence in Quebec as well as Ottawa. He reportedly attended his first hockey game in 1889 at a Winter Carnival. He admired the sport so much that he had a hockey rink built on the ground of Rideau Hall (the official residence of the Governor General in Ottawa). Lord Stanley also had a hand in financing the Ottawa Hockey Club, a team that eventually known as the original Ottawa Senators.
A quick 127 years after it was first awarded to that group of amateurs in Montreal, Steven Stamkos would raise a much larger, and heavier, version of that Dominion Cup over his head.