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'Keeper Of The Cup' Talks About His Summer With The Champion St. Louis Blues

St. Louis Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo raises the Stanley Cup above his head during the downtown championship celebration.
Hockey Hall of Fame Archive
St. Louis Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo raises the Stanley Cup above his head during the downtown championship celebration.

The St. Louis Blues’ summer of celebration is coming to an end. Training camp for a new season is underway, and the team’s time with the Stanley Cup is nearly over — at least for now.

“The Stanley Cup champion gets approximately 100 days to travel with the cup,” said Phil Pritchard, whose official title is vice president and curator of the Hockey Hall of Fame but is better known as the "Keeper of the Cup."

“That name kind of came around by hockey fans,” he said. “It just got created.”

But it fits. Pritchard goes everywhere the Stanley Cup does, and this summer that odyssey spanned three continents and five countries. The highlight for Pritchard was the first stop in July in head coach Craig Berube’s hometown of Calahoo, Alberta. 

About 85 people live there, but more than 3,000 converged in the northern Alberta community on the day Berube showed up with the Stanley Cup.

“A police officer told me it’s their first traffic jam they’ve ever had in the city. For a Stanley Cup moment, that’s pretty cool.” Pritchard said.

Blues forward David Perron had a full menu for his day with the Stanley Cup in Quebec.

Playoff MVP Ryan O'Reilly introduced his grandmother to the Stanley Cup.

Carl Gunnarsson took the cup home to Sweden.

The Stanley Cup made an onstage appearance at a St. Louis summer tradition.

With making stops throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, you’d think there are several versions of the Cup zipping around the world at any time. But Pritchard says that is not the case.

“Whenever you see the Stanley Cup outside the Hockey Hall of Fame, it’s always the real one,” he said.

Pritchard realizes how the jobs of several people at the Hall of Fame are part of the tradition linked to the biggest prize in hockey.

MORE: Following Blues’ Stanley Cup Win, St. Louis Public Library Is Growing The Team’s Official Archive

“We’re historians for the trophy. We’re public relations for the trophy. We are security for the trophy. We’re transportation for the trophy,” he said.

“It’s a traveling partner, but so much more.”

Even though its summer with the Blues is coming to an end, Pritchard’s travel buddy will be back in January when St. Louis will be the site of the National Hockey League All-Star Game.

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Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.