NHL Stanley Cup arrives in Estonia
On Thursday, the NHL (National Hockey League) Stanley Cup was on display in Estonia for the first time. The 131-year-old trophy, which weighs 15.5 kilos and stands at 89 centimeters tall, arrived in Tallinn as part of a partnership between the NHL and online betting company Olybet.
On Thursday Estonian hockey fans had the chance to see the trophy up close. But while they could look, the certainly could not touch the trophy, as it is accompanied by full-time minder Philip Pritchard, who travels with it and who also has the job of handing it to the NHL winners at the end of each season.
"When you walk it out on the red carpet and hand it to the captain of the winning team, it's a new chapter in the life of the Stanley Cup," Pritchard told ERR.
"There will be new stories told, new winners, and each year that happens, it just builds on the game of ice hockey. 30 percent of the National Hockey League (players) are from outside North America, so the game is growing rapidly," he said.
"It's great to meet the guys and their families and just to see the passion in their eyes and, ultimately to see that their dreams are fulfilled."
Each year, the Stanley Cup is traditionally taken back to their home countries by members of the winning squad, where it is put on temporary display. The cup is also taken on tour to in cities and countries, where ice hockey is played around the world.
Of the 96 countries which play the sport, a third have now been visited, with Estonia being the 32nd destination for the cup.
"Estonia is a member of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and I think it's a great opportunity for kids that play amateur sports, to have a dream and maybe that's to play (professional) ice hockey one day," Pritchard said.
"It would be great if we get the chance to have an Estonian in the NHL and ultimately go on to the cup and bring it home. What a way to say thank you."
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Editor: Michael Cole