“Predictable” is rarely an adjective applied to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. But this year’s NHL postseason has been especially chaotic, with favorites like the Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals ejected early in favor of long-suffering hockey franchises, like the Carolina Hurricanes and St. Louis Blues.
As the Eastern and Western conference finals are set to get underway, there’s no better time to familiarize yourself with the prize the four remaining teams are after: The Stanley Cup, considered by many the sports world’s most beautiful trophy. TIME recently hosted the Stanley Cup and one of its “keepers,” Howie Borrow, who offered all manner of interesting Cup trivia.
For example: When the bottommost ring of the Stanley Cup is filled with the names of the teams and players who have most recently won it, the topmost ring is removed, retired to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, and a new ring is added to the bottom to create space. Also: While fans are allowed to touch the Cup, superstition and tradition keep the most loyal hockey fans from doing so (this reporter resisted the urge).
To learn more about the Stanley Cup, watch our video above — and enjoy the rest of the playoffs.
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