M976.188.1 | Winter Carnival, 1883, Hockey Trophy

Cup - Trophy
Winter Carnival, 1883, Hockey Trophy
Thomas Allan & Co.
1883, 19th century
18 x 8 cm
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Cup (36)
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Keys to History

Although it may be hard for some to believe that there was ever a hockey trophy other than Lord Stanley's (1841-1908), the Stanley Cup does have an ancestor. It was called the Carnival Cup.

In 1879 the first organized hockey team, the McGill University Hockey Club, was formed in Montreal. By 1875, a basic set of rules was created for the game, and hockey quickly spread across Canada. The first Canadian hockey championship was held in 1883 at the Montreal Ice Carnival. The winner of the week-long tournament, and the winner of the Carnival Cup, was the McGill team.

All early hockey was played by amateurs. The main competitions were between university, military and athletic clubs, which formed the Ontario Hockey Association in 1890. In 1893, Governor General Lord Stanley donated a trophy to the national championship of the association, and after 1912 only professionals competed for the Stanley Cup.

  • What

    This Montreal Ice Carnival Hockey Cup is an oval cup on a tripod of hockey sticks. It was made from sterling silver by the firm of Thomas Allan & Co.

  • Where

    The cup was made in Montreal specifically for the Montreal Ice Carnival hockey tournament, which may have been played at the McGill University rink.

  • When

    Only ten years after the awarding of this trophy in 1883 to McGill University, Montreal's AAA team was victorious in the first Stanley Cup game, which was played on March 22, 1893.

  • Who

    This Montreal Ice Carnival hockey trophy has the names of the members of the winning McGill University team for the year 1883 engraved on the side of the bowl.