Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley, 1st Baron Stanley of Preston, was the second son of the 14th Earl of Derby, British Prime Minister (3 times) in the 1850's and 1860's. I can’t say I like the dad much, he fought with my Earl Grey (mine because he’s in my story) and was responsible for, and then refused to repeal, the Canadian Corn Laws. But that was the dad, not Lord Stanley.
Baron Stanley of Preston was appointed Canadian Governor-General in May of 1888. While Governor-General, he travelled extensively throughout Canada and the one thing he noticed all regions had in common was our love of playing ice hockey. Rules were somewhat different in each area, but he thought that if he encouraged a fair game with rules that were generally accepted, it might bring some cohesiveness to what is, let’s face it, a very disparate country. In 1892 he announced a challenge cup for the champion hockey team in the Dominion.
The cup has changed a bit over the years, but as the oldest trophy competed for by professional athletes in North America, I guess that must be expected.
Stanley Cup today
Stanley Cup 1893
Lord Stanley held the Governor-General’s post until his older brother, the 15th Earl of Derby, died in 1893. He became the 16th Earl of Derby and had to go home.
I can’t think of any historical figure we Canadians talk about more. Certainly not our first Prime Minister–many of us don’t even know his name. But I THINK its general knowledge that Lord Stanley was a Governor-General of Canada, and that’s where we got the Stanley Cup.
So let that be a lesson to all you political types out there. You want us to remember you–give us a prize!