Strange But True: Lifting the Cup

A hockey fan is happiest when his team is winning the Stanley Cup. But when his team is losing in the playoffs, a fan may do some peculiar things.

During the 1962 playoffs, a rabid Montreal Canadiens rooter named Ken Kilander traveled to Chicago to see a playoff game between the Chicago Black Hawks and the Canadiens. By the third period Montreal was far behind and Kilander had had enough. Frustrated, he wandered into the lobby of the arena. There, in a glass case, was the Stanley Cup itself, which the Black Hawks had won the previous year.

Kilander pried open the case and lifted out the Cup. That alone was a great accomplishment, because it weighed about 150 pounds. He was staggering out of the arena when two ushers grabbed him. The police were called and Kilander found himself facing a judge.

“Your honor, I just couldn’t stand it,” Kilander explained. “I root for the Canadiens. That cup rightfully belongs in Montreal. Everyone knows they’re the best team.”

“The Cup belongs to the team that wins it,” replied the judge.

The Black Hawks’ management were understanding. They refused to press charges, and Kilander was released.

When the playoffs were over, the Stanley Cup moved halfway to Montreal, spending the year in Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens. At least it was back in Canada, but chances are that Ken Kilander fretted until it returned all the way to Montreal.

From The Giant Book of Strange But True Sports Stories by Howard Liss. Illustrations by Joe Mathieu.

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When you can walk its length, and leave no trace, you will have learned.


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