Hockey Fans Get Up-Close and Personal With Stanley Cup

Mighty Ducks fans touched it, hugged it, smooched it, sat their infants inside it and one even hoisted the 34-pound, 3-foot original sterling silver cup over her head.

To the delight and awe of hockey fans, the Stanley Cup, which victorious hockey players have lifted high above their heads for more than 100 years, was on public display Monday at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim.

"She's really cute in it," said Bill Woodward of Tustin as his 7-month-old, 15-pound daughter, Holly, fit snugly inside the cup and smiled as her photograph was taken. "She'll have a picture of herself that nobody else will have."

The Stanley Cup made its way to Anaheim as part of the National Hockey League Winter Break Tour. Over the past six weeks, 30 NHL cities across the country have hosted the cup to raise nearly $2 million for charities. The cup was also featured at the Ducks' second annual Casino Night Monday to benefit Disney GOALS, a nonprofit program offering recreational and educational opportunities for disadvantaged children.

It was in 1893 when the Montreal Amateur Athletic Assn. first won the cup, and since then the trophy has been passed on to champion hockey teams.

Hockey greats have drunk champagne from the cup. Baby christenings have taken place inside the cup. And, there are tales of the cup being found at the bottom of a player's swimming pool or left on the side of the road.

The cup, which not only holds 17 bottles of beer, but now bears more than 2,000 names, is priceless, noted Walt Neubrand, who guards the treasured trophy. "I make sure no one does anything silly. I keep it safe," said Neubrand, known as the "cup cop."

"It's like body-guarding a rock star."

Indeed the cup, won last year by the Detroit Red Wings, has a celebrity-like image.

Michael Schumacher, 14, of Brea, who snapped a picture of his sister, Niki, with her arm around the cup, said: "It's so awesome. I just wanted to touch it and see it in person."

Said Niki Schumacher, 18: "It's cool just to stand next to it. But I just want the Ducks to be on it."

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