The day the Stanley Cup went missing – in Siberia

CNN  — 

Most people have had that sinking feeling of waiting at the airport carousel only to discover their luggage has gone AWOL.

So imagine how Phil Pritchard felt when he found out that the 125-year-old Stanley Cup – one of the most iconic trophies in sport – had gone missing in Siberia.

For 30 years, Pritchard has been the curator at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Canada.

He is more widely known around the world as “The Keeper of the Cup,” playing a vital part in a storied custom – chaperoning the 35-pound trophy to each member of the team that wins the National Hockey League’s championship.

Pritchard readily admits he’s biased but for him the way the Stanley Cup is taken to each member of the winning team is the greatest post-championship tradition in sports.

“The green jacket, the (milk) chug, all of that, are awesome,” Pritchard told CNN Sport, referring to traditions associated with the Masters at Augusta and the Indianapolis 500.

“They are great traditions. They are designed for individual sport though. The great thing about hockey is it’s the ultimate team sport. Everyone on the team knows, the team is much more than the players on the ice.

“They want to share (the cup) with their family, their friends, their coaches, their grandparents, their teachers … that Zamboni driver that used to let them stay on the ice an extra 20 minutes … the guy that used to put extra cheese on the pizza.

“There is nothing better than the opportunity for the Stanley Cup winning team to bring the cup home for a day.”