As I watched the Philadelphia Flyers finish off the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday to close out that bizarre, violent, high-scoring playoff series, one of the first thoughts to pop into my head was, “well, I guess Sid and Evgeni won’t be getting new rings this year.
Normally I don’t even think of championship rings when I watch the Stanley Cup Playoffs. After all, in hockey it’s all about the Cup, the Holy Grail, Lord Stanley’s Chalice. And, come to think of it, I don’t even think I knew for a fact that they give out Stanley Cup Championship Rings. But I guess that list we brought you last week of the best World Series rings was still fresh on my mind. And it turns out that, yes, of course they give out Stanley Cup Championship Rings.
So today, if you haven’t guessed yet, we bring you a list of the 15 Best Stanley Cup Championship Rings. On the whole, I’d say they’re not quite as brilliant as the baseball bling we took a look at last week. But many of them do feature something no World Series ring will ever have: the most beautiful trophy in professional sports.
As with the list of World Series rings, this list will not take into account the team or the historical significance of any Stanley Cup Championship. So the Rangers' 1994 Stanley Cup Ring didn't make the list because that was a particularly thrilling postseason (though it most certainly was). It made the list because I love the way they incorporated the diagonal "Rangers" from their classic jerseys into the design of the ring. Also a nice touch: lots and lots of diamonds.
15. 1994 New York Rangers
I really like the design of this ring, with the team logo superimposed over a diamond-studded Stanley Cup. The only problem? No color. I would like so see the hawks logo made out of yellow gold (for the face), rubies, emeralds, onyx, and diamonds. But hey, that's just me.
FYI, the Boston Bruins' 2011 rings are basically the exact same design as this one. How boring is that?
14. 2010 Chicago Blackhawks
This ring definitely comes from a more austere era when athletes weren't cajillionaires and teams didn't make tens of millions of dollars from merchandising and media contracts. Thus, this ring commemorating the 1959 Montreal Canadiens' Stanley Cup Championship doesn't have any diamonds or jewels. All it's got is a really classic design—which is why I like it so much.
13. 1959 Montreal Canadiens
The Hurricanes' ring has the two main features I look for in a Stanley Cup ring: the team logo (in color) and the Holy Grail itself. So this one is definitely a winner. It would probably have made the Top 10 if the team's logo wasn't so boring.
12. 2006 Carolina Hurricanes
Nine diamonds? That's a lot of ice for 1966. From the swagger to the gobs and gobs of championships, the Canadiens are pretty much the New York Yankees of hockey. (That's why have so many rings on this list.)
11. 1966 Montreal Canadiens
This ring is strikingly similar to the Yankees' 1999 World Series Rings—same shape, same location for the year. This one just has about 20 fewer diamonds. Nevertheless, that Stanley Cup made out of diamonds and gold is more than enough to put this one in the Top 10.
10. 1993 Montreal Canadiens
The Gretzky Oilers won their second (consecutive) Stanley Cup in 1985, and they really took their second championship ring up to the next level with that one huge diamond surrounded by a boatload of smaller diamonds. In fact, that center diamond is so huge, it almost makes up for the fact that the top of the ring features neither the team's logo nor the Stanley Cup. Almost. At least they have the two Cups there on the side.
9. 1985 Edmonton Oilers
This massive piece of bling is simple but stunning. It's almost gorgeous enough to distract me from the fact that the dude holding it has a really "fancy" manicure—but not quite.
8. 1999 Dallas Stars
The best feature of this ring is the way they use a huge teardrop-shaped diamond to form the body of the iconic skating penguin. It's a model all teams should follow.
7. 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins
At #6 we have the other team from Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Flyers. The Broadstreet Bullies' 1975 Stanely Cup Ring is pure shiny, sparkly, blingy goodness. The Flyers logo with the diamond center, the extra shiny gold, the lettering, and the overall design are just fantastic.
6. 1975 Philadelphia Flyers
This ring doesn't have quite as many diamonds as some of the others, but we all know that, sometimes, less is more. The giant Canadiens logo made out of diamonds is proof of that. I mean, you have to remember that these rings are huge—much bigger than they appear in the photos. (Go back to #8 to get a sense of the scale.) So that CH would really stand out. It's definitely the best of all the Canadiens' Stanley Cup Rings.
5. 1986 Montreal Canadiens
What can I say? It should be clear by now that I'm a sucker for team logos made out of precious stones. And this one definitely has that. There's nothing but sparkly gems on the top of this sucker. Totally ballin. And the Cup makes its requisite appearance there on the side. (Top is always better, but side it better than nothing.)
4. 2003 New Jersey Devils
The Blackhawks 1961 Stanley Cup Rings are hands-down the best of the old-school rings. With the team crest surrounded by two arches of diamonds and encircled by excellently crafted lettering, the design on top is perfection. But then they throw in those awesome side panel designs (one with the team's alternate logo, the other with the Cup emitting rays of light) that are as good as you'll find on any championship ring in any sport. It's just a piece of true manly awesomeness.
3. 1961 Chicago Blackhawks
The Penguins blew it with their second Stanley Cup Ring in 1992, but they got back on track with their third in 2008. As you can see, they went back to what worked in the 1991 ring, featuring the skating penguin with a body made from a teardrop-shaped diamond. But this time they superimposed the team logo over a totally blinged out Stanley Cup—a great call. Plus, as you can see, there are three more Stanley Cups on the side representing each of the franchises championships. All good stuff.
2. 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins
At #1 we have this stunner from the 2002 Red Wings. It has all the basic features that make the 2008 Penguins' rings so great—Stanley Cup made of diamonds, team logo in color—only it does them better. For starters, the Red Wings' winged wheel logo is one of the best in pro sports; it looks only better when fashioned out of rubies and diamonds. Plus, it's huge—much bigger than the Penguins logo. Then there's the lettering around the outside. It looks better when it wraps all the way around and is not confined to the sides.
So hats off to the Wings. They'll have a tough time topping this one the next time they win the Cup.