No Blue Line or taxi – and certainly no Uber needed for the most popular, most high-profile visitor to hit O’Hare this year.
The Stanley Cup is headed to Chicago.
Philip Pritchard, the white-gloved keeper of glory, tweeted out a photo of the Cup going through security Monday morning, a preparation in case the Blackhawks manage to bring home the best trophy in sports at home for the first time since 1938.
Pritchard was toting plenty of hardware – the Conn Smythe trophy, awarded to the most valuable player of the Stanley Cup Playofs, also made its way through security.
Pritchard, one of the primary handlers and the curator of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, talked to Mental Floss in 2014 about his silver travel buddy and the efforts it takes to get the Cup where it needs to be:
How do you travel with it? [Before 9/11], we used to have that opportunity to carry it on. I prefer that the airline take it from us and put it in a special spot underneath the plane—it’s called special services, and violins and bikes go there as well. But in Europe, the airlines will let us bring it on still. It gets its own seat—but the problem is that the flight attendants aren’t very happy because people keep getting up to get photos with it. It’s much better for the airplane [crew] if it goes underneath. When we check it in, they know we’re coming. We’ve already arranged it with the airline and security at the airport. One person from the airline is dedicated to taking and putting it on the plane and then meeting us and saying it’s on the plane, when you get off come to special services, or this guy will meet you. It is a VIP luggage section, so we get treated very well there. We always get there half an hour sooner than we should be because everyone wants photos. I can’t even imagine getting through security with it. [The TSA] scans it, obviously, but then once you open it up, suddenly the person has gone from being a TSA security guy to a hockey fan who wants to get a photo of it. It’s great—it’s promoting the game and everything, but at the end of it all, to me, it’s the greatest trophy in all of sports and to be there half an hour early, to make some guy’s day, it’s pretty cool. How do you pack the Cup for traveling? Do you have a special case for it? Yeah, we do. We have a special case that’s very similar to a musician’s case. It’s all form fitted. If you open the case and the Cup’s not in it, it actually looks like the Stanley Cup in there. It’s all secure in that way. And then we can go to the airlines, the police, security, and it’s always in good hands.
By the way, if you’re wondering where the Stanley Cup is in, say, about 13 hours, there is an app for that.
UPDATE, 11:40 a.m.: The Cup has landed – and is resting before the big moment that could happen tonight at United Center.