As a follow-up to Megalodon's excellent history of the Stanley Cup, I thought I'd chime in and offer my own take on BoC's cup mythology, this time in a bit of a children's storybook format. Don't nitpick too much -- by definition this is roughly thirteen times the effort I put into a normal post.
Long ago in a land far away there was an annual battle held for rights to a magical trophy called the Stanley Cup. It was a spectacular event, but it largely took place in faraway Canada, and Californians were never invited. Finally, a daring King reached the end of his patience -- he demanded entrance into the event. It wasn't an easy start for the young monarch -- he was humbled by the rigors of the tournament, but gradually he began to improve his skills and technique. Unfortunately for him, though, the ever-menacing presence of Canada was always too eager to stand in his way.
The battle between the King and Canada became unbearably frequent -- over a twelve-year stretch (from 1982-1993), the King participated in sixteen playoff rounds, every single one of them against a Canadian opponent. The turning point finally came when the King opened his royal treasury and deftly purchased Canada's greatest weapon -- the magical #99 medallion.
Armed with the great amulet's magic, the King finally stood poised to take claim to Lord Stanley's Cup -- Canada was overmatched. But alas, at a very critical moment in the deciding match Canada cried out for the Hockey God, and the Hockey God intervened.
The distraction became too much for the poor King to handle -- Canada seized the opportunity to snatch the Cup, and the King was driven back to California in a tailspin of misery. Over the next several years, the King would sell off the #99 medallion and would later develop a harmful addiction to a substance called "Clootch" -- dark times for the once-proud King.
Just around that time, however, two new entities emerged in California -- in the northern part of the state, a bloodthirsty Shark waddled ashore from the depths of the ocean. Lured by the magnetic draw of the Stanley Cup, it had somehow sped up its adaption cycle, crawled onto the sandy beach, and began a slow-but-steady land ascent from there. (Old timers swear that a similar phenomenon had happened years before to a golden seal, but details are much murkier on that story.)
Meanwhile, in the south part of the state, as per a binding clause in a movie contract, a cartoon Duck was airlifted in to provide comic relief. Funded by Disney, the Duck was advertised widely as "Mighty", but the title proved ironic -- the Duck used movie-magic special effects to act tougher than it was. The King smirked at the newcomers -- they were no threats to his throne.
For years, the King was right. Both the Shark and the Duck experienced their own growing pains, but eventually did find their way to the Stanley Cup battle. The Shark had problems, however, when it came to prolonged water retention -- every year the Shark would start strong out of the ocean but the further inland it got, the tougher it became to hold its "breath". It became a sad tournament regularity to see the Shark finally choke on his last mouthful of ocean water.
The Duck had its own issues, mostly with a particular Red Wing, but finally one year in desperation struck a deal with the Devil, who by then had a heavy influence in Cup competitions. The Duck and the Devil co-wrote a Hollywood script that would see the Duck overthrow its Red Wing nemesis, participate in the final battle, and the Devil would arrange things so that Canada would not stand in its way. Everything went according to plan until the final battle when the Devil wrote his own evil ending -- the naive Duck had been betrayed.
The Duck's spirit was crushed, and in desperation he turned to the Hockey God and sacrificed the one thing he had left -- his association with the Disney Corporation. The Hockey God, moved by the duck's plea, offered him a gift in return -- two warrior pets, one stolen from the house of the Devil and one stolen from the house of Canada. With their paired ferocity, the Duck could seek redemption. But he could never call himself "Mighty" again.
As the Duck was leaving, the Hockey God offered one last warning: do not separate the warrior pets from each other -- the consequences will be severe. But by then, the Duck was barely listening. "Drop the 'Mighty'. Got it."
The Duck received the gifts from the Hockey God and found a sixth "loophole" franchise to finally conquer Canada, one that the King had never tried before. And just like that, the Duck accomplished that which the King could not -- bringing the Cup to California -- which of course pissed the King off to no end. By this time, though, the King was an aging shell of his former self; for the moment he had to grit his teeth and take it.
Meanwhile the Shark had adapted further -- by mimicking the Duck's swimming style, the Shark developed a way to swim in to shore much more efficiently, and it seemed confident that it had the finally had the stamina for a full battle. The Duck even offered to help the Shark with its landing technique, but that was a trap -- the Duck, knowing where the Shark would set ashore, unleashed his gift from the Hockey God one last time on the unsuspecting Shark, and it was embarrassing.
Having accomplished the King's task and disrupted the Shark's task, the Duck became fully insufferable. In a rare moment of truce the Shark and the King both approached the Hockey God together -- they wanted to restore the balance of power that had made the Duck the laughingstock of the league. The Hockey God heard their request and was sympathetic -- his generosity had been entirely too one-sided, he admitted, but the Duck did make him laugh.
However, he knew that the Duck was already working toward its own demise -- it had foolishly sold away one of its warrior pets and was futilely attempting to circumvent the resulting curse. The Hockey God agreed to ignore the Duck's pleas for a season and instead turned his attention to the neglected Shark and King.
The Hockey God granted the Shark another chance at the task it had attempted the previous year, this time without any possibility of interference from the meddling Duck. He even fashioned together an ocean-water-breathing apparatus which would allow the Shark to participate in the full tournament without collapsing, though he warned that still required some testing.
The King, in the meantime, took his gift from the Hockey God -- a magical youth potion. With its restorative powers the King made its triumphant return to the battlegrounds, and as a reward the Hockey God set up his first battle against old nemesis Canada. The King felt reinvigorated, but couldn't help wondering to himself -- did he take a bit too much of the elixir?
So this is the part where the story really gets interesting -- Go BoC.