The life of a Stanley Cup guardian

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The Stanley Cup is a trophy that is the constant pursuit of almost any professional hockey player, putting in decades of dedication for just a few meaningful moments with the championship prize. 

But time with the most treasured piece of NHL history is just everyday life for Howie Borrow. 

Borrow is one of the three full-time handlers of the Cup. Wherever it goes, you will find Borrow or one of his counterparts right alongside for the ride.

“There is always someone with the Cup. Always,” Borrow said. “To be with it every day, I don’t want to take it for granted.”

What started as volunteering at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto in 2004 has paid off for Borrow. He gets to travel around the world with the most prized possession in all of professional hockey.

“Last year, I got to go to Russia for the first time, so that was a pretty cool experience,” Borrow said. “The Cup happens to bring smiles to everybody’s faces.”

A new piece of history is added every season to the timeless trophy with another champion, but this year the Cup will enter another chapter while turning the page on an old one. 

The highest of the five bands on the Stanley Cup’s base is being replaced by a new one to have room to engrave the next 13 winners of the NHL championship. 

“Unfortunately that’s the way the Cup is designed or else it would be too big and we couldn’t travel with it, the players wouldn’t hoist it,” Borrow said. 

“Gordie Howe is on there and Maurice 'Rocket' Richard,” Borrow said about the band that will be removed in 2018. “It’s sad to see them off.” 

The old band is coming off the trophy, but it will be made into a plaque to go on a wall in the Hockey Hall of Fame next to the Cup’s display when it is not traveling around the world. 

While one piece of the Stanley Cup will be retired, retiring from a dream job is something Borrow has no plan of doing anytime soon. 

“There is going to be a time when [being the Cup’s keeper] will end for me, but just to see the history on the Cup and to see some of the players that I’ve dealt with over the years too and to see some players that I used to collect their hockey cards and stuff like that [is special],” Borrow said. “It’s just an amazing trophy and it’s just a wonderful experience.”

The Stanley Cup is always cared for when it's not on display. It's only polished about twice a year, but every single day, it's given a bath of soap and water. Speaking of water, one of the only things players are banned from doing with the Cup, is taking it in a swimming pool or the ocean.