Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 02
The Stanley Cup Journal

Lord Frederick Arthur Stanley was born into one of the oldest aristocratic families in England when he entered the world on January 15, 1841 in London, England. Lord Stanley served as Governor General of Canada between 1888 and 1893.
(Hockey Hall of Fame archives)
Frederick Arthur Stanley was born into an aristocratic family on January 15, 1841 in London, England. For several centuries, the Stanleys had played an important role in the political life of England. Frederick was the youngest son of the 14th Earl of Derby, who would serve as British prime minister on three separate occasions. The family also had sizeable land holdings, including the extraordinary Knowsley Estate in the Liverpool area.

By being born to an earl, Frederick was immediately endowed with a lordship. Lord Stanley received his early education at prestigious Eton College and later served with the Grenadier Guards, but decided early on that he would prefer a political career to one in the military. Lord Stanley served as a Member of Parliament for Preston, and later represented North Lancashire and Blackpool in the British House of Commons. Stanley was appointed Lord of the Admiralty, Secretary of State for War, Secretary of State for the Colonies and president of the Board of Trade before he was selected by Queen Victoria, on the recommendation of British prime minister Lord Salisbury, to serve as Governor General of Canada.

Forty-seven-year-old Lord Stanley of Preston assumed office on June 11, 1888 after sailing across the Atlantic Ocean with his wife, Lady Constance Stanley, and four of their children: 23-year-old Edward, who would later serve as an aide-de-camp to his father, 21-year-old Victor, 12-year-old Isobel and William, who had just turned 10 years of age. The four other Stanley children remained in England: 19-year-old Arthur, 16-year-old Ferdinand, 15-year-old George and Algernon, who was 14 years of age. Two other children had died as infants.

After observing his first hockey game on February 4, 1889, Lord Stanley and his family discovered a passion for the sport that helped launch it into the spotlight as Canada's favourite sport.
(Hockey Hall of Fame archives)
Lord Stanley's term in office closely paralleled Canada's early history. His close friend Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's first prime minister, suffered a stroke while in conversation with Stanley. As Governor General, Stanley traveled from coast to coast on the newly-built Canadian Pacific Railway, meeting residents, encouraging settlement and furthering relations with Canada's First Nations people. He greatly assisted in keeping the country together at a time when the United States desperately wanted to pursue annexation. And, of course, Lord Stanley helped the growth of a fledgling sport called hockey.

Although hockey had been played in some fashion for several years, by adding the Vice Regal stamp of approval at a time when the monarchy was paramount to Canada's existence helped propel the game from a casual pastime into the flourishing, organized game it has become. On February 4, 1889, Lord and Lady Stanley, their son Edward and daughter Isobel attended the Montreal Winter Carnival and took in their first contest of ice hockey. When they returned to Rideau Hall, the Governor General's official residence in Ottawa, Edward shared with his brothers and colleagues his passion for the new game, while Isobel did likewise. Within a month, Isobel participated in the first known women's hockey game, played on the Rideau Hall rink, while Edward, Arthur and Algernon Stanley organized games with parliamentary employees and later formed a traveling squad called the Rideau Rebels that helped spread the love of the game into other centres, including Toronto, which had not yet embraced the young sport. Arthur Stanley and two Rebel teammates would later organize the Ontario Hockey Association.

At a banquet in 1892, Lord Stanley promised to donate a trophy to hockey that would be used for the amateur championship of Canada. That trophy, originally named the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup (seen above) has served as the focal point for professional hockey for over 113 years. The original Stanley Cup is on permanent display at the Hockey Hall of Fame
(Derick Murray/HHOF)
Lord Frederick Stanley observed a number of games at the Rideau rink and was encouraged by his sons, his aide-de-camp Lord Kilcoursie and another Rebel, Philip D. Ross, to consider donating a trophy for the best hockey team in the Dominion. Of course, we know that the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, known immediately as the Stanley Cup, would become the focal point for every boy and many girls who dream about one day thrusting the Cup over their head in triumph, and running his or her fingers over their engraved name that will be added to the Stanley Cup's legacy.

Lord Frederick Stanley served Canada from 1888 until the death of his brother, the 15th Earl of Derby, in 1893. On his brother's death, as the surviving heir, Stanley automatically became the 16th Earl of Derby, and was forced to resign his position in Canada a few months before scheduled in order to return to England to assume his new role in carrying on the family business.

The 16th Earl was heavily involved in the community around his new home, the Knowsley Estate. He became the first Lord Mayor of Greater Liverpool, served as mayor of Preston, was the first Chancellor of Liverpool University, served with the agricultural society and got heavily involved in horse breeding and racing. He was considered one of the wealthiest men in the world prior to his death.

On the death of his brother in 1893, Lord Frederick Stanley automatically assumed the title of the 16th Earl of Derby, and resigned his position as Governor General to return home to England. The Earl (his 'Derby' autograph exhibited above) died on June 14, 1908. In 1945, Lord Stanley of Preston, the 16th Earl of Derby, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Builder Category. (Hockey Hall of Fame archives)
Lord Frederick Stanley, the 16th Earl of Derby, suffered a heart attack after going for a walk at his home and died on June 14, 1908. He was 67 years old. His body was buried in the family plot at St. Mary's Knowsley.

Lord Stanley never saw the trophy awarded that he bequeathed to hockey. In 1893, the Montreal Hockey Club, part of the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association, became the first recipients of Lord Stanley's Cup, but by that time, Stanley was making plans to return to England. In fact, it is likely that after he returned to his homeland, he had little further thought of the Cup he donated while in Canada. But the trophy took on a life of its own through the decades and now, 113-years-old, is arguably one of the oldest and most famous trophies in the sporting world. The iconic Cup is recognized around the world and travels extensively.

For his contributions to hockey, Lord Stanley was recognized by being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1945, selected in the Builder Category.

Kevin Shea is the Editor of Publications at the Hockey Hall of Fame. He is also co-author
of 'Lord Stanley-The Man Behind the Cup,' published October 2006 by Fenn Publishing.
Spirit Of Hockey, shop online now!
Find out about renting the facilities at the Hockey Hall of Fame
Donate your hockey artifacts to the Hockey Hall of Fame