The long-standing tradition was to avoid touching the trophy. For decades, teams did not touch the Conference Final trophies.
Players viewed touching the conference trophies as bad luck. Monday, the Vegas Golden Knights decimated the Dallas Stars in Game 6 and finally punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup Final. As Deputy NHL Commissioner Bill Daly brought the Bowl to center stage, the Golden Knights captain Mark Stone skated over.
So, too did the rest of the team.
And they refused to touch the Clarence Campbell Bowl.
But is it really bad luck to touch it?
Six of the last seven Stanley Cup winners have touched the trophy. However, 2018 Vegas Golden Knights captain Deryk Engelland touched the Campbell Bowl but watched Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals get the spoils.
The superstition of not touching the trophy was broken in 2009 by one of hockey’s most superstitious players, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. The Penguins made it to the 2008 Stanley Cup Final. They didn’t touch the Prince of Wales Trophy and lost to the Detroit Red Wings in the Cup Final.
The following year, the Penguins again made it to the Stanley Cup Final. In 2009, they touched the trophy … and won the Stanley Cup.
Subsequently, the Penguins grabbed the Prince of Wales Trophy in 2016 and 2017. They won those Stanley Cups, too.
The Tampa Bay Lightning laid hands on the trophy in 2020 and 2021, then won the big trophy in both years.
In 2022, the Colorado Avalanche had a tough road to the Stanley Cup Final. They, too, touched the trophy. They, too, won the Stanley Cup.
The recent exception to the rule of touching the Clarence Campbell Bowl was the 2019 St. Louis Blues. In honor of little Laila, they marched to the organization’s first Stanley Cup but did not touch the Bowl. Laila was the effervescent child with a rare, life-threatening auto-immune disease who became an endearing part of their playoff march.
In the 2010s dynasty, the Chicago Blackhawks won three Western Conference Finals and three Stanley Cups. They did not touch the trophy once. Their chief rival, the LA Kings, won two Stanley Cups and did not touch the Bowl either.
So, from 2009, here’s the eventual Stanley Cup winner and their response to the Conference Final trophy.
Did they Touch the Trophy?
2009: Pittsburgh Penguins. Yes.
2010: Chicago Blackhawks. No.
2011: Boston Bruins. No, but began the tradition of a team photo.
2012 LA Kings. No.
2013: Chicago Blackhawks. No.
2014: LA Kings. No.
2015: Chicago Blackhawks. No.
2016: Pittsburgh Penguins. Yes.
2017: Pittsburgh Penguins. Yes.
2018: Washington Capitals. Yes.
2019: St. Louis Blues. No.
2020: Tampa Bay Lightning. Yes.
2021: Tampa Bay Lightning. Yes.
2022: Colorado Avalanche. Yes.