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Group wants NHL to free Stanley Cup

 
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Geplaatst: Vr Apr 15, 2005 12:52 am    Onderwerp: Group wants NHL to free Stanley Cup

TORONTO (CP) - There will be a battle for the Stanley Cup this year - at least in court.



With a lockout having killed the NHL season, a group of recreational hockey players has launched a legal fight in an effort to let other teams have a shot at winning the storied trophy.

The Wednesday Nighters led by Torontonians David Burt and Gard Shelley and represented by lawyer Tim Gilbert filed a claim against the NHL and the Cup's trustees in Ontario Superior Court on Wednesday.

They're seeking a court order declaring that:



- The Stanley Cup is being held in trust for hockey's benefit;

- The trustees are under obligation to award the Cup every year;

- The NHL does not own the Stanley Cup.

If they get their way, they want trustees Brian O'Neill and Ian (Scotty) Morrison to decide on a format to determine a Stanley Cup winner, despite the NHL season's cancellation in February.

One suggestion is a tournament featuring the University Cup champion Alberta Golden Bears and the yet to be determined Memorial Cup and Allan Cup champs, but the group isn't pushing a specific plan.

Gov. Gen. Adrienne Clarkson suggested in February that it be awarded to the top women's team.

''I don't want to say that there's a group of lawyers somewhere in Toronto that are trying to tell everybody how the Cup is going to be awarded,'' said Gilbert. ''We're just saying that the Cup should be awarded.

''How it's done is up to the trustees.''

A court date is scheduled for July 18 but Gilbert hopes to have that moved up to sometime in May. He figures it will take only about a day to argue the case plus the judge's deliberations before a decision can be rendered.

''It shouldn't take too long, I'm not long-winded,'' he quipped.

O'Neill declined comment other than to say the application would be contested.

But in December he told The Canadian Press talk that the NHL shouldn't control the Cup had ''no legal leg to stand on at all. The Stanley Cup does not belong to the public.''

Gilbert and the applicants, of course, feel otherwise.

Along with lawyer David Donelly and articling student Sana Halwani, Gilbert decided to take up the case for free.

They built on the work started by the Edmonton-based Free Stanley campaign, which obtained a legal opinion suggesting there was legal ground to challenge the NHL's right to retain the trophy.

The court's decision will hinge on determining what Lord Stanley's intentions were when he donated the Cup as a challenge trophy in 1892 and whether the trustees overstepped their bounds when a 1947 agreement (revised in 2000) handed its control over to the NHL.

''We think the 1947 agreement which hands the Cup solely to the NHL is probably something that they were not allowed to do,'' said Burt, one of the applicants.

In the December interview, O'Neill said the trustees had acted properly and that the agreement legally entrusted the Cup to the NHL.

''There's only been nine trustees since the beginning and they've always supported that position,'' he said. ''Only in the event something happens to the NHL does it revert back to the trustees.

''The trustees themselves don't have an active role in administering the trophy at the present time and they haven't really since the 1920s.''

The application wants the court to remove any grey areas and establish protocols for what happens if NHL play is suspended indefinitely; who can challenge for the Cup if a rival league supersedes the NHL; and how the Cup is to be awarded if there are future NHL labour disputes.

''We're doing it to settle the terms of the Stanley Cup, how it should be dealt with and whether it should be dealt with yearly, once and for all,'' said Gilbert.

''We don't take an issue if the NHL is a premier league. But if they start to fall apart, start to use replacement players and there is a real legitimate issue if they're still a premier league, then absolutely, that's exactly what was intended.

''Let's have a challenge Cup, let's make sure that the Stanley Cup goes to the best team playing in the land.''

A key part of his argument will be based on instructions Lord Stanley left with an aide in a letter when he donated the Cup.

''I have for some time been thinking that it would be a good thing if there were a challenge cup which should be held from year to year by the champion hockey team in the Dominion of Canada,'' he wrote. ''There does not appear to be any such outward sign of a championship at present and considering the general interest which matches now elicit and the importance of having the game played fairly and under rules generally recognized, I am willing to give a cup which shall be held from year to year by the winning team.''

Just because the NHL won't determine a Stanley Cup winner doesn't mean the trophy should not be awarded, argues Gilbert.

''When they look into it, they're going to find out that their rights only derive from Lord Stanley,'' he said. ''And if that's the case, they're going to be arguing shoulder to shoulder saying it was a charitable trust.''

Gilbert said the trustees have received at least 50 requests to challenge for the Cup but they were rejected on the basis that the Stanley Cup belongs to the NHL and will only be presented once the lockout ends.

''That we say is wrong in law and wrong in fact,'' he said.

One of those requests came from the Wednesday Nighters, who wanted to play for the Cup themselves - white versus black.

''It started off as a lark,'' said Burt. ''But then when we looked into it and we began to think about the broader significance of the Stanley Cup in Canadian history and culture, and when the governor general weighed in on the issue, it really came to us that this is significant.

''The NHL and the trustees of the Cup can't just walk away from it.''
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Geplaatst: Vr Apr 15, 2005 2:41 pm    Onderwerp:

Dus dan kan een of andere Garage Team de cup winnen, zal wel vet zijn! Staan al die NHL namen op die cup en staat er dan bijvoorbeeld 'Dave's Wash & Wax Service Hockey Team' tussen.
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Geplaatst: Vr Apr 15, 2005 3:54 pm    Onderwerp:

zal inderdaar wel grappig zijn ja als dat zou gebeuren denk alleen niet dat dat door zal gaan
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