Captain Zdeno Chara and the Boston Bruins will begin chasing their second Stanley Cup in three seasons this week after winning the Eastern Conference championship in four games over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Stanley Cup remains one of sports' most iconic and revered prizes because of its distinctive design, its unique history, and the difficulty invoved in winning it.
Scroll through the gallery for a look at some of the other most unique awards coveted by athletes, teams and their fans. Next
NHL’s Stanley Cup
The trophy originated as just the bowl at the top, and it was donated by Sir Frederick Arthur, Lord Stanley of Preston, who was governor-general of Canada beginning in 1888. His interest in hockey led him to propose a championship for teams in Canada, and directed that the names of winning players be engraved on rings added below the bowl, and it has since been transformed into its current shape to accommodate the history of it.
The NHL took over full control of the trophy in 1926.
The Bruins have won the Stanley Cup six times, most recently in 2011. Next
MLB’s Commissioner's Trophy
Seen here with Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez and his teammates after the Sox won the World Series in 2004, the Commissioner's Trophy is awarded to the winner of the World Series every year.
It's the only trophy in the four major North American sports leagues that is not named after a particular person, and it features a flag for each of the teams in Major League Baseball.
Unlike in hockey, a new trophy is given to the Series winner every year. The trophy is approximately 24 inches tall and weighs 30 pounds. Next
NFL’s Vince Lombardi Trophy
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has won three Vince Lombardi trophies, given every year to the winner of the NFL's Super Bowl. Awarded for the first time in 1967, the trophy was named after legendary Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi in 1970.
Just as in baseball, the trophy – which is 22 inches tall and weighs seven pounds – is newly made for the winning team every year. Next
NBA’s Larry O'Brien Trophy
Named in honor of former NBA commissioner Larry O'Brien, the Larry O'Brien trophy is awarded to the winner of the NBA championship at the conclusion of every season. The current trophy design was instituted in 1977, but the name of the trophy was the Walter A. Brown Trophy until 1984, when it was renamed after O'Brien.
The Celtics were the first winner of the trophy in 1984, and Kevin Garnett (pictured) and his Boston teammates celebrated with it during a victory parade in 2008. The Celtics have won the NBA title a record 17 times. Next
FIFA World Cup Trophy
There have been two trophies in the storied history of soccer's World Cup. The first, called the Jules Rimet Trophy and awarded to Uruguay as the first winner in 1930, was stolen in 1983 and never recovered.
Luckily for FIFA, a replacement trophy was commissioned before that, for the 1974 World Cup. The current trophy is made of 18K gold and stands 14.4 inches tall.
The name of the winning team for each World Cup is engraved on the trophy's base. Next
Olympic gold medals
It's hard to argue with the aesthetic appeal of the Olympic gold medal. Sported here by Needham native and London Olympics gymnastics star Aly Raisman, Olympic medals are unique to the games for which they were created.
Medals were first adopted for the 1904 Olympic summer games and were based on the medals given for military awards. Next
Indianapolis 500’s Borg-Warner Trophy
As is the custom with several major sports trophies. winners of the Indy 500 like Tony Kanaan are permanently honored on the championship trophy. In the case of Indy, however, each winner has his face etched on the trophy, which was donated by the Borg-Warner Automotive Company in 1935. Winners receive a smaller-sized replica.
Prior to accepting the trophy, however, the Indy winner participates in one of sports' most unique celebrations, drinking from a bottle of milk on Victory Lane. The tradition was begun by three-time winner Louis Meyer, who was photographed gulping some after a win and a milk company executive seized on a promotional opportunity. Next
British Open’s Claret Jug
The champion golfer of the year is presented with The Golf Champion Trophy, although it is more commonly called the Claret Jug because that's exactly what it is, a vessel for wine.
The three original clubs that hosted the Open – Edinburgh, St. Andrews and Prestwick – purchased it and made it the prize beginning in 1873.
Like many of the biggest prizes in sports, its winners keep it for the year, then return it when the next event rolls around. Next
College football’s: Heisman Trophy
The pose struck by the figure on the Heisman Memorial Trophy has been re-enacted countless times, including famously by Desmond Howard as he ran into the end zone during a Michigan-Ohio State game in 1991. The trophy is awarded to the most outstanding player of the year, and is named for John W. Heisman, a coach credited with football innovations such as the forward pass and many modern rules.
It was first awarded, by the Downtown Athletic Club in New York, in 1935 to Chicago's Jay Berwanger. Last year, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel won it. Next
The Masters’ Green Jacket
From Carl Spackler to the PGA Tour’s best, what golfer hasn't quipped about winning the Green Jacket? Formally awarded since 1949, the green jacket is given in addition to a cash prize to the winner of the Masters, held every year at ultra-exclusive Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.
The jacket is the official attire worn by members of Augusta National, which makes every recipient and Masters winner an honorary member of the club. Sam Snead's first Masters title began the tradition.
In 2013, Adam Scott received his jacket from the previous year’s champion, Bubba Watson, as is the custom following the final round. Next
Boston Marathon’s olive wreath
If running in the Boston Marathon is the ultimate achievement for distance runners, the olive wreath is the ultimate symbol of distance running success. The wreaths are a nod to the marathon's roots in the Olympics, where champions of the early games in Greece were presented with olive wreaths.
In 2013, Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia and Rita Jeptoo of Kenya were the men’s and women’s winners. Next
Wimbledon’s Rosewater Dish
While the men's winner of the famous tennis tournament held every summer at London's All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club gets a pretty nifty trophy, the women's prize is far more distinctive because it is not a trophy at all. The Rosewater Dish, also called a silver salver or the Venus Rosewater Dish, features images from mythology and was first presented in 1886.
Serena Williams won it in 2012, her third, and her sister, Venus, won it five times. Next
Tour de France’s yellow jersey
In the Tour de France, bicycling's most prestigious race, the rider with the lowest aggregate time at the end of each day wears a yellow jersey, or in French, maillot jaune. The first winner to formally wear the yellow was Eugene Christophe in 1919.
In recent years, the yellow jersey has been tainted by a cloud of suspicion following a number of high-profile cases of cheating while attempting to win it. Most notably, American Lance Armstrong was stripped of seven Tour de France titles because he was discovered to have used performance-enhancing drugs. Floyd Landis, another American, was stripped of the 2006 title.
In 2012, Bradley Wiggins became the first rider from England to win the yellow jersey. Next
Kentucky Derby’s garland of roses
Among the many traditions associated with the biggest horse race every year is a garland of roses presented to the winning horse and jockey. The red rose was adopted as the official flower of the race in 1904 because of their popularity at Derby parties, although the presentation of an arrangement of white and pink roses to the winners began in 1896.
A New York sports columnist later dubbed the race the "run for the roses."
Jockey Joel Rosario rode Orb to the victory in the 2013 edition of the race. Next
College football rivalry trophies
Many of the annual college football rivalry games feature unique prizes such as the Paul Bunyan Trophy, awarded annually to the winner of the Michigan-Michigan State game and not to be confused with the Paul Bunyan Axe (Minnesota vs. Wisconsin).
Others include the Fremont Cannon (Nevada vs. UNLV); the Stanford Axe (Cal-Berkeley vs. Stanford); the Old Oaken Bucket (Indiana vs. Purdue); the Apple Cup (Washington vs. Washington State); and the Wagon Wheel (Akron vs. Kent State). Next
Which one would you want the most?
It’s OK, you can admit it, you’ve dreamed of what it would be like to be on the highest stage a sport has to offer with a chance to win one of its greatest prizes. Would it be one we’ve described here? Perhaps a trip to a NASCAR victory lane, or standing on the podium at a World Cup ski race?
Cast your vote below, or write in your choice.
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