Should Trophy Presentations Be A Players Only Event?

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Should Trophy Presentations Be A Players Only Event? | Sports Takes & News | TooAthletic.com

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The NHL has crowned the Tampa Bay Lightning their Stanley Cup Champions for the second straight season. Yet, for some watching the celebration of their second championship Wednesday night, it was more important to point out who wasn’t involved in the on-line festivities as it was to enjoy the moment itself. That’s because some in the sports media who cover other sports urged other leagues to follow the NHL model by keeping owners and general managers away from the party and make every trophy presentation a players only event. Do you agree that a championship trophy should be given to the those in uniform only, or do those who put together the roster and sign the paychecks have a right to be there as well?

The tweets were simple and came from some baseball writers who were double dipping Wednesday night when they were watching the final game of the NHL Final. They called for Major League Baseball to keep owners, general managers and other front office personnel off the field. Pretty much the people who often flood the field after their team wins a World Series. With fans in those sports probably not as interested in such details, it is important to note that most sports have created a staged trophy presentation after a champion is crowned and a season is over. 

For the NFL, seeing the winning franchise owner accept the Lombardi Trophy from the commissioner is as much tradition now as anything else involved in the Super Bowl. Yet in hockey, perhaps for the simple reason of having the game be played on ice, the captain of the winning team is presented the trophy before having the honor of holding the Stanley Cup and skating around the ice.

Clearly it takes an organization to win a sports title, with some owners more involved than others, and with some general managers putting together the right mix of players, making that last minute trade to push a team over the top, or just allowing a roster to grow together and build chemistry. And, like it or not, without a franchise owner being willing to hire everyone, write and sign the checks, and allowing things to unfold, a team would also be unable to win a title. 

The simple compromise is having the players be presented with the winner’s trophy and allow them to pop the first corks of champagne either on the field or in the locker room. Then, after their bonding moment, allow team executives into the event, with the team captain giving the trophy to the owner for a few photos for social media. 

The one area that I believe the NHL has things right is by having every player’s name engraved on the Stanley Cup; something that would be easy to adopt in other sports once a franchise is awarded their official trophy that goes into their display case.

I, for one, like seeing players celebrate with other players after winning a title, and they should also be allowed to have their moment away from the team brass. I also accept the fact that Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots genuinely believes he had something to do with those six Super Bowl wins his team has had, even thought that’s probably not true. We know that owners are never leaving the celebration altogether, so it’s just a matter of when they join the party; which, to me should only come when the players say, “OK, let everyone else in;” because until then, THEY are the champions, and everyone else in the organization is only along for the ride. 

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