“What’s the Stanley Cup doing in Farragut Park during lunch?!”
That sentiment was shared by tourists and office workers on Thursday afternoon as the holy grail of hockey prizes was on display in downtown Washington. As part of a multicity promotional tour by NBC Sports, the Stanley Cup stopped by Farragut Square on Thursday afternoon, prompting questioning gazes and abruptly-ended phone calls from people who didn’t expect to see the trophy in the heart of the District.
“We’re on a little bit of a whirlwind tour, at least in the United States … we’re trying to bring the Cup to the local markets to get the fans engaged and get them pumped up for playoff hockey,” said Mike McGrath, Senior Manager of Marketing Operations for NBC Sports. Washington is the first of several stops, McGrath added, with visits to Chicago, Raleigh, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Pittsburgh on the itinerary.
But why this particular location as opposed to national landmarks such as the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and White House?
In McGrath’s words: “The food trucks are obviously iconic.” Coincidentally, a food truck selling the Canadian comfort food known as poutine (gravy and cheese curds on top of french fries) was open for business on 17th Street, less than 200 feet away.
Howie Borrow, one of the “Keepers of the Cup,” a group that shepherds the trophy around the world, was in charge of giving the 125-year-old trophy the white-glove treatment.
“It’s been great, the fans have been incredible,” Borrow said. “Everybody’s excited, they get kind of that shock treatment by seeing the Cup like, ‘Wow, why is it here?’
“Sometimes you’ll get the odd question because people don’t quite know what it is or maybe they are in shock and they stand there looking at it. I guess they just can’t believe that it actually is here. But once they see it and get close and they know what it is…