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Stanley Cup Introduction
Hockey has long been celebrated as Canada's favourite national pastime, and the game's most famous championship remains an integral part of the nation's sport heritage. Originally designated the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, the Stanley Cup was commissioned by Canada's sixth Governor General, Lord Stanley of Preston, and was first awarded to the winners of the Canadian amateur hockey championship in 1893. The prestige associated with winning the Stanley Cup quickly increased, and professional players began to compete for the trophy in Canada in the early 1900's. By 1914, the championship title was no longer restricted to Canadian teams, and it subsequently became the top prize for professional teams in the National Hockey League (NHL). Although professional hockey players from around the world currently vie for the Stanley Cup every year during NHL playoffs, the championship and iconic silver trophy remain popularly associated with Canadian national identity.