Jinx or silly superstition? The debate continues.
Many NHL players believe you shouldn’t touch the Stanley Cup until winning it – or else. But many also believe touching the Eastern and Western Conference championship trophies – the Prince of Wales Trophy in the East, the Clarence Campbell Bowl in the West – prevents the Stanley Cup from being won.
In 2002, Carolina Hurricanes captain Ron Francis cradled the Prince of Wales trophy after the Canes topped the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Eastern Conference finals. The Canes then were beaten in five games by the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup finals.
Did Francis jinx the Hurricanes? Here’s what he has to say:
"We won the Cup two times when I was in Pittsburgh and both times we took the trophy and we celebrated. So my past with it was we enjoyed it and had success.
"It’s always to me is mindboggling that two teams refuse to touch that conference championship trophy and every year one of them fails to win the Stanley Cup because of some people being superstitious. In Pittsburgh we grabbed it on the ice, we took it in the locker room, we hugged it.
"You have to work incredibly hard to win that. For me, I don’t know why you don’t enjoy it.”
The Red Wings were a powerhouse team in 2002. Even if Francis had kept his distance from the Prince of Wales trophy, the Wings likely would have won against the underdog Hurricanes.
Said Francis: "Personally I was proud of that team and extremely proud of how hard we worked and how far we came. I thought that was something we should enjoy on our way."
One caveat: none of the Hurricanes touched the Prince of Wales Trophy after beating the Buffalo Sabres in Game 7 of the 2006 Eastern finals. They gathered around it but didn’t lay a hand on it.
And the Canes won the Cup.