When Robert Bridenstine woke up Wednesday morning, the NHL’s Stanley Cup was the last thing on his mind.
It was a typical Wednesday. He’d wake up, go to class, then head to work at a local ice rink in Wesley Chapel. Little did he know that on his way to class, he’d come across the Stanley Cup, the most important trophy for one of his favorite sports, standing tall in the middle of the plaza outside of USF’s Student Services.
“If I would’ve known, I would’ve worn some Lightning gear for the picture,” Bridenstine said. “I had no idea at all. I wouldn’t have gone with the red sweater like I did.”
On campus, for the first time ever, students were able to take pictures with the Stanley Cup from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Bull Market.
The Lightning, Bridenstine’s favorite hockey team, will host NHL All Star Weekend starting Friday, which is why The Cup will be making its rounds in Tampa. USF was just the first of a few stops for The Cup, which then moved on to MacDill Air Force Base.
Despite the significance of The Cup, rules weren’t strict in regard to taking pictures and touching it. Joe Maury, a worker for the Lightning who was with The Cup at Bull Market, said that two kids even sat in the top of The Cup for a photo op.
Though Bridenstine was sure to take a photo with The Cup, he made sure he didn’t touch it. The reason was in line with the common NHL superstition: If you touch The Cup before your team rightfully wins it, your team won’t win the NHL Championship.
“I didn’t see anybody do anything too crazy for pictures,” Bridenstine said. “I saw a couple of girls posing and pretending to kiss it. I guess, for me, as a hockey fan, you know that you don’t touch The Cup unless you win it. I saw some people touching it, and I’m thinking on the inside, cringing, saying to myself, ‘please don’t be a Lightning fan.’”