On this day 125 years ago, Lord Stanley pledged to donate a silver cup to the best Canadian hockey team, establishing the Stanley Cup. It is the oldest existing trophy to be awarded to a professional sports franchise, and is given to the National Hockey League playoff winner each year. The original trophy was a bowl made of silver, a copy of which now adorns the top of the current Stanley Cup, a huge 35-pound piece of silver and nickel alloy 35 inches high. Unlike the trophies awarded by the other major professional sports leagues, a new Stanley Cup is not made each year—it is passed between the former and new champions. (1893)
MORE Good News on this Date:
- Frank Sinatra made his first recording, a song called ‘Our Love’, with the Frank Mane band (1939)
- 4,400-year-old mummy found in Egyptian Pyramid (1989)
- South Africa voted for political reforms to end apartheid (1992)
- The first-ever Muslim Friday prayer led by a woman (in a mixed-gender New York mosque) marked a break with 1426-year Islamic tradition (2005)
And, on this date in 1965, Alexei Leonov became the first human to float in space, exiting his Soviet capsule, the Voskhod 2, for a 12-minute spacewalk. He almost did not make it back through the door after his suit unexpectedly inflated and stiffened, but boldly let out some of the air in his suit and forcibly squeezed back through the small entrance to safety. Welcomed back as a hero, Leonov completed man’s first spacewalk just ten weeks before the Americans. A decade later in 1975 Leonov commanded the Soyuz 19 in the first joint space mission between the Soviet Union and the United States, the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, which marked the end of the Space Race between the two nations, a symbol of détente, a policy which both governments were pursuing at the time.
He was the first to demonstrate that a flying apparatus could rise into the air by running on wheels upon an ordinary road. His monoplane is credited with a powered hop of 11 meters/36 feet. Though unsuccessful in sustained flight, the invention influenced Louis Blériot in building monoplanes. Later, Vuia also designed helicopters.
“I have never sought for glory, as I know that glory often makes a man lose himself,” said Vuia. “I do not work for my own personal glory, but for the glory of the human genius. What difference does it make, who did these things?…Really important is that they exist.”