Earlier today, the Stanley Cup touched down in El Paso for the Kraft Hockeyville festivities. Before the NHL's prized trophy traveled to Fort Bliss and San Jacinto Plaza, it appeared at the Events Center, the home of the El Paso Rhinos.

At that point, players from the Rhinos posed for a picture with the prized trophy. This is the first season that the Junior A team from El Paso is competing in the North American Hockey League. Players from allover the country were excited to pose next to the Stanley Cup.

Steve Kaplowitz.

After the Rhinos were done taking pictures with the trophy, the time came for us to get a glimpse of the famed Stanley Cup. There are three known versions of this trophy that exists today. The first is the original cup awarded in 1892, known as the "Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup." Next is the "Presentation Cup", first created in 1963 and the one that gets awarded to the NHL's Stanley Cup champs. Once it completes its tour with the championship team and players, it returns to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. The final version is a replica of the Presentation Cup, and it serves as a stand-in at the Hall of Fame when the Presentation Cup is on the road, like the trip to El Paso this weekend.

Steve Kaplowitz.

I made the trip today with Kevin Vargas, the Director of Content for Townsquare Media El Paso. Kevin is also a huge Chicago Blackhawks fan and he boasts the best hockey autograph and memorabilia collection in El Paso. When it was his turn to pose with the Stanley Cup, he decided that it was time to say a prayer for his beloved Blackhawks.

Steve Kaplowitz.

Finally, I had a chance to pose with the famed trophy. What was most impressive was seeing the names of every champion engraved into the nearly 35-pound silver chalice. I took my New York Rangers Mark Messier home sweater with me for the special occasion and I had Phil Pritchard join me next to the Stanley Cup. Pritchard has been the official "keeper of the cup" since December 1988, and he was at Madison Square Garden in 1994 carrying the trophy to center ice when the Rangers won their last Stanley Cup.

Steve Kaplowitz

As someone who first started watching hockey games in Long Island nearly 45 years ago, today was the chance of a lifetime. It was also a great way to start off Kraft Hockeyville for El Paso and prepare for the Dallas Stars and Arizona Coyotes Sunday night at the Events Center.

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