Stanley Cup makes baptism tour of Sweden

The Stanley Cup, ice hockey's holy grail, was put to unorthodox use as it made its way across Sweden this July - as a baptismal font.

Stanley Cup makes baptism tour of Sweden
Photo: Dave Olson (File)

The Stanley Cup is awarded to the team that wins the National Hockey League (NHL) championship.

This year the prize was claimed by the Detroit Red Wings, a team featuring nine Swedish hockey stars, which defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins back in June.

According to tradition, the massive silver trophy gets to spend a day at the home of each of the members of the squad and this July it has been doing the rounds in Sweden escorted by two burly American security guards.

Along the way it has been put to a slightly novel use – as a baptismal font.

First stop was Tomas Holmström in Piteå in northern Sweden. Holmström decided to celebrate his day with ice hockey’s most prestigious trophy by letting his cousin use it for the christening of his seven-week-old daughter Alva Felicia.

“Tomas came up with the idea when we were sitting in the kitchen of his summer cabin a week ago; my wife and I thought it would be fun to christen our daughter in such a priceless object,” Holmström’s cousin, Robert Sundstrom, said to the Canadian newspaper, the Winnipeg Sun.

The only witnesses at the ceremony were the NHL security guards who kept a watchful eye on their precious cargo.

The cup then passed through Detroit Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidström’s home town of Västerås. As far as the media is aware the trophy had a quiet, uneventful day with the holidaying Lidströms.

By the time the Stanley Cup made its way to the south of Sweden and to the home town of Andreas Lilja, it was time for it to be put back into ceremonial use.

Andreas Lilja, following the example set by his team mate Holmström in Piteå, decided to baptize his two young daughters – Maya, 10 months and Tilda, 5 years – in the 89.54 centimetre high trophy, according to Expressen.

The baptism took place at the Andreas Lilja’s family home in Laröd, north of Helsingborg.

“Tilda understands what the Stanley Cup means. When we had a procession with the trophy in Detroit the streets were lined with 1.4 million people. She gets just how big this is,” said Andreas Lilja to Expressen.

Apart from captain Niklas Lidström, the first European player to lift the Stanley Cup, Tomas Holmström and Andreas Lilja, the other Swedes that helped Detroit to the trophy were: Mikael Samuelson, Mattlias Ritola, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson.


Swedish police remove sculpture mistaken for suicide victim

Police on the island of Gotland removed a public sculpture from the Galgberget nature reserve near Visby on the grounds that it is just too creepy.

Swedish police remove sculpture mistaken for suicide victim
The gallows at Galgeberget. Photo: Artifex/WikiCommons
According to local news site Hela Gotland, someone was out for a stroll on Galgeberget (the Gallows Hill) on Wednesday when they saw what they thought was a body hanging after a suicide. Local police were contacted but when they went to investigate they instead found a sculpture by artist Jessica Lundeberg. 
The artwork, entitled ‘The Watcher in the Woods’, is a partially transparent plate sculpture that looks like a spooky little girl. 
Despite discovering that the suspected suicide victim was actually artwork, police determined that Lundeberg’s piece could scare others and thus took the sculpture down. 
“It was decided that if it were to remain, more people would likely be frightened in the same way,” Gotland police spokesman Ayman Aboulaich told Radio P4 Gotland. 
Lundeberg told Hela Gotland that the sculpture has been at Galgeberget since a public art project last summer and that this was the first time it had caused any concern. She said ‘The Watcher in the Woods’ was the only piece that was allowed to remain after the end of the project. But now it is there no more. 
Lundeberg has taken the sculpture back to her studio. While she hopes it will eventually return to Galgeberget, the artist told Hela Gotland it seems unlikely.  
She said that the sculpture was damaged by police. 
“It was ragged, dismantled and broken. I was horrified when I saw it,” she said. 
Police have reportedly promised to pay any necessary repair costs.
Although the person who reported the sculpture to the police has not spoken with the media, their jump to conclusions could perhaps be attributed to the nature reserve’s macabre history. Galgeberget is still home to gallows that were used to hang criminals for centuries. The last execution to be held at the site was in 1845, according to Hela Gotland