I didn’t, until blogger (and deacon’s wife!) Kathy Schiffer wrote about it a few days back:
Seven-week-old Alva Felicia Sundstrom, niece of Detroit Red Wings’ right winger Tomas Holmstrom, was baptized in “Lord Stanley” on July 25, 2008, in a private ceremony outside Holmstrom’s hometown of Pitea, in northern Sweden. Robert Sundstrom, who is Holmstrom’s cousin and Alva’s father, said that the two men had been sitting together in the kitchen of Holmstrom’s summer cabin when the idea came up. Arrangements were made; and the only outsiders permitted were the two American security guards who travel with the Cup.
The Canadian Press had this report at the time:
“Tomas came up with the idea when we were sitting in his summer cabin kitchen a week ago,” Sundstrom said. “Me and my wife thought it would be fun to christen our daughter in such a priceless object.”
Googling around, I found the photograph below, which appears to be the event described above (but the date isn’t clear). Certainly, someone is using the Cup for a font:
I did a little digging, though, and it turns out that wasn’t the first time the Stanley Cup has been used sacramentally.
That dubious distinction — and I do mean dubious — happened nearly a decade earlier:
In 1996, Sylvain Lefebvre of the Colorado Avalanche became the first player to use the Stanley Cup as a baptismal font, as his daughter Alexzandra was baptized in it.
When this news first broke about Holmstrom three years ago, people were understandably furious. Especially hockey fans:
One reader wrote: “I hope the league fines and severely reprimands Holmstrom for abusing the cup in this manner. This to me shows a total lack of respect for the trophy. He should be ashamed. I cannot believe that the cup custodians even allowed this to happen. I am outraged.”
Yeah. Outrage indeed. Kathy puts it perfectly:
It was not the repurposed Cup, but the Sacrament of Baptism that was slightly dented in this charade. With the Holy Grail filled to the brim with holy water, it’s hard to imagine that the baby’s parents and godparents were focused on Original Sin, and prayers, and introducing their newborn child to God. No, I’m thinking they were googly-eyed over their daughter’s expensive and highly acclaimed baptismal font.
For what it’s worth: it appears that the rituals involved were not Catholic.
But I can’t imagine that serious-minded Christians of any stripe would look at something like this and think, “You know, that’s a great idea! Where’s my old bowling trophy?”
This whole gimmick turns something sacred into something worse than profane. It’s just a laughable stunt. And a tacky one, at that.