The University of British Columbia men’s soccer team has joined Canadian sporting lore by winning a major championship – and then losing its trophy at the bar.
Now the team is hoping the Sam Davidson Memorial Trophy will turn up safe and sound – as the Stanley Cup did after an Ottawa Silver Seven player punted it into the Rideau Canal after a victory party in 1905, and as the Grey Cup did after it disappeared from an Oakville, Ont., pub 16 years ago.
“Many significant trophies have their own story. This is this trophy’s story,” Mike Mosher, the UBC’s men’s soccer coach, said in an interview Thursday.
UBC beat Laval on Nov. 10 to capture its second straight Canadian Interuniversity Sport title. Three days later, back in Vancouver from Fredericton, the players headed to an on-campus pub with friends and family to celebrate. A picture distributed on social media appears to show one of the players taking a ceremonial sip out of the trophy before it disappeared.
Dan Elliott, manager of media relations for UBC athletics, said the team has not contacted police. It has been in contact with the Pit Pub and is hoping media coverage will help the trophy turn up.
“We would rather this person, whoever it may be, give it back,” he said.
The trophy disappeared on Wednesday of last week.
“At one point in the night, one of the players figured, ‘OK, enough time with the cup, we’ll put it behind the bar for safekeeping.’ And then when he went back at the end of the night, it was gone,” Mr. Elliott said. “So, between the time he put it there and the end of the night, someone had come in and taken it.”
Mr. Mosher said the disappearance has, ironically, brought more attention to the team’s successes.
Mr. Mosher did add that he was disappointed to learn of the disappearance, but does not believe any of the players acted maliciously. He said he doesn’t plan to discipline them, and just wants the trophy returned.
Michel Bélanger, manager of media relations with CIS, said the organization will, for now, leave the search up to UBC. He noted the CIS is very busy this week with the Vanier Cup, the national football championship.
“If it hasn’t turned up in a week, we’re going to start really worrying about it,” he said in an interview.
Mr. Bélanger said such disappearances are quite common. He said the University Cup, which is awarded to the men’s hockey national champion, disappeared a few years ago before being found in a garbage container.
He expressed confidence the Sam Davidson Memorial Trophy, named for the man who helped build soccer in Manitoba, will also turn up.
“Things happen. University kids, what can you do? On the one hand, we think it’s great that they’re celebrating with the trophy. … But you never want them to actually lose the trophy,” Mr. Bélanger said.
The Sam Davidson trophy does not, of course, have quite the checkered history of other Canadian trophies.
The Hockey Hall of Fame website details several instances in which the Stanley Cup was misplaced. Two years after the Rideau Canal incident, the Montreal Wanderers forgot the cup at a photographer’s home.
In 1924, the Montreal Canadiens forgot the cup by the side of the road on their way to a victory party.
Former Toronto Argonauts kicker Mike Vanderjagt lost track of the Grey Cup in 1997, after taking it an Oakville bar. It was later found in a college student’s kitchen and returned.
The Grey Cup was also stolen in Ottawa in 1969 and held for ransom. But the Canadian Football League refused to pay, and the cup was eventually found in a hotel locker.