At a hastily called press conference yesterday afternoon, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the repatriation of the Stanley Cup. Given the recent victory by the Anaheim Ducks, the now fifteen-year hiatus had become a national emergency and something had to be done.
"During the early hours of this morning I invoked the Emergencies Act," said Mr. Harper. "Members of Joint Task Force Three, our newest crack commando unit, broke into the Honda Center in Anaheim and liberated the Stanley Cup."
"It is now on its way back to Canada by bus or possibly UPS," said the Prime Minister. "And it should be arriving sometime later tomorrow."
Apparently the long history of American-based teams winning the ultimate hockey trophy became too much for the government. In recent years, it was hoped that such Canadian teams as Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa could bring the Cup home but each attempt ended in failure.
"We had great hopes for the Senators this year," said the PM. "But, let’s face it, they’re not the Leafs and they just couldn’t get the job done."
What rankled most was that the last three Cup victories went to southern U. S. cities where the championship was barely noticed. Between Tampa Bay, Raleigh and Anaheim, it’s difficult to find any sustained interest in hockey beyond a few thousand faithful fans in each town.
"We are bringing the Stanley Cup back to its rightful home," said Prime Minister Harper. "After all, Lord Stanley wanted his trophy to go to the champion team of Canada, not some southern backwater in the U. S."
If history is any indication, it seems likely that the Anaheim Ducks will do what the Anaheim Angels did after their 2002 World Series championship - i.e. - hold their victory parade in Disneyland.
"I could not stand by and do nothing," said Harper. "CSIS agents reported that there was a distinct possibility that the Ducks would be marching through the Magic Kingdom and that Mickey Mouse himself might even be carrying the Cup. I think all Canadians would agree that such a provocative act would be an abomination and totally unacceptable."
It is not known what plans the Canadian government has for the Cup. But some inside sources have suggested that Harper may agree to return it to the NHL on condition that they revive franchises in Winnipeg and Québec City and allow new owner Jim Balsillie to move the Nashville Predators to Hamilton.
"An NHL team in Nashville," Harper exclaimed. "How ridiculous. What’s next? A team in Columbus or Las Vegas?"
NHL head Gary Bettman is reportedly outraged at the actions of the Canadian government.
"What right does Canada have to take the Stanley Cup," asked the diminutive league commissioner. "If they keep pulling stunts like this, how the hell are we ever going to get a U. S. TV network contract?"
Despite the outrage from the league, it appears that the Prime Minister is in a position of strength, not so much because of Canada’s questionable military power but more due to widespread American apathy.
When asked to comment on Stephen Harper’s unilateral and undoubtedly illegal move, President George W. Bush uncharacteristically asked for calm and announced: "I don’t see a major problem here, Steve. I think if you asked most Americans if you could have the Stanley Cup back they’d say ‘What’s the Stanley Cup?’ So help yourself. No hard feelings. Just don’t try to grab the Super Bowl. Then, of course, we’d have to invade."