When you go swimming or fishing as a kid in just about any natural body of water, the dream, the thing that would make your day, is finding something really amazing. A massive fish. The beginning of a mystery. Some kind of treasure.
But it rarely goes down that way -- something that's been lampooned in cartoons for decades, as kids go home with tin cans, fish bones, and soggy old boots.
It actually happened to eight-year old Anthony Theriault, however. The kid was swimming in New Brunswick's Restigouche River this summer when he came across this:
It's a ring with a Stanley Cup on it... HOLY CRAP IT'S A STANLEY CUP RING.
The great thing about Cup rings is that they're identifiable, since they tend to have the player's name and number engraved on them. This one is no exception: as the ring has the Montreal Canadiens logo, with the initials and number of now 96-year-old former Canadiens' centre Elmer Lach, along with the year 1945-46, a year the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup.
Did Elmer Lach really drop his Stanley Cup ring in a river?
Probably not, unfortunately.
This is an incredible story, and there's no question the ring has some value, but it's likely not the priceless heirloom it appears to be. It's a cheap knockoff.
According to Dave Stubbs, someone came forward to admit the ring never belonged to Lach, but instead to a friend of his:
Update: Overnight email says discovered #Habs Lach Stanley Cup ring is in fact a replica worth $100 dropped in Restigouche by emailer's pal
— Dave Stubbs (@Dave_Stubbs) August 9, 2014
Which makes some sense. The boy's ring looks almost brand-new for a piece of jewelry that's supposedly almost 70 years old, and could have been sitting at the bottom of the river for decades.
— Bridget Yard (@bridgetyard) August 8, 2014
That looks a lot more like the Cup rings they make now, and when you contrast it with the rings the city of Montreal gave the Canadiens in 1946-46, one of which was auctioned off in 2012, it's hard to believe this ring is, in fact, as old as its inscription claims.
So it would make a lot more sense if it were made in 2011, and wouldn't you know it, Pristine Auctions hocked an Elmer Lach replica Cup ring not too long ago.
That ring, made of metal alloy and a bit of 18K Gold, then decorated with cubic zirconias, went for $26.24 at auction. Enough money that, if it slipped off during a boat trip, it probably wouldn't be worth going after. Which is what likely happened.
But don't weep for this kid. A $20 ring is nothing to sneeze at for an eight-year-old, and after all the media coverage he's gotten, I'd say treasure or no treasure, he got a pretty interesting adventure nonetheless.
If I'm this kid, I whip the ring back into the river, then hope it doesn't turn up again for another three years, until the hockey world has forgotten about this adventure, and some new eight-year-old can relive the entire thing.