• A maquette of a proposed design for a Stanley Cup monument in Ottawa

    A maquette, or small-scale prototype, of a proposed design for a Stanley Cup monument to be installed in Ottawa in 2017. This design by Montreal's Jean Beaudoin and Novalux, one of eight finalists in a national competition, features glass panels engraved with the names of past Stanley Cup winners. In winter, the panels would be coated with a thin layer of ice that visitors could wipe away to reveal the names — a nod to Canada's hockey-friendly climate. (Photo: Alexandra Pope/Canadian Geographic)

The holy grail of hockey, the Stanley Cup, will soon be honoured with a permanent monument in Canada's capital — and Canadians have an opportunity to give feedback on how it will look. 

Eight potential designs were selected by a jury from among 40 submissions to a national design competition and unveiled at the Canada Council for the Arts in Ottawa on September 22. The designs run the gamut from conceptual to literal, but all speak to the importance of hockey and the Stanley Cup to Canada's identity. 

"It's overwhelming how many people have stories about the Stanley Cup, how it affected their lives, how they had dreams about it as a child or even how they dream about their own child hoisting the cup one day," says Barry Padolsky, project manager for the national design competition, which was funded by the Government of Canada with support from the NHL and the Ottawa Senators. "I’m so excited about this competition becoming an event that triggers people’s interest not only in Lord Stanley and who he was, but also in how different artists interpret the same theme."

The winning design will be announced October 27 and the monument will be installed on Ottawa's Sparks Street, a pedestrian mall near Parliament Hill and the War Memorial. An official unveiling is planned for later in 2017, marking 125 years since Frederick Arthur Stanley, Canada's sixth Governor General, donated a challenge cup as a trophy for Canada's best amateur hockey club. (Since 1926, the Stanley Cup has been played exclusively by professional hockey teams.)

Padolsky says the initial phase of the competition focused on the reputation and prior experience of the submitting artists and their ability to deliver a quality product, but the second phase will consider how well each design meets the ultimate goal of educating and inspiring the public. 

That was no small feat for the artists, some of whom had just weeks to bone up on their hockey history.

"From the moment they gave out the competition we’ve been going nonstop, pestering each other with emails at 10 p.m. with little details we want to fix. It’s been quite obsessive," says Sebastian Errazuriz, a Brooklyn, NY-based artist who partnered with Toronto's JA Architecture Studio on a sleek, minimal design that is part solar calendar, part triumphal arch. 

Don Begg, a bronze sculptor whose works can be found on the grounds of three western provincial legislatures, says his challenge was coming up with a monument that would honour both the legacy of Lord Stanley and the modern-day significance of the Stanley Cup. His Instagram-friendly design would allow visitors to pose beneath a replica of the cup as though they are hoisting it in celebration while the figure of Lord Stanley looks on with pride. 

"We wanted to make it so that people would interact with it," he says, "so that whether you're six years old or 97 you can be a part of it ... and see the man that made the cup and what his gift has done for people around the world." 

Canadians are encouraged to view the eight finalists and submit their feedback by email to [email protected] by October 7.