May 23, 2014
Justin O’Halloran has likely done more cleaning this past week than he has in his entire life. But when your job is ‘Guardian of the Memorial Cup,’ you have to make sure the historic, 95-year-old trophy is looking its best.
With London hosting the 2014 MasterCard Memorial Cup, which wraps up this Sunday with the championship game at Budweiser Gardens, O’Halloran seized an opportunity to get involved.
Part of his fourth-year Kinesiology program included a field placement. In December, CSTT Sport Management, the company responsible for organizing the Memorial Cup, posted an internship opportunity on its website.
“The job was described as developing a community tour; the CHL had expressed interest in bringing the Memorial Cup to locations throughout London and the surrounding community,” said O’Halloran, who graduates this year with a BA in Kinesiology (Honours Specialization in Sport Management).
“Throughout the semester, I was working with various parties throughout the city in regards to this community tour. And due to the amount of time I would be spending with The Cup during the community tour, the CHL decided I would be the dedicated guardian of the Memorial Cup. This role really snowballed quickly.”
The past week has been a whirlwind of activities for O’Halloran, who has been working non-stop showcasing the Memorial Cup across the city.
“This week has been an amazing experience – such a joy to bring the Memorial Cup around the city,” he said. “I have had a lot of fun and met a lot of amazing people. I have been able to check out a couple of the games from the back of house at the Budweiser Gardens, but I am often exhausted after a long day of running around the city.”
The Memorial Cup was proposed by Capt. James T. Sutherland during the First World War as a memorial to remember the OHA’s players who died during the war. When the trophy was created, it was dedicated in honour of the soldiers who died fighting for Canada in the war. During the 2010 tournament, the trophy was rededicated to honour all soldiers who died fighting for Canada in any conflict.
“I take great pride in being able to share the Memorial Cup with the citizens of London, while also being able to inform people about its significance,” he said. “You would be surprised how few people know about why the Memorial Cup exists, and its relation to the Canadian military.”
The role of ‘guardian’ also has its nuances, O’Halloran added. The Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame is particular about how The Cup is handled. In fact, he is not allowed to personally polish the cup, but “I do like to give it a good cleaning with a dry cloth.”
O’Halloran called his Memorial Cup experience an “absolute honour.”
“If I could give any advice to current Western students, or recent graduates, it would be to get out there and volunteer your time,” he said. “These events do not come along very often, but when they do, it is very important to get out there and make your name known. I have networked extensively throughout the duration of my time with the Memorial Cup, and I am certain these connections will lead to bigger and better things.”
But for now, it’s back to cleaning the Memorial Cup for Sunday night’s presentation.