Phil Pritchard’s tuft of blond hair, blazer embossed with the Hockey Hall of Fame logo and silky white gloves are as recognizable to North American hockey fans as the puck itself. That’s because those gloved hands often cradle the sport’s most coveted treasure: the Stanley Cup.
Pritchard’s on-ice appearances to present the cup to the NHL champions every spring have earned him the moniker “Keeper of the Cup.” But the Sheridan grad has made significant contributions to the sport off the ice, too. As the Vice-President, Resource Centre, and Curator of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, his passion for preserving hockey’s most valuable artifacts have made him Sheridan’s choice for the nominee in the business graduate category for the 2016 Premier’s Awards. Given out in November, the awards celebrate graduates from Ontario’s colleges who have excelled in their fields.
Pritchard’s career has allowed him to pursue his dream job. He came to Sheridan to study business accounting in the hopes of marrying his passion for sports with his natural abilities in math. After graduating in 1984, he studied sports administration at Durham College before landing a job in marketing with the Canadian Hockey League. His math and management skills ensure the hall of fame’s museum is a stable, successful showcase for hockey’s prized possessions, including jerseys, books, equipment and photographs. But for 160 days a year, Pritchard takes on his more familiar role of guiding the iconic trophy around the world. Most of his travel happens over the summer months, when each member of the Stanley Cup winning team spends 24 hours with it. He’s been everywhere from a hot tub in Finland to small towns in Ontario, along with trips to the Winter Olympics, the White House and to visit Lord Stanley’s great- grandson in the United Kingdom. His goal is to bring the Stanley Cup to each of the 75 countries around the world where hockey is played.
Despite his busy schedule, Pritchard always makes time to give back to the college. He’s a member of the alumni associations at both Sheridan and Durham. His work has also earned him honours. He’s a member of Sheridan’s Business Hall of Fame. And in 2009, Pritchard received the Schroeder Award from the International Sports Heritage Association (ISHA), the association’s highest honour. He also sits on the ISHA’s board of directors and the Canadian Association of Sports Heritage’s board. He’s a member of the historical committee of the International Ice Hockey Federation and a member of the Society of International Hockey Research. He continues to earn praise from colleagues for his positive, easy-going personality. In his premier’s award nomination, one colleague described him as “one of the best people I’ve worked with at the league for over 25 years.”
The Premier’s Awards will be presented in Toronto on Nov. 21.