Toronto, Ontario - The Stanley Cup is no more. The professional sports world's most iconic championship trophy has been recast into dozens of personal "Support Stanleys" - individual-sized cups designed to shield a player's privates from the brutality of hockey.
The move is at the center of a safety campaign by the National Hockey League. The NHL has been rocked by a major escalation in serious injuries that has sidelined many of its stars for long stretches of time. Concussions are a big part of the problem, but so too are so-called "lower body injuries."
A recent injury survey by the NHL revealed that 43% of active players have asked their doctors about the possibility of penis transplants. When told that such a procedure does not exist, 29% punched their doctors in the face,11% kicked their physicians in the crotch, and 5% pulled a gun.
"When our best players are hurting below the belt, their performance drops off and ticket sales nose dive," an NHL spokesman said. "That's why protecting our star skaters has become our top priority."
The spokesman explained how the league's iconic trophy went from being part of the problem to being part of the solution: "The players were not taking our commitment to safety seriously. They were only interested in winning the Stanley Cup, even at the cost of a career ending injury."
How to refocus the players? Replace the traditional trophy, which has served as hockey's most sought after prize for more than a century, with protective Stanley Cups, which will be a required component of each player's game gear.
"You might say we're protecting the future of hockey with a piece of its history," the spokesman said.
Player reaction was mixed. "I can't believe they've melted down the god damn Stanley Cup," said Jaques LaPants of the Saskatchewan Oil Slicks. "How are we going to celebrate a championship? I'll tell you one thing. I won't be sipping champagne from my jock or anyone else's."
Brian McDonald, who leads the league in "hits" for the Portland Pounders, was for the change. "The more protection they wear, the harder they'll let me clobber them. This will make it easier for me to do my job, which is putting players in the hospital."
Dirk Dixon, who is attempting to return to the ice after a year battling the effects of two concussions, had this to say: "Is it Tuesday yet? They bring us ice cream on Tuesday."