When the Prince of Wales trophy was presented to Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov, the team wasn't concerned with being superstitious. The Panthers celebrated defeating the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Final by parading the trophy around.
"The last thing that we're going to do is be superstitious about not touching it," Panthers star Matthew Tkachuk said. "Like, nobody said we were even going to make the playoffs. I think it's pretty cool to touch it, carry it around, and take picture with it. We earned that thing."
In previous years, some teams elected not to touch the Prince of Wales trophy as some viewed it as bad luck when it came to their chances in the Stanley Cup Final.
However, the Tampa Bay Lightning ended up touching the trophy in each of the past three seasons. The Lightning won back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2020 and 2021, but were defeated by the Colorado Avalanche in six games last season.
Prior to the Lightning, the Boston Bruins elected not to pick up the trophy in 2019. The Bruins were defeated by the St. Louis Blues in seven games in the Stanley Cup Final that year.
In addition, the New Jersey Devils (2012), Bruins (2013), New York Rangers (2014), and Lightning (2015) all lost in the Stanley Cup Final after refusing to touch it.
Five of the last seven teams that won the Stanley Cup have touched the Prince of Wales trophy. However, it's worth noting that the 2011 Boston Bruins were the most recent Eastern Conference team to not touch the Prince of Wales trophy and win the Stanley Cup.
When the Panthers advanced to their only other Stanley Cup Final in 1996, captain Brian Skrudland hoisted the trophy in the air. The Panthers were swept by the Avalanche in the Final that year.
The Panthers will face the winner of the Western Conference Final between the Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights.