Stashed away inside an office in Langley is a significant piece of local and Canadian sporting history, and a group of Mission residents are trying their best to bring it back home.
The Pakenham Cup, the second oldest amateur sporting trophy in Canada, has been a fixture in the Fraser Valley soccer scene since 1909 when Frederick Edward Pakenham donated the sterling silver cup for soccer challenge competition.
Only the Stanley Cup has been competed for longer in Canada than the Pakenham Cup, which Abbotsford teams have battled for decades to win.
The cup itself traces back to the 1700s after it was given to the Pakenham family by King George III of England. The Pakenhams were from aristocratic blood and counted the Duke of Wellington among their relatives.
While the background of the cup may be regal, the cup’s path since crossing the pond has been chaotic.
Coun. Jim Hinds, who is part of the group attempting to bring the cup back to Mission, said his research revealed the cup’s many bizarre travels.
“The cup has a very checkered past in relation to possession,” he explained. “From 1928 to 1947, no one could find the cup and it eventually was found in a Lower Mainland second hand store. Then in 1965 Coquitlam won but never returned the cup. Someone found it in a closet when they were moving in 1972 and it was returned.”
Hinds said a replica of the cup was made in the 1950s, but that cup was also quickly lost and has never been recovered.
He noted that the Aug. 12, 1909 edition of the Fraser Valley Record references a meeting held with Mission village council at the time in which Pakenham donated the cup.
“It was stated for one match to be played on Labour Day, winners to play all comers on the day of the Agricultural Exhibition, any team from New Westminster east to the Fraser Valley is eligible to play,” he said. “And the cup is to be played for each year in Mission.”
Despite not being in Mission, the Pakenham Cup continues to be competed for every year in the Fraser Valley Soccer League. Hinds said he would have no problem allowing the FVSL to continue to present it every year, but that he would like to see the cup prominently displayed in its true hometown.
“The problem is it sits in a closet in their office and they bring it out once a year for a tournament in the spring,” he said. “We’d like to get the cup back into Mission to be on permanent display. They could still use it, we have no problem with that. We just think it should be back in Mission.”
Tok Herar, who remembers playing for the cup when he was younger, said it would be great for the community to have it return.
“It was played for in Mission when I first started playing here,” he said. “It would be great if we could have our own yearly tournament for it played in Mission and promote it all over the Fraser Valley. But above all we would like to see it properly displayed in the Mission Leisure Centre for everyone to see.”
The last time a Mission team won the trophy outright was back in 1950. Mission also won a share of the cup back in 1951, when a game between Mission and Bradner went to triple overtime and the game was eventually called a draw.
Hinds said he’s hoping to meet with the FVSL in November to figure out a way to get the cup back to Mission. He agrees with Herar that returning the cup home would be a great way to showcase Mission’s past.