07/23/2012 05:01 EDT | Updated 09/22/2012 05:12 EDT

Winning hockey team faces bill for damages to 'prestigious' trophy

Quebec's Major Junior Hockey League said the team that damaged one of the oldest hockey trophies in North America will be billed for it.

The Memorial Cup was first presented in 1919 to honour Canadians who died in the First World War.

The Shawinigan Cataractes of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League won the 2012 Memorial Cup in May. With that victory, each player had the privilege of hanging out with the trophy for 24 hours.

Over the course of a few weeks, the wooden base was broken, the metal cup was cracked and dented, and the two miniature players on either side of the cup were missing.

The communications director for the league, Photi Sotiropolous, said the team that wins the cup has to take out an insurance policy for the summer. He said the team is then billed for any damage not covered by the insurance.

"It's an incredibly old trophy and certainly one of the most prestigious ones in North America in terms of hockey," said Sotiropolous.

The league's commissioner, Gilles Courteau, released a statement Monday afternoon saying the damages will be billed to the team. "It is unfortunate and deplorable to see it in such a state," he said.

The team's general manager Martin Mondou said he's disappointed with the cup's treatment at the hands of his players. He said he had thought his players had enough judgment to take care of such a prestigious item but it appears he was mistaken.