The Stanley Cup without Mr. Hockey? It’s happening
The Stanley Cup cannot grow beyond a certain size.
That means every few years a ring of Cup-winning teams and the names of their players are removed from the top to make room on the bottom for a new ring of future champions. (It’s stored in a vault at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.)
Next to go are the teams and name of winners in the 12 seasons from 1953-54 to 1964-65. That makes room for a ring that begins with last season’s Stanley Cup winners, the Washington Capitals.
But the names being removed include some of the greatest players in NHL history, including three legendary Red Wings – Gordie Howe (1950, 1952, 1954 and 1955), Ted Lindsay (the same) and Alex Delvecchio (1952, 1954 and 1955).
Also being removed are fellow Hall of Famers Maurice Richard, Bobby Hull, Glenn Hall, Stan Mikita, Jacques Plante and Doug Harvey.
But the living members of the group are just fine with it.
"The Cup is only so big," Lindsay, 93, told NHL.com. "You can only put so many names on those five rings. It's a testament to all the great men who have played the game and are being developed today.
“It's an honor for today's players to have their names on the Cup with those who went before them, as it was an honor for me to be on it with the greats who went before me."
His and Howe’s first two Cup wins have already been removed.
"My name coming off the Cup is progress," Lindsay said.
Delvecchio’s first Cup win has also already been removed.
"That's progress, that's the way it is," the 85-year-old Delvecchio said. "I don't have any problem with my name coming off. How big do you expect the Stanley Cup to get? Any bigger, and they wouldn't be able to carry it around after they win it.
"To be honest, I thought that band had already been removed," he said.
Hull and Hall, from the 1961 Chicago Blackhawks, expressed similar sentiments.
"It's been on there for over 50 years, so I guess it's time that someone else got on it," Hull, 79, said. "I'm proud to have been a part of that time when my name was inscribed on the Cup, only once, but it's time there were some kids' names on there so they can enjoy it as much as I have.
"You have to understand that they don't want to change the size of the Cup. It's a pretty nice trophy the way it is, and it would be a shame to have to change the contours of it to keep certain names on it."
Said Hall, 86: "Oh, I don't give a (darn) that I'm coming off the Cup (as a player). I knew that I played well, and I knew that we won a Stanley Cup in Chicago. That's the only important thing. … I'm proud to have been on the Cup for as long as I have. It doesn't bother me what they take off the Cup or put on it."
Hall’s name will remain on the Cup as a goaltending consultant for the 1989 Calgary Flames. His name had also appeared for the Red Wings’ 1952 Cup winners when he played for Detroit’s American Hockey League affiliate in Indianapolis. But it was misspelled as “Glin” Hall.