The Vegas Golden Knights made history last month, becoming the fastest expansion franchise in NHL history after defeating the Florida Panthers in five games to capture the Stanley Cup. Now they're making history with the Cup itself, becoming the first team to engrave their names in the storied trophy before the players, coaches, and trainers start their days with it over the summer.
There's the journey to win the Stanley Cup, and there's the journey to get the Cup engraved. Engraving the Stanley Cup is a serious business, one the Montreal silversmith Louise St. Jacques has been in since 1988, and her family for four generations. To do so, she needs a hammer, a stencil, steady hands, and about 10 days. The Golden Knights' silver engraving is set to be complete by this Saturday.
There are no erasers on hammers, so if St. Jacques makes a mistake, there is no going back. It's there forever! Actually, that's not true. When Colorado Avalanche winger Adam Deadmarsh's name was misspelled ADAM DEADMARCH, it was later fixed, a Stanley Cup first, and since there have been some other mistakes that needed correcting, including Eric Staal's surname having an extra "A" (STAAAL) after the Canes won the Cup in 2006. It, too, was later corrected.
However, there's one error, one faux paus that remains imperfect and unchanged for over 40 years, and it involves the 1980-81 Stanley Cup Champion New York Islanders. After winning their second of what would be four consecutive Stanley Cups, the team's name was engraved as "Ilanders," and it remains that way. At least the engraver had two more times to get it right.
There are other fun facts about the engravings on the Cup. For instance, former Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington, the guy who would one day trade Wayne Gretzky tried to sneak his father Basil Pocklington on the 1983-84 Stanley Cup. His name was "X'd" out after the NHL learned of the manuever. Also, when the Montreal Canadiens won five consecutive Stanley Cups between 1956-60, goaltender Jacques Plante's name was spelled differently each time.
We'll learn in a few days if all the Vegas players have their names spelled correctly before the Cup goes off on tour. As for the Isles, as long as they win another one in my lifetime, they can spell the team's name any way they want.