In 1996, Adam Deadmarsh had 17 points in 22 grueling playoff games for the Colorado Avalanche, culminating in the first Stanley Cup championship for both the player and his franchise. The pain, the strain, the anguish ... it all goes away when a player gets his hands on the Chalice.
OK, maybe not the anguish, at least for Deadmarsh. Or is it "Deadmarch," as it was initially misspelled on the Stanley Cup?
"He was almost in tears," said Philip Pritchard of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, in a remarkably entertaining article today from the Wall Street Journal's Reed Albergotti about the most infamous Cup errors and their origins. Deadmarsh's name, like many of the other Stanley goofs, was eventually corrected.
The various engraving blunders on the Chalice are the stuff of hockey legend. They have their own section on the Stanley Cup Wikipedia page. Hockey historian Joe Pelletier had a look at several errors on his blog last month, including the hilarious tale of Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington getting his father's name engraved and the NHL covering it up with X's.
What makes the Wall Street Journal story great is that it's an inside look at the engraving process; including comments from Louise St. Jacques, the League's official engraver since 1989. According to the piece, the NHL doesn't want to use laser-etching on the Cup to preserve tradition. Which is ironic for anyone who longs for the days of the Patrick Division and Campbell Conference. From the WSJ:
At the shop, the bands are removed from the cup and attached to a circular "jig" that's about the same shape and size as the cup. There, Ms. St. Jacques painstakingly hammers the 52 names into the bands using tiny metal letters. The process takes weeks, mainly because the spacing has to be perfect. "It demands a lot of concentration," says Ms. Jacques, who says mistakes are a constant source of anxiety. If the phone rings or somebody walks in, she says, "that can really do it to you."
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The Journal also has an interactive game in which you try and spot the error on several Cup images and some video as well. Coming up, we combine various sources and take you through some of the greatest goofs in Stanley Cup engraving history.
From the WSJ story, Pelletier's site and other sources, here are championship-level mistakes:
• The 1937-38 Chicago Blackhawks Pete Palangio's name appears twice, once spelled correctly and once incorrectly as Palagio. (Pelletier)
• Ted Kennedy was spelled "Kennedyy" in the 1940s. (Wiki)
• Pat McReavy's name is misspelled "McCeavy" as a member of the 1940-1941 Boston Bruins. (Wiki)
• The 1941-42 Toronto Maple Leafs' Turk Broda is also represented twice, once as Turk Broda, and once as Walter Broda. (Pelletier)
• The 1946-47 Toronto Maple Leafs' Gaye Stewart is misspelled as Gave Stewart. (Pelletier)
• The 1951-52 Detroit Red Wings entry has two errors. Coach Tommy Ivan's name is misspelled as Tommy Nivan, and star forward Alex Delvecchio's name is misspelled as Alex Belvecchio. (Pelletier)
• The Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup 5 times in a row between 1956 and 1960, and each time goaltender Jacques Plante's name is spelled different. It is either J. Plante, Jacques Plante, Jac Plante, Jacq Plante, and Jaques Plante. (Pelletier)
• The Toronto Maple Leafs was spelled "Leaes" in 1963. (Wiki)
• The Boston Bruins were spelled "Bqstqn" in 1971-1972. (Wiki)
• Bob Gainey was spelled "Gainy" for the 1974-75 Montreal Canadiens.
• The New York Islanders were spelled "Ilanders" in 1981. (Wiki)
• Former Oilers owner Peter Pocklington had his father's name, Basil, on the Stanley Cup in 1984. It was scratched out with over a dozen "X's." (Wiki)
• In 1996, Colorado Avalanche's Adam Deadmarsh's last name was spelled "Deadmarch" and was corrected. Detroit Red Wings goalie Manny Legace(notes) ("Lagace" in 2002) and Carolina Hurricanes forward Eric Staal(notes) ("Staaal" in 2006) were also fixed. (Wiki)
• Tomas Holmstrom(notes) of the Detroit Red Wings has his name "disfigured" on the 2007-08 Detroit Red Wings Stanley Cup.
The Pocklington and "Ilanders" goofs are actually connected, as Pelletier writes on Greatest Hockey Legends:
When the Edmonton Oilers won their first Stanley Cup in 1984, Pocklington had his father's name, Basil, engraved on the Cup. Basil had absolutely nothing to do with the team beyond the family connection. The NHL decreed this to be unacceptable, and had the name X'd out.
The story gets stranger. In 1993, after the Montreal Canadiens won the Cup, the NHL sent the Cup to the official engravers in Montreal to include the names of the most recent recipients. Much to the NHL's surprise, the engraver removed the entire bottom ring of the Cup was removed, and was rendered unusable because the steel ring to connect each band broken.
A new band was created, without Basil Pocklington's X'd out name, but with the 1981 Islanders misspelled as Ilanders! The NHL found this to be unacceptable and had the Cup returned and had the engravers reinstate the name Basil Pocklington and then X it over again. The Ilanders mistake was never fixed. The original band remains in storage at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
One last cup curiosity to share, and it's unintentionally hilarious. As the WSJ points out, Frank Selke was an assistant manager for the 1945 Toronto Maple Leafs. So when his name was etched on the Cup ... in the words of a classic "Seinfeld" episode: "Hey, Ass Man!"
Said the Hall of Fame's Pritchard: "We don't tell a lot of people about the ass man."
Ah, but what about the "Ass Train"?
[H/T to Nirva Milord of the NHL for the WSJ piece; thanks to all the researchers we cited for the great information.]