Four of the greatest players in NHL history are among those who are about to have their names forever removed from the Stanley Cup. And Ted Lindsay, Glenn Hall, Alex Delvecchio and Bobby Hull are entirely fine with that. They are honored to have been on the trophy for more than a half-century, carrying with them indelible memories of their teams and titles, and happy to make room for future champions.
The retirement of the top band of the Stanley Cup to the vault in the Hockey Hall of Fame later this month will remove 12 Cup-winning teams from 1953-54 to 1964-65, champions coming off to make room for a fresh bottom band that begins with the 2017-18 Washington Capitals. Beginning Friday, each day through Oct. 2, NHL.com will look at one of the teams leaving hockey's most coveted trophy.
The removal of the band also means 16 Hall of Fame players, winners of a combined 63 championships, are leaving the barrel of the trophy.
Video: Legendary names to be removed from the Stanley Cup
It is a remarkable list: Lindsay, Gordie Howe (four titles each) and Delvecchio (three) of the Detroit Red Wings; Maurice Richard (eight), Jacques Plante, Dickie Moore, Bernie Geoffrion, Doug Harvey, Tom Johnson (six each) and Butch Bouchard (four) of the Montreal Canadiens; Hall, Hull, Stan Mikita and Pierre Pilote (one each) of the Chicago Black Hawks; Andy Bathgate (one) of the Toronto Maple Leafs; and Bert Olmstead, who won four times with Montreal and one more with Toronto.
Four of the 16 players are living legends, and each understands that, given the Stanley Cup's changing face, being on the trophy is not forever.
Detroit Red Wings legend Ted Lindsay, battling in front of the Toronto Maple Leafs net, says his name coming off the Stanley Cup represents progress.
"The Cup is only so big," Lindsay said with a laugh. "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."
Lindsay, who joked that "at 93, I'm not a believer in looking or acting my age," won titles with the Red Wings in 1950, '52, '54 and '55. The forward's first two championship teams were removed with the band honoring Cup winners from 1940-41 to 1952-53. This time his last two title teams will be taken off.
"My name coming off the Cup is progress," he said.
Glenn Hall's name was on the Stanley Cup before he ever played an NHL game.
[Read all Etched in History stories: 1953-54 Red Wings | 1954-55 Red Wings | 1955-56 Canadiens |
1956-57 Canadiens | 1957-58 Canadiens | 1958-59 Canadiens | 1959-60 Canadiens | 1960-61 Black Hawks |
1961-62 Maple Leafs | 1962-63 Maple Leafs | 1963-64 Maple Leafs | 1964-65 Canadiens]
In his own mind, Hall won one championship, even though his name was put on the Cup three times. It appeared first for Detroit's 1951-52 championship, misspelled Glin Hall, before he had played his first NHL game; he played for the Red Wings' American Hockey League affiliate in Indianapolis. Hall, who is listed as goaltending consultant for the 1988-89 champion Calgary Flames, will remain on the Cup for another 26 years, but the title he won with the 1960-61 Black Hawks is his dearest tie to the trophy.
"Oh, I don't give a [darn] that I'm coming off the Cup (as a player)," said Hall, who will turn 87 on Oct. 3. "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."
Alex Delvecchio of the Red Wings battles with Red Kelly behind Maple Leafs goalie Terry Sawchuk.
Delvecchio, 85, won his first title as a 19-year-old rookie in 1951-52, then added Cup victories in 1953-54 (his last name was misspelled that year as Belvecchio) and 1954-55.
"That's progress, that's the way it is," the forward said of being removed from the Cup. "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, laughing.
Hull, 79, learned only a month or so ago that his name, appearing as Robert Hull with the 1960-61 Black Hawks, was among the 340 coming off the Cup.
"It's been on there for over 50 years, so I guess it's time that someone else got on it," said Hull, a forward. "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."
From left, Hall of Famers Gordie Howe, Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull at the 1967 NHL All-Star Game in Montreal. The names of all three are coming off the Stanley Cup this fall.