Saskatoon

Mr. Hockey about to be removed from Stanley Cup

Gordie Howe is a hockey legend, and one of Saskatoon’s favourite sons, but when playoffs begin for the next NHL season his name will be removed from the Stanley Cup.

Ring on trophy removed every 13 years

Members of Detroit Red Wings, including Gordie Howe (right), surround the Stanley Cup in this 1955 photo, after beating the Montreal Canadiens. (AP)

Gordie Howe is a hockey legend, and one of Saskatoon's favourite sons, but when playoffs begin for the next NHL season his name will be removed from the Stanley Cup.

Many Canadians have, at some point, dreamed of hoisting the Stanley Cup over their heads and taking that victory skate.

But the more players who actually achieve that dream, the more legends who get knocked off the cup.
Head coach Mike Sullivan of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates with the Stanley Cup trophy after defeating the Nashville Predators in 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Finals. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

"It can only go so high," said Phil Pritchard, the vice-president and curator with the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

"In the early '90s it was decided as it was the 100th anniversary what to do with the cup: do we make it bigger? Do we make another one? The idea was that it was the perfect height to hold over your head, so they took that theory and made it into something they could stick with, and in doing that they would have to remove a ring every 13 years."

Not the 1st legend knocked off the cup 

Already gone are the cup winners from the fabled 1940s and the fabulous '50s.

Pritchard said next up is the 1960s, a ring that includes Ted Lindsay, Maurice "Rocket" Richard, Jacques Plante, "and, of course, No. 9: 'Mr. Hockey' Gordie Howe."

All of the rings removed from the Stanley Cup are placed in the vault at the Hockey Hall of Fame, and Pritchard said he has never heard any grumbling about the process, not even from current players.

"They respect what the trophy is and what it means, and it's their honour to play in the greatest game in the world and have their name on the greatest trophy in the world."

With files from CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning and the Morning Edition

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