How do you qualify to get your name on the Stanley Cup?

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The Stanley Cup is the best trophy in all of sports. And one of the coolest things about winning the Stanley Cup is that you get your name engraved on the trophy. If you ever have a chance to see the Stanley Cup in person it is such a fun experience to look back at all the legends – Orr, Gretzky (a review of all his cup wins), Lemieux (a post about all his cup wins), Brodeur, Yzerman – who have their name on it. 

When you look at the Stanley Cup engravings you will notice that there are a lot of names on there beyond the 20 players who dressed for and won the final championship game. Yes there are other players, but there is also owners, managers, coaches and trainers. 

So when a team wins the Stanley Cup who gets their name engraved? Each championship team is allowed to put up to 52 names on the cup that includes players, coaches, management and staff. The criteria is based on regular season games played, Stanley Cup Finals games, or active affiliation with the club. A team is allowed to petition for a name to be put on that falls outside of this criteria.

After taking a brief look at when names started to be engraved on the cup, let’s look at the criteria for players and non-players to be engraved.

History of engraving names on the Stanley Cup

The Stanley Cup was first awarded in 1893 to the Montreal Hockey Club, but at that time no names were added to the cup. 

Names were added for the 1907 winners the Montreal Wanderers and the 1915 winners the Vancouver Millionaires to the bowl part of the cup. 

Names did not regularly start getting engraved on the cup until 1925 with the Victoria Cougars. 1925 was also the first time a ring was added to the cup as beforehand it was just the bowl with a simple base. (There are even a few engravings on the inside of the cup). Since then every team that has won the Stanley Cup has had their names engraved on it.

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From 1925-1997 there were no formal rules about who got their name on the cup from the winning team. In 1998 the Detroit Red Wings submitted a list of 55 names, which the NHL accepted even though they determined that it was too many. 

This led to the NHL to outline criteria for who gets their name on the cup. Since then the NHL decided that a team is allowed to put a maximum of 52 names on the cup, and listed out the criteria for players and non-players

Criteria for player’s names on the Stanley Cup

For a player to get their name automatically on the Stanley Cup as part of the championship team must have:

  • Played half the regular season, which would be 41 games, or
  • One game in the Stanley Cup Finals

Note: this would allow for a player who was a key part of the team that was hurt during the regular season to have their name engraved. Source

What about the backup goaltender? 

One of your two goalies is going to play less than 41 games in an NHL season and, often, only one goalie plays in the finals. So does the backup goalie get their name on the cup?

The short answer is yes, and here is the criteria for a backup goaltender: 

  • Must have dressed as the backup for at least half of the team’s regular season games, which is 41
  • Must have dressed as the backup for one of the games in the Stanley Cup Finals

Exceptions for players that do not fit the criteria

There have been exceptions to this criteria for players as teams are allowed to petition on behalf of a player that does not fit. All of the exception examples are unique and do not fit a certain mould, but let’s look at a few examples. 

Detroit – Vladimir Konstantinov’s named was engraved on the cup in 1998, despite not playing in any games in the regular season or the playoffs. Konstantinov was seriously injured in a car crash the year before, shortly after Detroit’s 1997 Stanley Cup win. Detroit petitioned for his named to be added and it was. 

Chicago Blackhawks – In 2015 the Hawks did not petition for Anti Raanta to have his name on the cup, who played 14 games during the regular season, but became the third string goalie during the cup run. However, they did petition (and were successful) for seldom used Joakin Nordstrom who played 38 games and 3 playoff games, as well as Daniel Carcillo who played 39 games in the regular season and no playoff games. I guess the Hawks thought Carcillo and Nordstrom were close enough???

Pittsburgh Penguins – In 2016 Pascal Dupuis was forced to retire due to health issues after only playing in 18 games that season. The Penguins went onto win the Stanley Cup that year and successfully petitioned for the long-term Penguin to have his name added to the cup. It has been reported that despite Dupuis not playing on the ice much that year he was still an active member of the team adding leadership behind the scenes.

Criteria for non-players name of the Stanley Cup: Owners, Management, Coaches, and staff.

The other names that you will find on the Stanley Cup belong to the owners, management, coaches and support staff that are affiliated with the team. The only real criteria for this is that the person must have to have an active role with the team. A team is not allowed to put someone on just because they like them – more on this at the bottom.

Here is a list of the different roles from the staff that you will find on the cup:

  • Owners: There are often multiple owners
  • Management: President, General Manager, Assistant General Manager
  • Support Staff: Head Trainer, Assistant Trainer, Scouts

St. Louis Blues Stanley Cup engraved names

2019 Stanley Cup champions St. Louis Blues names engraved on the Stanley Cup

To get a real good look at who gets on the Stanley Cup I have listed all of the 52 names from the 2019 St. Louis Blues team. Below they are listed in the order they appear on the cup, however on the cup only their name appears and not the position. I added in the position to give an idea of the various roles that are included.

  • Owner: Tom Stillman
  • President and CEO of Business Operations: Chris Zimmerman
  • President of Hockey Operations and General Manager: Doug Armstrong
  • Vice President of Hockey Operations: Dave Taylor
  • Senior Advisor: Al MacInnis
  • Assistant General Manager: Bill Armstrong
  • Head Coach: Craig Berube
  • Assistant Coaches: Steve Ott, Mike Van Ryn, David Alexander, Sean Ferrell, Larry Robinson
  • Director of Player Personal: Rob DiMaio
  • Assistant General Manager: Kevin McDonald
  • Director of Player Development and Pro Scout: Tim Taylor
  • Director of Hockey Operations: Ryan Miller
  • Amateur Scout: Dan Ginnell, Tony Feltrin, Jan Vopat
  • Head Athletic Trainer: Ray Barile
  • Assistant Athletic Trainer: Dustin Flynn
  • Assistant Equipment Manager: Joel Farnsworth, Rick Matthews, Andrew Dvorak
  • Strength and Conditioning Coach: Eric Renaghan
  • Massage Therapist: Steve Squier
  • Senior Director of Team Services: Rich Jankowski
  • VP/Media & Brand Communications: Michael Caruso
  • Players: Alex Pieterangelo, Jake Allen, Ivan Barbashev, Jordan Binnington, Samuel Blais, Jay Bouwmeester, Robert Bortuzzo, Tyler Bozk, Michael Del Zotto, Vince Dunn, Joel Edmundson, Robby Fabbri, Carl Gunnarsson, Patrick Maroon, Ryan O’Reilly, Colton Parayko, David Perron Zach Sanford, Brayden Schenn, Jaden Schwartz, Alexander Steen, Oskar Sundqvist, Vladimir Tarasenko, Robert Thomas

Names removed from the cup

The most famous name that was not allowed on the cup was that of Basil Pocklington, father of Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington. Peter got his dad’s name on the cup originally, but the NHL objected because Basil had played no role or with the team. Instead of removing the engraved section of the cup, the NHL simply placed large ‘XXXXX’ marks over Basil Pocklington’s name.  

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