The Travel Show is NEXT WEEK! Incredible giveaways, show only deals, kid’s activities, food and beverage sampling, and so much more!
BREAKING NEWS
CTNOW

Blackhawks names on Stanley Cup now permanent part of hockey lore

Behind how the Blackhawks' names were etched onto the Stanley Cup.

All summer the Blackhawks paraded the Stanley Cup around the world.

It went from Chicago to Springfield, to Michigan and Pittsburgh. Up into Manitoba, Toronto, Vancouver and over to the Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland and Slovakia.

However for all the partying the Cup did, for all the drinks and babies that occupied the bowl, there was one thing missing from every celebration the Blackhawks had with it — their names on it.

But Wednesday at the United Center, when the Hawks unveil a new championship banner, the names will be there on the Cup, forever etched into hockey lore.

That happened in late September, when the Cup's engraver, or technically its stamper, Louise St. Jacques put her finishing touches on it.

The NHL allots up to 10 days for St. Jacques to engrave the Cup in an intricate process that is routine for St. Jacques but one that requires great care. This time St. Jacques only needed six days to execute her intricate process.

First, St. Jacques removes all the bands around the Cup, disassembles it and takes approximately a half hour to do one name.

Technically, St. Jacques stamps the names on the Cup instead of engraving them. Beforehand she must plot them out strategically so that she can fit all of them. That means deciding how much space to give to names short, like Brandon Saad, or long, like Niklas Hjalmarsson.

"The setup time varies, sometimes enormously," St. Jacques told the Tribune in 2013, the last time she put the Hawks on the Cup. "I usually take five days to plan and execute the stamping."

St. Jacques took over Cup engraving duties from her father-in-law at Boffey Silversmiths of Montreal. There can be the occasional mistake. When St. Jacques engraved the Cup in 2010, Kris Versteeg's name was misspelled "Kris Vertseeg" and the mistake was corrected.

"I double check on the spelling of every name. If it's not a name I'm used to, I check again," St. Jacques told the Hockey Hall of Fame's website. "The sterling (silver) is soft, so if I had to, I could remove an error by banging the letters from behind but that would take an awful long time."

Fortunately for the Hawks, St. Jacques had a second crack at Versteeg's name and got it right.

For the 2014-15 Hawks, St. Jacques engraved 52 names on the Cup, a number that is in line with several teams over the last 20 years.

"It definitely doesn't get old," coach Joel Quenneville said of seeing his name on the Cup. "It's a great honor and it's a cool thing to see. I haven't seen it live yet. You look forward to seeing it."

For a first-time Cup winner like defenseman David Rundblad, seeing his name on the Cup will fulfill a childhood dream.

"It's a pretty cool feeling," Rundblad said. "It's a memory for life and something you'll never forget. It's the biggest moment of my career."

The engraving caps a typically busy summer for the Cup. It spent a lot of time in Chicago after the Stanley Cup Final triumph. Goaltender Scott Darling had his day with the Cup in Lemont in early July. Then the Cup traveled through Canada with several of the Hawks Canadian team members such as Jonathan Toews, Corey Crawford, Bryan Bickell, Andrew Shaw and Andrew Desjardins.

After stopping back in Chicago for the Blackhawks convention in late July, the Cup went to Finland with Teuvo Teravainen and Antti Raanta, who had his day with the Cup but whose name the hawks didn't submit for placement. Then the Cup went Kimmo Timonen, who had come to the Hawks for the purpose of winning a Cup in his final season.

Back it came to North America, bouncing back-and-forth between Canada and the U.S. for much of August.

In September, the Cup went back to Europe so players like Marian Hossa could party with it in Slovakia while the Hawks' Swedish contingent from last season — Hjalmarsson, Johnny Oduya, Marcus Kruger, Joakim Nordstrom and Rundblad had their days with it.

Then back it came to North America, making its way to St. Jacques before it will take the ice again Wednesday night at the United Center.

Eventually the Cup will go back to the Hockey Hall of Fame, and the Hawks will try to win it back.

Should they do so, at least St. Jacques has some familiarity spelling most of their names.

chine@tribpub.com

Twitter @ChristopherHine

Copyright © 2018, CT Now
52°