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Basil Pocklington - Hockey's X Man

There are many unusual stories involving the Stanley Cup and the NHL playoffs. Over the course of the playoffs I will cover many of them, starting with the story of Basil Pocklington.

There's a pretty good chance you've heard of Peter Pocklington. He was the impish Edmonton Oilers owner during the dynasty days, but is best known for selling Wayne Gretzky in order to pay for his failing business ventures outside of hockey.

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.

In case you did not know, there are actually two Stanley Cups in use today. One is a replica that is often on display at the Hockey Hall of Fame while the real Cup is on tour, which is often. The replica does not contain the 16 X's in the '84 Oilers entry, making it easy to decipher whether you are looking at the real Stanley Cup or the replica.

Including the Pocklington and Ilanders debacle, there have been a total of 12 engraving mistakes on the Stanley Cup. The two most recent (Adam Deadmarsh was misspelled as Adam Deadmarch and Manny Legace was misspelled as Manny Lagace), have been corrected.

The other mistakes are:

The 1937-38 Chicago Blackhawks Pete Palangio's name appears twice, once spelled correctly and once incorrectly as Palagio.

The 1941-42 Toronto Maple Leafs' Turk Broda is is also represented twice, once as Turk Broda, and once as Walter Broda.

The 1946-47 Toronto Maple Leafs' Gaye Stewart is misspelled as Gave Stewart.

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.

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.

The 1962-63 Toronto Maple Leafs are entered as TORONTO MAPLE LEAES

Similarly, the 1971-72 Boston Bruins are BQSTQN BRUINS. I guess the O chisel was missing that day.

The 1975-76 Montreal Canadiens' Bob Gainey is listed as Bob Gainy


Anonymous said…
The 2005-06 Carolina Hurricanes' Eric Staal is listed as Eric Staaal
Dr. Mxyztplk said…
I thought that there was a name engraved on the Cup for a much earlier (possibly c. 30s or 40s) that was entirely bogus. Maybe a five or six letter name. Possibly, it has been removed. This column was very interesting.
Anonymous said…
Of the two versions of the Cup, which is the original? Neither; the original Cup is in storage, its age has made it too brittle to be handled much anymore. The first copy was made by a silversmith working for the NHL; it was many years before anyone realized (and the league admitted) that it was indeed a replacement.

My understanding is that the other copy in the HHOF is without any of the mistakes of the original.

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