April 21, 2007

The Stanley Cup Engravers

Did you know that there are 2,111 names engraved on the Stanley Cup?

Did you know that the first team to engrave the entire roster on the Cup was the 1907 champion Montreal Wanderers? However it wasn't until 1924 that that became an annual tradition. At that time it was up to each team to have the engraving done. It wasn't until after World War II that engraving became the sole job of a hired professional. Only four people have ever been hired as engravers.

Carl Poul Petersen is the most famous Stanley Cup engraver. Born in Denmark, he and his wife moved to Montreal in 1929, finding employment with Henry Birks & Sons. In 1937 he branched out on his own with sons Arno, Ole and John Paule. By the mid 1940s Carl Poul Petersen's work became world famous for his fine craftsmanship.

With the NHL head offices then still in Montreal, the NHL commissioned Petersen to redesign the "Stovepipe Cup" first in 1947 with a final redesign as we know it in 1957. In 1968 he was commissioned to create a replica of the original Stanley Cup bowl, due to the aging structure's fragility. Until 1961 Petersen's shop was the home of the Stanley Cup, packed away out of sight. Petersen was the sole Stanley Cup engraver until his death in 1977. His family, specifically son Arno, continued the engraving until 1979 when they shut down the famous silversmith shop.

The NHL then hired Montreal based Boffey Promotions, known best for the work of owner Eric Boffey and later son Doug Boffey. But since 1989 only Louise St. Jacques, an employee turned part-owner of Boffey Promotions, engraves the Stanley Cup. She is also in charge of creating the 13 inch replica Cups given to players and other team officials. She alone recreated the entire Stanley Cup when the Hockey Hall of Fame had a complete replica produced in 1994 so that fans visiting the HHOF could see a Stanley Cup should the real Cup be on tour.

By the way, the term engraved is technically wrong even though it is universally used in association with the Stanley Cup. In actuality, each letter is individually stamped using a letter bit and small hammer. Boffey Inc. uses the original punching tools as Petersen used since the redesign in 1947. These tools are never used for any other project; they are the exclusive domain of the Stanley Cup.

Petersen and now St. Jacques are also the only people who engrave all other NHL trophies.

Kevin Shea has an excellent interview with St. Jacques at HHOF.com, including details and photos of how they engrave the Stanley Cup.


Anonymous said...

It is a shame that the name are not hand engraved on the Cup instead of stamped on. There are many capable hand engravers out there that complete the job. I am not taking anything away from the person that STAMPS the names on the cup.

Anonymous said...

I feel that doing it the way it has been done since design is better the switching mid stream.

T. Roy said...

Stamping, as it is done now, is much nicer then actual engraving. I am in the business of hand engraving, and some people request engraving which would look very tacky on The CUP.

Denyse said...

This information is incorrect. My husband hand engraved the Stanley Cup while working for Cartier, NY in 1981 or 82. the year after the Islanders was spelled with no "s".