Hockey Headlines

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Lord Of The Ring

I'm sorry to the Ottawa Senators fans out there, but it is going to take an impressive three-game winning streak now for the Senators to be called "champions". I'm not saying it can't be done. It will take the will and determination that some people rarely find in order to win the Cup. However, Ottawa needs to keep its eyes on the prize, much like Frodo in the picture to the left. In any case, today's view is all about the rings that are worn by those who have won the hardest trophy in sports to win.

Henri Richard is the most-decorated hockey player in NHL history, having won 11 Stanley Cups during his 20-year career. The "Pocket Rocket" only has six rings to show for his efforts, having received other gifts in place of the missing championship rings.

Richard joked that the team used to give him turkeys. In reality, the 1959-60 Canadiens didn't get rings at all, and when they did get rings, the players covered half of the cost.

"The game today, things are heavy - not only the rings, but the money, as well," he said. "There's no doubt I'm proud to have those rings."

This is where I nearly choked. The cost of one ring for today's NHL Champions can cost between $4000 and $15000 - more than the gross domestic product of some African countries. That's a used car on the player's finger.

According to Rick Antona, vice-president and general manager of Diamond Cutters International, there are 80 to 150 rings made for each championship club, depending on the owner's wishes. The process to select a ring design and production is between three and six weeks. The actual manufacturing of the rings could take up to three months.

The tradition of awarding championship rings to players is as old as the Stanley Cup itself. When the Montreal AAA hockey club won the initial Stanley Cup in 1893, the seven players on the team were each given a ring by the club president.

So what makes the rings different? Why are they one-of-a-kind? How do they differ?

The 1893 Montreal AAA hockey club received these rings. They're nothing overly flashy, but the Montreal Hockey Club (MHC) certainly led the way for more elaborate ring designs.

The 1959 Montreal Canadiens received these rings. Note the "World Hockey Champions" that appears on the border of the ring, and the inscription of "Capt. M. Richard" above the Montreal Canadiens' logo.

The 1962 Toronto Maple Leafs received these rings. It's a fairly simple design, but the diamond appears on top of a Maple Leaf. The 1964 Maple Leafs actually wore the same rings, but with a "64" instead of a "62" on the right side.

The 1972 Boston Bruins received these rings. The Bruins also went with "World Champions" rather than "Stanley Cup Champions" as the Leafs did. The left side shows the Prince of Wales Trophy with "B. Orr" above it.

The 1984 Edmonton Oilers received this ring. The top just contained the name of the franchise. The left side of the ring shows the image of the Stanley Cup with the records in the four series they played to win the Cup. The right side of the ring shows the player's name and the team logo. I'm not sure what the carrot at the bottom means, but it must have some meaning. If you know, leave it in the comment section.

The 1986 Montreal Canadiens received these rings. Notice the top has both the French and English names for the Stanley Cup. The left side of the ring has the player's name, the team logo, and the player's number on it. The right side of the ring has the image of the Stanley Cup with the number of how many Stanley Cups the Canadiens have won on it. It also has the team name and the series' records listed.

The 1988 Edmonton Oilers received these rings. The Oilers opted for "Stanley Cup Champions" around the border of the ring this time. On the left side of the ring, you can see the Oilers' logo, and the player's name and number. The right side of the ring shows the team name and the image of the four Stanley Cups won by the team.

The 1993 Montreal Canadiens received this ring. They opted for just the year on the top of the ring. On the left side of the ring, you can see the team logo and the player's name and number (or, in this case, his name and position with the team). The right side of the ring has the team name, the Stanley Cup Finals logo, and the "24 together" inscription for the 24 Stanley Cups the team has won.

The 1995 New Jersey Devils received these rings. The words "Stanley Cup Champions" appear around the border of the ring again. On the left side of the ring, the name of the player and the team logo appear. On the right side of the ring, the Stanley Cup Finals logo and the team name appear.

The 1998 Detroit Red Wings received these rings for winning the Stanley Cup. The "Stanley Cup Champion" border is a fixture on this ring and the following rings.

The 1999 Dallas Stars received these rings. You can see the player's name on the left side of the ring.

The 2000 New Jersey Devils received these rings. Following the trend, the player's name appears on the left side of the ring.

The 2001 Colorado Avalanche received these rings for their Stanley Cup victory. You can see the year they won on the right side of the ring.

The 2002 Detroit Red Wings received this ring for their victory. The team name appears on the left side of the ring this time.

The 2003 New Jersey Devils received these rings for their Stanley Cup Championship. On the left side of the ring, you can see the image of the three Stanley Cups the franchise has won, including the year the Cup was won. The team name appears above the Cup images. On the right side of the ring, you can see the player's name and number, as well as Brodeur's personal win-loss record from the Stanley Cup Championship playoff years. The Stanley Cup Finals logo is featured in the middle of the right side.

The 2004 Tampa Lightning received this ring for their championship. On the left side, you can see the team name and the NHL logo. It appears they may also have the images of the Prince of Wales Trophy and the Stanley Cup on that side as well.

The 2006 Carolina Hurricanes received these rings for their Stanley Cup victory. It's a very nice ring, but I don't like the way the swirl around the Stanley Cup appears.

Anyway, there will be a new ring handed out to either the Ottawa Senators or the Anaheim Ducks this year. I'm sure it will rival the cost and look of some of the rings shown above. Either way, 22 players will have a used car parked on their fingers. Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

No comments: