Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 38
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Henri Richard has his name engraved on the Stanley Cup eleven times. Yvan Cournoyer's name appears nine times. Scott Niedermayer has taken the Stanley Cup back to Cranbrook, British Columbia on four occasions, three with the New Jersey Devils and now once with the Ducks. But there is one person who gets the Stanley Cup every single summer, year after year. Her name is Louise St. Jacques.

Louise St. Jacques is the person who engraves the Stanley Cup. Every September, she collects the Stanley Cup and takes it to her studio at Boffey Promotions in Montreal. Through the year, Boffey Promotions does all manner of metal engraving, from jewellery to watches to special corporate gifts, but in the month of September, Louise St. Jacques, who is a partner in the business, knows that she will have but one focus — the Stanley Cup.

Carl Peterson was the first to officially engrave the Stanley Cup.
(HHOF Archives)
"I started working at Boffey Promotions part-time. I was getting trained while I was going to university," explained the delightful engraver, who laughed and continued, "I got so good, they had to hire me!"

There have only been four official engravers of the Stanley Cup. "Doug (Boffey)'s father, Eric, used to be the official supplier for the NHL," explained Louise. "On his father's retirement, Doug didn't want to get into the family business, so the work was given to Mr. Peterson." Carl Peterson was the first to official engrave the Stanley Cup, followed by his son Arno. "When Mr. Peterson died (in 1977), the contract changed hands and they gave it back to Doug, who had changed his mind and decided to continue his father's business. Boffey has been engraving the Stanley Cup for around twenty-five years." Doug Boffey engraved the Cup for a number of years, a role that now rests in the capable hands of Louise St. Jacques.

The process is fascinating, but nerve-wracking for Louise, who insists on working without anyone nearby. "When we get the Cup, we remove all the bands," she explained. "I work only with the band, not the cylinder." The Stanley Cup is carefully disassembled, separating the bowl, the neck and the five rows of rings that make up the body of the trophy. The Cup is hollow, but has a cylindrical foundation that keeps the trophy sturdy through months of carrying, traveling and being passed from celebrant to celebrant.

For seventeen years, the hands of Louise St. Jacques have methodically engraved the names of every Stanley Cup champion into Lord
Stanley's Cup. (HHOF Archives)
The names that go on the Stanley Cup are submitted by the winning team to the National Hockey League. There are specific criteria for approval -- games played during the regular season; games in the final. Then, once approved, the list is given to St. Jacques. "Before engraving, I go through the list, count all the letters and make certain they will all fit into the space allotted." The NHL will allow no more than fifty-two names, and in 2007, the Anaheim Ducks submitted and had approved forty-seven names.

The band being engraved is clamped onto a circular jig that creates a steel background for stamping. Special hammers of different weights are used to strike against a letter-punch to sink each letter into the silver. "They give me at least a week to do the engraving. It's very stressful -- you don't want to make a mistake. I don't want to hear the phone ring or have anybody come by while I'm engraving the Stanley Cup." Louise works for ninety minutes, then takes a break. Each name takes approximately a half hour to inscribe. "I just do a little bit at a time," she admitted. "The entire Cup takes around ten hours, but that's not continuous."

Louise St. Jacques of Boffey Promotions removes the bottom ring from the Stanley Cup in order to engrave the names of the Anaheim Ducks. (HHOF Archives)
"I double check on the spelling of every name. If it's not a name I'm used to, I check again," said Louise. She can't afford to make a mistake. "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." Louise St. Jacques uses a small hammer and series of letter stamps to inscribe each name, plus a line held with a piece of metal to keep the names as straight and level as possible. Louise adds, "Each letter is done individually. I rely on my eyesight to make sure that the letters are spaced all the same."

Once a ring is filled with the names of championship teams, which took place after Tampa Bay won the Stanley Cup in 2004, the bands on the Stanley Cup are moved. "I remove the upper band and it goes to the Hockey Hall of Fame," explained St. Jacques. "Rim number two goes to number one — they all move up one and we add a new band at the bottom of the Cup."

That leaves the bottom ring of the Stanley Cup ready for its latest additions. That band will now be the home of the names of the reigning Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks. It is interesting to note that neighbouring the Ducks on that band are the 2006 champion Carolina Hurricanes and an engraved area that reads: SEASON NOT PLAYED.

* * *

Louise St. Jacques loves hockey. "From living in Quebec, I'm automatically a hockey fan," she chuckles. "I grew up watching Guy Lafleur and that whole gang. It was a magic time to be a hockey fan growing up in Montreal." But the apple doesn't fall far from the tree -- Louise has a twelve-year-old son, Eric James, who is also a hockey fan. "He's playing hockey and loves it. But he's really funny when he sees the Stanley Cup," smiles the proud mother. "He calls it, 'My Cup.' He says, 'Mama, there's my Cup on TV!' But he's grown up with the Stanley Cup. One year, I was working on the Stanley Cup when he was just three weeks old." Each year, Louise takes a picture of her hockey-loving son in his hockey sweater. "It's great to see how much he's grown by standing beside the Stanley Cup."

A first look at the engravings of the forty-seven members of the Anaheim Ducks on the bottom ring of the Stanley Cup.
(Phil Pritchard/HHOF)
The names of the Stanley Cup champions are immaculately and indelibly etched for all time one-thirty-second of an inch deep into the gleaming sterling silver of the Stanley Cup. "It is a privilege to engrave the names on the Stanley Cup," smiles St. Jacques. "A real honour. It is exciting every single time!"

* * *

The Stanley Cup was flown to Montreal on Tuesday, September 18. Louise St. Jacques began her craftsmanship immediately, completing the task on Monday, September 24.

In most cases, the team's general manager oversees the engraving of the Stanley Cup, but in 2007, the team's owner, Henry Samueli, took the project on himself as a personal mission, making certain that everything was perfect so that each team member would be as proud and thrilled as he is.

Below, you'll find the names of the 2007 Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks as they appear on hockey's magnificent trophy:

Henry & Susan Samueli-Owners Michael Schulman-CEO
Brian Burke-GM Tim Ryan-COO Bob Wagner Bob Murray
David McNab Al Coates Randy Carlyle-Head Coach
Dave Farrish Newell Brown Francois Allaire Sean Skahan
Joe Trotta Tim Clark Mark O'Neill John Allaway
James Partida Rick Paterson Alain Chainey

Scott Niedermayer-Capt. Rob Niedermayer Chris Pronger
Teemu Selanne Sean O'Donnell Brad May Todd Marchant
Jean-Sebastien Giguere Andy McDonald Samuel Pahlsson
Shawn Thornton Ric Jackman Joe DiPenta Kent Huskins
Chris Kunitz George Parros Joe Motzko Ilya Bryzgalov
Francois Beauchemin Travis Moen Ryan Carter Drew Miller
Ryan Shannon Dustin Penner Ryan Getzlaf Corey Perry

* * *

On Tuesday, we'll find out how the team reacted when they first got the chance to see their names on the Stanley Cup during their trip to London, England. Then, next Friday, we'll make one final entry in the Stanley Cup Journal for this summer, concluding three months of excitement and exhilaration. We'll take you to the banner raising and the return of the Stanley Cup to the same centre stage from which this voyage sprang for the Anaheim Ducks last June 6.

* * *

Kevin Shea is one of the contributors to 'Travels With Stanley' by The Keepers of the Cup, a book of geography and history lessons taught through the travels of the Stanley Cup (Fenn Publishing).

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