WARMINGTON: Keep names of Leafs legend Bobby Baun and others on Stanley Cup
December 20, 2018
December 20, 2018 8:36 PM EST
AJAX — Bobby Baun broke his leg in order to see his name engraved on the coveted Stanley Cup.
So when he learned all the names from his 1964 Toronto Maple Leafs Stanley Cup team would be one of 12 championship-winning clubs removed from the treasured trophy, he was taken aback.
“It is alarming,” said the former defenceman, nicknamed Boomer, who played in the NHL for 17 seasons.
The cup has become too crowded with names. There’s no more free space.
“The Stanley Cup trustees resolved to keep the cup in its current state … We are preserving the legacy by retiring the bands (fastened to the Stanley Cup) in the historic vault here at the Hockey Hall of Fame for our guests from around the world to see,” explained Kelly Masse, spokesman for the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The “Stanley Cup band, featuring the engraved names of its champions from the 1953-54 to 1964-65 seasons, (will be) preserved at the Hockey Hall of Fame.”
It means the names of all of the Leafs on the team that beat Detroit in seven games in 1964 — thanks to Baun’s overtime goal on a broken leg in Game six — will disappear from the trophy. Same for the players on the Leafs’ 1962 and 1963 winning clubs.
“It hurts,” said Baun, who sported Number 21 on his jersey. “I am not hurt for me, but for those families of the players who passed on because this kept them alive forever.”
This is a copy of a photograph of Bobby Baun with the Stanley Cup. (Veronica Henri, Toronto Sun)
Names like Hall of Famers as Andy Bathgate, Ted Lindsay, Alex Delvecchio, Stan Mikita, Bernie Geoffrion, Dickie Moore, Glenn Hall, Bert Olmstead, Doug Harvey, Pierre Pilote, Gordie Howe, Jacques Plante, Bobby Hull, Maurice Richard and Gordie Howe will vanish.
“That’s sure a lot of great names,” Baun said from his Ajax home. “How can you remove names like Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Dave Keon, George Armstrong, Tim Horton and the Rocket from the Stanley Cup? It’s removing the history of hockey and the memory of the men who built this game.”
Baun has a solution: “I think they could retire the current Stanley Cup and keep it at the Hall of Fame on display at all times or create a duplicate cup that can tackle the modern-era names.”
Purists argue there is only one Stanley Cup, but the 82-year-old Baun feels this is time for out-of-the-box thinking.
“I respect and love the league and the brass, but rules have been bent before,” said Baun. “Voting Commissioner Gary Bettman into the Hall of Fame while still running things is an example. Normally, people wait three years after retiring, but the directors felt Mr. Bettman should go in now. He deserves to be in but my point is the usual rules were not applied.”
He’s looking for similar consideration here. Like the time he fought for player pensions as the first leader of the NHLPA, he believes he’s trying to help the NHL.
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“I have a great relationship with (Leafs president) Brendan Shanahan and the NHL who both do so much for alumni players. But somebody has to say it. Without Howe and Richard, there are no millionaire hockey players,” said Baun. “Their legacy matters, as does the history of hockey.”
Saying he’s looking for a “remedy,” Baun believes all of the players whose name is on the cup, or their remaining families, should be given a chance to vote on this.
Baun’s name will actually stay on the Stanley Cup for the next 12 years because he was on the Maple Leafs last team to win the cup in 1967, but he said there are many guys on the first three championship teams that won’t be.
“They have to find a way to change this,” said Baun. “If they don’t, one day Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, Martin Brodeur, Guy Lafleur and Patrick Roy will also come off the cup. Those names are the Stanley Cup.”
Baun said hockey players would do anything to get their names on the Stanley Cup — including playing on a broken leg if that’s what it takes to win.