Stanley Cup stripping big names off hardware to make room for future winners

Players who won the Cup from 1954-65 will have their names removed from the hardware, including Gordie How and Robert Hull.

The Stanley Cup is erasing some of the biggest names in hockey to make room for future winners.

The names from the teams that won the Cup from 1954-64 will be stripped off the hardware this spring, the Chicago Tribune reported.

That means legendary names such as Gordie Howe and Robert Hull will soon be gone.

"People in Saskatchewan are a little upset Gordie's name is coming off, but that's the tradition," said Mike Bolt, one of the Hall of Fame staffers assigned to escort the Cup around the world. "It can't get any bigger. ... We wouldn't be able to do what we do."

The Stanley Cup is unique in that it's the only one of it's kind and is passed from winning team to winning team each year, unlike other professional sports where a new trophy is created each season.

Since it's creation in 1892, the Cup has grown from a small 7-inch bowl to a massive 3-foot piece of hardware. The Cup had rings added on to display all the names, but those rings will be taken off and displayed at the NHL Hall of Fame in Toronto.

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Two rings containing the 1927-40 and '41-53 championship teams have already been retired and displayed at the Hall of Fame.

"I run into some of the older timers, like from the '70s, even the '80s. They're always like, 'Hey, Mike. How many years have I got left on the Cup?'" Bolt said. "Some guys start doing the math, 'Oh, I won't be around anyway.' But if you win it when you're young, you're going to be around when your name comes off."