Hey, look at that, an expansion team is in the Stanley Cup Final.
The Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Winnipeg Jets yesterday to win the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl and advance to the 2018 Stanley Cup Final where they’ll await the winner of the Tampa Bay Lightning – Washington Capitals series. The Golden Knights are the third first-year franchise in NHL history to reach the Stanley Cup Final, the previous two were the 1968 St. Louis Blues and 1918 Toronto Hockey Club.
Hmm. 1918-1968-2018. Every half-century. That’s weird.
What those other two teams didn’t have to “worry” about is what to do with their Inaugural Season patch during the Final (this is a good problem to have). The Golden Knights have worn a commemorative patch on their uniform throughout the 2017-18 season on the top right of their jersey front; either shoulder has their alternate logo; and the alternate captain patch goes on the left.
What to do?!
Fortunately we have some examples of teams who faced commemorative patch problems as they qualified for the Stanley Cup Final to compare with…
2016-17 PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
As recent as we can get here’s the 2016-17 Pittsburgh Penguins who defended their Stanley Cup victory a year prior while wearing a patch commemorating their 50th anniversary season. The patch was worn on the front of their jersey throughout the season and first three rounds of the playoffs before it was moved to the empty shoulder when they took on the Nashville Predators in the final.
2015-16 SAN JOSE SHARKS
This appears to be an annual issue in the NHL now as next up is the 2016 San Jose Sharks who wore a patch in honour of their 25th anniversary during what would end up being their first run to a Stanley Cup Final. Just like the Golden Knights of 2018, the Sharks had both shoulders occupied by a shoulder patch so what happened? They simply removed the 25th anniversary patch in favour of the Stanley Cup Final patch. Simple.
2000-01 COLORADO AVALANCHE
A nice gap precedes the Sharks as we move all the way back to 2001 where the Colorado Avalanche qualified for the Stanley Cup Final the same season they hosted the NHL All-Star Game. With the shoulders already used up by a couple of footprints the All-Star Game patch was simply removed and replaced with the 2001 Stanley Cup patch as the Avs beat the Devils to win their second cup in five years.
1999-2000 NEW JERSEY DEVILS / DALLAS STARS
For the 1999-2000 season every team across the NHL wore a patch commemorating that all four numbers in the calendar year changed this time instead of just the usual one or two. It was a special event that required being noted throughout the entire year including during the Stanley Cup Final where both the New Jersey Devils and Dallas Stars simply kept wearing the patch, the Stanley Cup patch shoved below it.
1997-98 DETROIT RED WINGS
In the celebrations following the Detroit Red Wings Stanley Cup victory a year earlier, three members of the team were seriously injured in a car accident: players Vladimir Konstantinov and Slava Fetisov as well as team masseur Sergei Mnatsakanov. To honour their fellow Red Wings the team wore a patch on the front of their jersey for the entire season and playoff, when the Red Wings repeated as Western Conference Champions the team moved this patch to their shoulder and placed the Cup Final patch in its place.
1993-94 VANCOUVER CANUCKS
Just one day before the Vancouver Canucks were set to play in the 1994 Stanley Cup Playoffs, their owner Frank A. Griffiths died at the age of 77. The honour Griffiths the team added a patch to the front of their jersey which read “2 Pts. F.G.”, a reference to Griffiths habit of asking for “2 points” rather than a win. When the Canucks won the West a few weeks later the team shifted the memorial patch to the shoulder and placed the Stanley Cup Final patch on the front.
1992-93 MONTREAL CANADIENS / LOS ANGELES KINGS
Another league-wide patch in the NHL in 1992-93 as the 100th anniversary of the Stanley Cup was celebrated throughout the league. The Montreal Canadiens who hosted the All-Star Game that season didn’t wear the Cup centennial patch under the second half of the season. For the final, both the Canadiens and the Los Angeles Kings removed one Stanley Cup patch for another, the 100th anniversary patch was removed and the 1993 Final patch was added in its place.
1991-92 PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
The 1991-92 Penguins may hold the record for most commemorative patches worn by a Stanley Cup winner, in addition to the NHL’s 75th anniversary patch which all teams wore, the Penguins wore a 25th anniversary patch on one shoulder and a memorial patch to their head coach Bob “Badger” Johnson who died in November 1991. With three different patches in the usual places the Penguins were forced to remove one and the NHL 75 patch got the axe. Their opponent during the Final, the Chicago Blackhawks, also removed their NHL 75 patch for the Cup patch.
So what will the Golden Knights do? We reached out and are still awaiting their decision (I imagine they may be celebrating still, we’ll give ’em time), but my prediction is they will simply remove their inaugural season patch and replace it with the patch for the 2018 Stanley Cup Final.
UPDATE (May 22/18): The Golden Knights responded to our very important question about patch placement and, as predicted, the Inaugural Season patch will be removed completely from the jersey in favour of the Stanley Cup Final patch:
“Per the NHL: The Stanley Cup Final patch will replace the inaugural season patch on the front right chest area of the jersey. The inaugural season patch will not be worn on the Stanley Cup Final jerseys.”
So, a quick Photoshop allows us to add Vegas to the collection:
And if Tampa Bay wins Game 7 tomorrow, yet another!