Skip to main content

Former Chicago Blackhawks trainer Brad Aldrich’s name, etched on a replica of the Stanley Cup, is photographed in the Hockey Hall of Fame, in Toronto, on Oct. 29, 2021.Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail

Across the world of professional sports, the NHL occupies an almost unique position with its long-standing tradition of carving the name of every member of a Stanley Cup-winning team onto the trophy.

But as the senior citizen of major team sports trophies on this continent, first awarded in 1893 and passed from one winning team to another in perpetuity, it stands alone. The NFL, MLB and the NBA all commission new trophies from Tiffany & Co. each year, with the champion team getting to keep that season’s trophy.

The CFL has followed in the footsteps of the NHL with its Grey Cup, with winning team members getting their names etched on the Cup’s base, but most other sports across the world simply list the victorious entry – either team or individual – and leave it at that.

But that doesn’t mean there haven’t been one-time victors who, such as Brad Aldrich of the Chicago Blackhawks, have brought shame onto themselves and their sport.

Chicago seeks revision to a tarnished trophy

Eagle’s out

Once the most powerful man in the hockey world, Alan Eagleson’s fall from grace was both swift and stunning. The former agent for Bobby Orr and the first executive director of the NHL Players’ Association was convicted of fraud and embezzlement in 1998, ultimately serving six months in jail. Under pressure from former players who questioned his continued inclusion in the Hall of Fame as a builder, Eagleson subsequently resigned the honour, becoming the first member of a North American pro sports hall of fame to do so.

Soccer shame

The Calciopoli scandal in Italian soccer broke out shortly before the 2006 World Cup, and while a number of teams were punished for the match fixing that took place, Juventus arguably paid the heaviest price. Italy’s most successful club domestically, Juve had two of its league titles erased from the Serie A ledger, and it was relegated to the second division. A similar scandal had broken out in France more than a decade earlier, when Olympique de Marseille owner Bernard Tapie was accused of trying to bribe opposition players to help his club to the French championship in 1993. While the team was stripped of its domestic league title, UEFA chose not to vacate the team’s Champions League win of the same year, despite banning Marseille from the following season’s competition.

Diamond disgrace

With two World Series rings, a string of Gold Glove awards and the first player to enter baseball’s Hall of Fame as a Toronto Blue Jay, Roberto Alomar is arguably the most accomplished athlete to play for Canada’s major-league franchise. But his name and the No. 12 jersey number that he wore with distinction throughout his MLB career were removed from the team’s Level of Excellence at Rogers Centre earlier this year. He is on the sport’s ineligible list after an allegation of sexual misconduct was brought against him and a subsequent investigation found that a violation of league policies had occurred.

Banishing the banisher

Almost 100 years after Kenesaw Mountain Landis banned eight members of the Chicago White Sox for their roles in throwing the 1919 World Series, baseball’s first commissioner was himself professionally outcast. Despite overseeing the sport of baseball for almost 25 years, no Black player was able to compete in the major leagues until 1947, three years after his departure, and his legacy included “documented racism,” according to an official MLB historian. Landis’s name and image had adorned the American League and National League most-valuable-player awards for more than 75 years, but last year 89 per cent of the Baseball Writers Association of America members voted to redesign the awards and remove any trace of Landis.

Hall of shame

The International Tennis Hall of Fame made history in 2016 when it expelled former Grand Slam doubles champion Bob Hewitt, following a conviction the year before for rape and sexual assault. Hewitt, a South African who won a career Grand Slam in both men’s and mixed doubles, became the first member of that hall to be banished, and both his plaque and any references to him were removed.