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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hockey's Triple ( and Quadruple) Gold Club

As all of we Canadians know, the Stanley cup is the ultimate prize of Hockey.

But what about the other championships a great hockey player can win?

The IIHF considers the Stanley Cup, the Olympic gold and the World Championship gold to be "the three most important championships of the sport". In fact, they have made up an official club for the 25 elite winners of all three and had an induction ceremony at the  2010 Vancouver Olympics

My opinion of the IIHF is mediocre at best but I do agree that these three championships are extremely important to the sport.

Canadians, however,  also place a very high esteem on the World JUNIOR Championship and so I would pose that there is actually a Quadruple Gold Club.

In fact, I would argue that the WJC is actually more important than the World Championship.   Why? Because it is a more accurate representation of a country's best player at the critical age level. Although some WJC eligible players are playing in the NHL, the team is usually full of the country's best.

The World Championship unfortunately is scheduled during the Stanley Cup playoffs and so many of the best players in the world are playing for their respective NHL teams or in some cases, too beat up from the NHL regular season to play ( to this point though, I always have a great respect for the players who go to sporting battle for our country anyways!)

The question could also be asked ( and often has been)  , "Which is most important - A Stanley Cup ring or an Olympic Gold Medal?"

Almost unanimously, North American players will tell you a Stanley Cup ring - and I think many NHL Europeans would as well these days.

But there is something to be said for that Olympic Gold.  The odds of winning one are much less as the opportunity only comes around once every 4 years - and then you have to be good enough to make a very elite team... and then of course win ( which is no small task these days). In addition you are able to represent your country - and as Canadians we are a very patriotic bunch as the world found out in February of 2010.

So all of this brings us to WHO is in this Triple Gold club and even more importantly who is in the Quadruple Gold club!

Let's start with coaches - because there is only one who has the Triple gold.

 That would Mr Mike Babcock! One of my all time favourites.

There is a list on Wikipedia of all 25 players in the Triple Gold club here. This includes 9 Swedes, 8 Canadians ( not including Coach Babcock), 6 Russians and 2 Czechs.

Notable players include Peter Forsberg, Igor Larionov, Jaromir Jagr and  Nicklas Lidstrom (also only European Captain to win the Stanley Cup) .

Your Canadians are Rob Blake, Joe Sakic, Brendan Shanahan, Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger, Eric Staal, Jonathan Toews and Patrice Bergeron.

Members of the Quadruple club?????

Brendan Shanahan - sort of ( Team Canada was disqualified from the 1987 WJHC, though they had a strong shot at Gold). Shanahan also won the 1991 Canada Cup

Scott Niedermayer ( also MVP and winner of the Memorial Cup!) 1991

Chris Pronger  1993 ( 2 Olympic Golds)

Patrice Bergeron

Jonathan Toews  2005 World U-17 Hockey Challenge2006 and 2007 World Junior Championships2007 World Championships, and the 2010 Winter Olympics (a tournament in which he was named Best Forward).

Scott  Niedermayer has won the Memorial Cup (CHL) and was its MVP , The WJHC gold (twice) , The Stanley cup ( 4 times, 2 different teams) ), Olympic gold (twice) , World Men's gold and the World Cup gold ( which is the old Canada Cup - NHL's counterpart to World Mens)!!! The most decorated Canadian of all!!!!