Triple Gold Club
The Triple Gold Club is the group of ice hockey players and coaches who have won an Olympic Games gold medal, a World Championship gold medal, and the Stanley Cup, the championship trophy of the National Hockey League (NHL). The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) considers them to be "the three most important championships available to the sport".
Tomas Jonsson, Mats Näslund and Håkan Loob became the first members on 27 February 1994 when Sweden won the gold medal at the 1994 Winter Olympics. The term first entered popular use following the 2002 Winter Olympics, which saw the addition of the first Canadian members. On 8 May 2007, the IIHF announced it would formalize the club and recognize the players who had won the three championships. The ceremony was to take place in Canada during the 2008 World Championship but it was later changed to occur during the inaugural Victoria Cup, in September 2008. Ultimately, the induction ceremony was held, with all 22 members at the time present, at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, on 22 February 2010.
There are twenty-five player members of the Triple Gold Club—nine Swedes, eight Canadians, six Russians, and two Czechs. Ten of the players are defencemen and the remaining players are forwards; no goaltenders have won all three championships. Measuring from the time of their first victory of one of the three championships, Swedes Niklas Kronwall, Mikael Samuelsson and Henrik Zetterberg needed the least amount of time to join the club, winning the Olympics and World Championships in 2006 and the Stanley Cup in 2008 (as members of the Detroit Red Wings). In contrast, it took Russian Viacheslav Fetisov 19 years from his first victory to become a member. Jonathan Toews is the youngest player to accomplish the feat, winning the third championship (the Stanley Cup) at the age of 22 years, 42 days; Fetisov was the oldest, winning the Stanley Cup at 39 years, 48 days. Fetisov, his countryman Igor Larionov, and Swede Peter Forsberg are the only players to have won each of the three championships more than once. Eight members of the Triple Gold Club have won the Stanley Cup as part of the Detroit Red Wings, more than any other NHL team.
Mike Babcock became the first coach to win all three components of the Triple Gold Club on 28 February 2010 when he led Canada to a gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He won the World Championship in 2004 and coached the Red Wings to a Stanley Cup win in 2008.
The IIHF considers the three components of the club to be "the three most important championships available to the sport". The club has been described as a "a modern fraternity" because NHL players — considered professionals — were not allowed to play in the World Championships until 1977, and were not allowed to compete in the Olympics until 1998 (although pros were allowed starting in 1988), as both championships were originally intended for amateur players. Additionally, many top European players — particularly players from the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia — were not allowed to play in the NHL and compete for the Stanley Cup before the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989.
Olympic gold medal
Ice hockey tournaments have been staged at the Olympic Games since 1920. The men's tournament was first held at the 1920 Summer Olympics and integrated in the Winter Olympic program starting with the 1924 Winter Olympics. The Olympic Games were originally intended for amateur athletes, so the players of the NHL and other professional leagues were not allowed to play. Canada dominated the first three decades, winning six of seven gold medals. The Soviet Union first participated in 1956, and overtook Canada as the dominant international team, winning seven of the nine tournaments in which they participated. The only two tournaments that the Soviets failed to win, in 1960 and 1980, were hosted and won by the United States. Other nations to win gold include Great Britain in 1936, Sweden in 1994 and 2006, and the Czech Republic in 1998.
Many of Canada's top players were NHL professionals, so the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) pushed for the ability to use professional and amateur players. After several debates about the definition of what made a player professional, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted to allow all athletes to compete in Olympic Games held after 1988. The NHL was initially reluctant to allow its players to compete because the Olympics are held in the middle of the NHL season, and the league would have to halt play if many of its players participated. However, an agreement was reached and NHL players were allowed to compete starting in 1998.
World Championship gold medal
The Ice Hockey World Championship is an annual tournament organized by the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF). It is the highest profile annual international tournament. The tournament held at the 1920 Summer Olympics is recognized as the first Ice Hockey World Championship. Between 1920 and 1968, the Olympic hockey tournament was also considered the World Championship for that year. The first World Championship that was held as an individual event was in 1930 in which twelve nations participated. The modern format for the World Championship features 16 teams in the championship group, 12 teams in Division I and 12 teams in Division II. If there are more than 40 teams, the rest compete in Division III. The teams in the championship play a preliminary and qualifying round, then the top eight teams play in the playoff medal round and the winning team is crowned World Champion.
Canada was the tournament's first dominant team, winning the tournament 12 times between 1930 and 1952. The Soviet Union first participated in 1954 and soon became rivals with Canada. From 1963 until the nation's breakup in 1991, the Soviet Union was the dominant team, winning 20 championships. During that period, only three other nations won medals: Canada, Czechoslovakia and Sweden. Russia first participated in 1992 and the Czech Republic and Slovakia started competing in 1993. In the 2000s, the competition became more open as the "big six" teams–Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden and the United States became more evenly matched.
The Stanley Cup is the championship trophy awarded annually to the National Hockey League (NHL) playoffs champion. The Stanley Cup is the oldest professional sports trophy in North America and is surrounded by numerous legends and traditions, the oldest of which is the celebratory drinking of champagne out of the cup by the winning team. Unlike the trophies awarded by the other three major professional sports leagues of North America, a new Stanley Cup is not made each year; Cup winners keep it until a new champion is crowned. It is the only trophy in professional sports that has the name of the winning players, coaches, management and club staff engraved on its chalice. The original bowl was made of silver and has a dimension of 18.5 centimeters (7.28 inches) in height and 29 centimeters (11.42 inches) in diameter. The current Stanley Cup, topped with a copy of the original bowl, is made of silver and nickel alloy. Today, it has a height of 89.54 centimeters (35.25 inches) and weighs 15.5 kilograms (34.5 lb).
Originally inscribed the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, the trophy was donated in 1892, by then Governor General of Canada Lord Stanley of Preston, as an award for Canada's top-ranking amateur ice hockey club. In 1915, the two professional ice hockey organizations, the National Hockey Association (NHA) and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA), reached a gentlemen's agreement in which their respective champions would face each other for the Stanley Cup. After a series of league mergers and folds, it became the de facto championship trophy of the NHL in 1926. The Cup later became the de jure NHL championship prize in 1947.
|*||Player is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.|
|Text in bold indicates the specific championship that made that player a member of the club.|
|Olympic Gold||World Championship||Stanley Cup|
|Babcock, MikeMike Babcock||28 February 2010||Canada 2010||Canada 2004||Detroit Red Wings 2008|
- List of IIHF World Championship medalists
- List of Olympic medalists in ice hockey
- List of Stanley Cup champions
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