SUN Hockey Pool

Ex-NHLer, 91, finally gets hold of Stanley Cup

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:29 AM ET

He's a two-time Stanley Cup winner.

Yet Ray Getliffe will have to wait until tomorrow to finally hold the Stanley trophy.

The Londoner won the Stanley Cup in 1939 with the Boston Bruins and 1944 with the Montreal Canadiens. With the ugliness of the NHL lockout still fresh in the minds of fans, the league is trying whatever it can to make itself fan-friendly again. It has decided to honour 40 of its oldest alumni by letting them have the Stanley Cup for a day.

Getliffe at 91 is the third-oldest alumni. Clint Smith in Vancouver is older by three months and Lorne Carr is 95.

Getliffe gets the trophy tomorrow -- and Ray Day begins. It will not only provide Getliffe with a chance to spend time with the Stanley Cup but also give Londoners a chance to have their picture taken with Getliffe and the trophy.

"When I played, the only guy I ever remember holding the cup was the captain," Getliffe said. "The league would present the trophy and then whisk it away. I never held it. I never remember it coming into the dressing room.

"I don't remember having my picture taken with it. If there was a picture taken with it, it was probably a team picture, but I don't remember that either. I guess I'll finally get my picture taken with it, probably several pictures."

In the modern NHL, members of Stanley Cup-winning teams get to take charge of hockey's Holy Grail for a day. Most take it to their home towns.

Getliffe was called in June and told he could have the trophy for a day. He's pleased because he hopes the cup's appearance in London will not only allow fans to get close to it but also raise some money for worthy causes.

"The oldtimers in town are hoping to raise money for London's Sports Hall of Fame (where Getliffe was inducted last year). And my old school, South, is building a new floor in their gym and looking for a outdoor scoreboard," Getliffe said. "If something good can happen with it, then that's great."

The London Oldtimers Sports Association has organized the day, which will begin at the John Labatt Centre at 10:30 a.m. Getliffe will receive the cup and ride on a fire truck along Dundas Street, to the Western Fair Sports Centre.

Pictures can be taken with Getliffe and the Stanley Cup from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Bring your own camera and a minimum $2 donation for the pictures.

"I never, ever thought I would get a chance to have the cup for a day. I never thought it would be in a player's home town," said Getliffe, who played nine years in the NHL. "My family is all excited. I have 10 great grandchildren with the oldest 12. They are old enough to know what's going on."

Getliffe is the guy credited with hanging the "Rocket" nickname on Maurice Richard.

But Getliffe was more than just a hockey player. He was an outstanding golfer, playing in the Canadian Open in 1936 and 1939. He was president of the Quebec Golf Association and the Royal Canadian Golf Association and director of the Canadian Open in 1969-70.

His golf passion is a bonus for members of the London Hunt and Country Club. He's going to take the cup out there so members can see it.

With his induction in London's Sports Hall of Fame and now having the Stanley Cup at his disposal, it's been an interesting few years for Getliffe.

"It's sort of a revival," Getliffe said. "I'm getting two or three fan letters a week now. I've gotten some over the years, but over the last few years there's been more than ever. Letters and people sending pictures wanting me to sign them. It's a good feeling."

Probably not as good a feeling as finally holding the Stanley Cup 66 years after he won it for the first time.

RAY DAY/ STANLEY CUP

10:30 a.m.: Ray Getliffe takes Stanley Cup on fire truck from John Labatt Centre along Dundas Street.

11:30 a.m.- 2:30 p.m.: Pictures with Getliffe and Stanley Cup at Western Fair Sports Centre.

4:30-6 p.m.: Getliffe and Stanley Cup to London Hunt and Country Club for members-only viewing.


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