Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about hockey and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the hockey urban legends featured so far.
HOCKEY URBAN LEGEND: Ed Olczyk took his time with the Stanley Cup in 1994 to let the winning horse of the 1994 Kentucky Derby use the Cup as a feedbag.
Ed Olczyk had a long career in the National Hockey League, both as a player and as a head coach.
Today he is one of the top TV Hockey analysts.
He was inducted into the Pro Hockey Hall of Fame earlier this year.
Back in 1994, Olczyk was a member of the New York Rangers. He was injured for most of the year and did not get to play in the Stanley Cup Finals, which was won by the Rangers. Although the rule usually is that you have to have played 40 games OR played in the Finals to get your name on the Cup, Olcyzk’s Ranger teammates insisted he get his name on the Cup (it would be the only Cup victory of Olczyk’s long career).
Well, Olczyk was (and is) a big fan of horse racing.
So when it was his turn to have the Cup, he decided to have a photo opportunity – the Stanley Cup with the winner of the 1994 Kentucky Derby, Go for Gin!
So the photo has Go for Gin with his head in the Cup.
The photo was very popular, and it soon began a legend that Olczyk had filled the Cup with feed and had let the horse eat of the Cup.
Of all the weird things people have done with the Cup over the years, that really isn’t even all THAT weird, but is it true?
Olczyk insists it is not true.
In a great article by Evan Weiner over at NHL.com, Olczyk explains:
My day came and I got in on a Friday night and brought it out to the Meadowlands Racetrack for a nice evening, real quiet with a few friends, and the next day we had we had a nice charity day out at Belmont where we raised money for Ice Hockey in Harlem and the Backstretch Fund and I introduced the Stanley Cup to Go for Gin and the trainer Nick Zito.
I got a lot of world-wide attention. That picture ended up being in the Japanese racing form, so it got a lot of headlines.
He actually stuck his head in. He never drank or ate anything out of it, contrary to other reports. It was a great day and I will always know in history that in that day Go for Gin was introduced to the Stanley Cup.
Olczyk has had this same stance for years, and honestly, it is not like you can SEE the horse eating anything, right? Is it really unbelievable that they just took a photo to make it look like he was eating out of the Cup? There’s a photo of the horse with its mouth inside the Cup. Olczyk obviously knows that there is a photo with the horse’s mouth inside the Cup. If the horse were to have eaten out of the Cup, it is not like Olczyk would have gotten in trouble or anything like that. So I think Olczyk is believable on this issue, which is why I’m going with a false here.
Thanks to Evan Weiner for the article and thanks to Ed Olczyk for the information!
The legend is…
STATUS: I’m Going With False
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future urban legends columns! My e-mail address is email@example.com