PITTSBURGH, United States – With Detroit’s Stanley Cup victory, the Triple Gold Club expanded with three new members – Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall, and Mikael Samuelsson. The three Swedes were the fastest of the 22 players to complete the triple (Olympic gold, World Championship gold, and Stanley Cup).
The three out of a total of seven Swedish players on the 2008 Red Wings’ Stanley Cup team built their Triple Gold Club platform just two years ago. In 2006, they were part of Sweden’s Tre Kronor when it became the first team in hockey history to win the Olympic gold (Turin) and the World Championship (Riga) in the same year. They are now the first players who have achieved their Triple Gold Club merits entirely in the 21st century.
Zetterberg, Kronwall, and Samuelsson were among the eight Swedish players that year who were on both the Olympic as well as on the World Championship team. As a result, the Swedish Triple Gold Club contingent is now nine players strong.
By comparison, Soviet and Russian stalwart defenceman Vyacheslav Fetisov had to wait 19 years between his first title (1978 World Championship) and the year he finally reached the triple, in 1997 after winning his first of two Stanley Cups with Detroit.
Other examples: It took Jaromir Jagr 14 years, Joe Sakic 12 and Nicklas Lidstrom 15 years to win all three titles.
The Triple Gold Club now consists of nine Swedish players, six Russians, five Canadians and two Czechs. Out of the 22 players, 12 are forwards and 10 are defenceman. The club still has yet to welcome its first goaltender.
Detroit’s 43-year old Czech backup netminder Dominik Hasek is one of several active players with two of the three titles. Hasek, who won the Olympic gold in 1998 in Nagano and the Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2002, has never won the World Championship. Canada’s Martin Brodeur also lacks a World title to his impressive resume, while Jarome Iginla and Ryan Smyth (both Canada) have yet to win the Stanley Cup and the same puzzle piece is missing for the Swedish brothers Jorgen and Kenny Jonsson.
Russia’s Sergei Fedorov, who was on Russia’s World Championship winning team in Quebec City, has also won three Stanley Cups with Detroit but he has never been part of an Olympic gold medal team.
As part of the IIHF’s 100 Year Anniversary, the IIHF plans to officially recognize the 22 Triple Gold Club members during the Victoria Cup event in Berne, Switzerland, on September 30 – October 1.
The inaugural Victoria Cup will be played between the winner of the 2008 European Champions Cup, Metallurg Magnitogorsk (Russia), and the New York Rangers on October 1.
The Victoria Cup event also includes an exhibition game between Swiss host SC Bern and the New York Rangers, on September 30.
Click here for the full list of all 22 Tripe Gold Club members.