Can Weber join TGC?
by Andrew Podnieks|17 JUN 2021
Shea Weber (in the middle, with Dan Hamhuis and Drew Doughty) won two Olympic gold medals.
photo: Jeff Vinnick / HHOF-IIHF Images
At this start of this weird and crazy pandemic hockey season there were 18 players who had a chance to join the Triple Gold Club if they won either the Stanley Cup or World Championship gold, but that number is now down to just one – Montreal Canadiens defenceman Shea Weber.

Weber won consecutive Olympic gold medals with Canada in 2010 and 2014, and also helped Canada win World Championship gold in 2007 in Moscow, so all that is missing is a Cup title. A teammate of his that tournament 14 years ago was none other than Eric Staal, the 23rd member of the TGC and a teammate of Weber in Montreal this season.

Ironically, earlier that same year, a young goalie named Carey Price helped Canada’s World Junior Championship team win gold in Sweden. And now, they are also teammates for the Canadiens, trying to win a most improbable Stanley Cup in a year that Canada won its most improbable gold at the just-completed Worlds, in Riga.

How improbable was that gold? Not one player on Canada had previously won any TGC honours, a rare situation for a Team Canada.

Of the 18 possibilities, seven needed to win World Championship gold to join the current 29 members of the Triple Gold Club. Six were Canadian – Jeff Carter, Drew Doughty, Ryan Getzlaf, Duncan Keith, Alex Pietrangelo, and Brent Seabrook. And although none of these six made it to the playoffs with their NHL team, they didn’t go to Riga either. The seventh was Russian Slava Voinov, who didn’t play at all in 2020/21 and wasn’t invited to play for the ROC team in Riga.

On the Stanley Cup sides of things, there were ten other players besides Weber who could have joined the TGC with a Cup win. Henrik Lundqvist, the newly-signed goalie for the Washington Capitals, was off the list pretty much before the season began after he had heart surgery. He didn’t play at all this past season, and his fantastic career remains up in the air. There are no TGC goalies, though, so any candidate in the blue ice is always worth following and supporting.

Lundqvist was also the only Swede on the list. The other nine were either Canadian or Russian. In the former category, there were Matt Duchene and Patrick Marleau. Duchene’s Nashville Predators didn’t last long in the playoffs while Marleau’s San Jose Sharks didn’t qualify at all.

Russian possibilities included Yegor Yakovlev, Andrei Zubarev, Sergei Kalinin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Sergei Mozyakin, Vadim Shipachyov, and Sergei Shirokov. However, all of these players skated in the KHL in 2020/21 and also didn’t have a chance to win the Cup. 

And so we are left with Weber. Of the current 29 TGC members, eleven are Canadian, nine Swedish, seven Russian, and two Czech. The most recent addition, No. 29, is the recently-retired Jay Bouwmeester, whose Stanley Cup win with St. Louis in 2019 gave him membership in hockey’s most exclusive group.

Only one coach has achieved TGC status – Mike Babcock of Canada – and the first three members of the TGC were all Swedes: Tomas Jonsson, Mats Naslund, and Hakan Loob. They all made TGC history in 1994 with Tre Kronor’s Olympic gold. 

Perhaps the greatest TGC accomplishment belongs to Sidney Crosby. He is the only TGC member to achieve his status by captaining each of his teams to victory. Another notable is Slava Fetisov who has the most TGC honours – eleven – thanks to seven World Championship gold, two Stanley Cups, and two Olympic gold.

But for now, all TGC eyes are on Weber, to see if he can help the Habs win the Cup and become the 30th member of the IIHF’s Triple Gold Club. Last night the Montreal Canadiens tied the series against the Vegas Golden Knights 1-1. It’s also 1-1 in the other Stanley Cup semi-final series Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Islanders.