Waterdown’s Carter Verhaeghe still can’t quite believe he lifted the Stanley Cup, News (Hamilton Jr Bulldogs)

PrintNews Article
Click to view full-size image
Waterdown’s Carter Verhaeghe still can’t quite believe he lifted the Stanley Cup
Submitted By Dianne Skirving on Friday, October 9, 2020
By Scott Radley, Spectator Columnist - Fri., Oct. 9, 2020    

There have been some unfortunate spelling mistakes on the Stanley Cup over the years. Bob Gainey went on there as Gainy one time. Burlington’s Gaye Stewart became Gave Stewart. Jacques Plante won it five straight seasons and got a different spelling each time.

So, before the woman in Montreal who does the engraving gets to work on this year’s list, Carter Verhaeghe might want to send her a note. Just to be sure. “I probably should,” the Waterdown native laughs.

For obvious reasons. There are a lot of vowels in that surname, he quips. More than a few times he’s had the second H turned into a U. Or worse. One time even a batch of personalized sticks came with his name all mangled.

But this is the Stanley freakin’ Cup. Since he’s going to be on it forever, his name should probably be correct.

That’s stunning to him. Not the spelling issues. The fact that he’s going to be on there. A week after his Tampa Bay Lightning won the Cup, he’s still in a bit of a daze at the whole thing.


He used to have a picture of himself next to the big mug hanging in his bedroom. The photo was taken during a visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto when he was a kid. Now, he’s someday going to be able to take his future kids and future grandkids to the Hall and point to his own name on sports’ greatest trophy.

“For my name to be engraved forever …” the 25-year-old says, his voice trailing off. “It’s kind of surreal.”

This is a guy who wasn’t the highest scorer on his Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs team, was a late second-round pick in the Ontario Hockey League then went late in the third-round of the 2013 NHL draft to the Toronto Maple Leafs, who traded him to the New York Islanders. There he spent two years splitting time between the AHL and ECHL before being traded to Tampa Bay for a goalie now playing in Germany.

The point is, this hasn’t been an easy road. He’s always been a really good player but he’s had to grind to get to the NHL. He admits he had some doubts whether he’d ever stick in the big league. There was a belief he could play at that level but you need someone to believe in you as well.

“You never know if you’ll ever be able to do it,” he says. “It’s so tough to do.”

But a year ago on the farm team, he exploded. Everything came together and he won the league scoring title. That helped earn him a spot on the big club. Which led to him being in the bubble and on the ice for most of the playoffs.

And there for the celebration with the Stanley Cup, which was heavier than Verhaeghe expected, by the way.

The other details of that moment? They’re a little hazier. It seems winning the thing is a little overwhelming after spending your entire life dreaming about it. So he kind of blacked out a bit.

Does he recall who handed him the Cup?

“(Jan) Rutta, I think,” he says.

Correct. And who did he pass it off to?

“I’m not sure.”


Doesn’t matter. He won. Days later, he still sounds rather stunned by the whole thing. Or maybe it’s the effects of the exhausting five days of celebrating since. Either way, as you talk to him he truly sounds blown away that this has happened.

“I lifted the Cup,” he says, speaking with exactly the inflection you’d expect of someone having a hard time not pinching himself again and again. “Above my head. On the ice. That is something else.”

Yes. It is. First Hamilton Jr. Bulldog to do it.

When the game was over, he kept his sweater. He kept the championship hat and T-shirt they gave him after the game, too. Might have been a few other things tucked away as well.

Now, he just waits in his downtown Tampa condo overlooking the arena to find out if he gets a day with the Cup as is tradition. That’s still up in the air because of COVID-19. And waits for his ring. Which is mind-blowing.

And waits to see his name etched beautifully in silver alongside names like Gretzky and Orr and Howe.

Hopefully spelled correctly.


Scott Radley is a Hamilton-based columnist at The Spectator.

Reach him via email: [email protected]

This article has been viewed 216 times.
Social Networking
Follow Us On
Follow Hamilton Jr Bulldogs on Twitter
Quick Links
Manage Subscriptions
Signup to receive email or text messages for the teams you want to follow.
News ArchiveOther Recent Articles
  • 11
    By Bob Hill, OMHA President, 10/10/20, 10:15AM EDT With the Ontario government tightening restrictions in three major urban areas because of COVID-19, we at the OMHA would like to remind our participants around the province we remain in what’s ...
  • 01
    Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs’ professional hockey talents were in the mix at the NHL Stanley Cup with two players with Jr. Bulldogs’ connections fighting for hockey’s biggest crown - Carter Verhaeghe of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Nick Caamano of the ...
  • 24
    To: OHF Members From: Phillip McKee, Executive Director Date: 9/23/2020 Re: Equipment in Car Seats   The Ontario Hockey Federation would like to remind all Minor Hockey Associations, Coaches and Parents to remove shoulder and chest pads, padded ...
  • 07
    Welcome to all HJB Players and their Families, HJB Coaching Staff and HJB Development Staff to the HJB’s 2020-21 RTP Hockey Program.  You will have received communication from your Head Coach about which session you will be participating during this ...
  • 06
    The season of 2019-20 proved to be another remarkable year for the Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs organization.  The Minor PeeWee Team finished in first place to win the SCTA League Championship while 4 Teams (Minor PeeWee, PeeWee, Minor Bantam and Bantam) ...
  • 06
    By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 09/04/20, 1:00PM EDT CLARIFYING THE ANSWERS TO POPULAR QUESTIONS  In support of the announcement of OMHA Return to Play - OHF Stage 3b) programming, please find below additional answers to more specific ...
  • 21
    Registration Thank you everyone, for your patience over the past few months. I know a lot of families have been waiting patiently and wondering what will hockey look like for the 2020 season. The starting point for this process is opening up ...
  • 07
    The Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF) has released an update to the Return to Hockey Framework following the Ontario Government’s amendment to Stage 2.
Printed from hamiltonjrbulldogs.com on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at 6:21 PM