The NHL Accidentally Rewrites History

August 12, 2010

Gary Bettman and the NHL’s top brass have no qualms admitting that they’d like to see Alex Ovechkin make the Stanley Cup finals. So, rather than wait for him to actually do it, they decided to just etch his team’s name on the Eastern Conference championship trophy instead. (Spoiler Alert: Somebody noticed.)

Yahoo! Sports first reported that a confused tourist came across an intriguing gaffe several weeks ago while visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Brendan Millhouser noticed that the trophy awarded to the Eastern Conference champion (which was the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010) had the Washington Capitals engraved in the award.

He took several pictures of the historic mistake and sent them to various media outlets in an attempt to have it fixed. Sadly, ever since the NHL took an anti-competence stance back in the late 1990s, his cries fell on deaf ears.

"I was getting frustrated as a fan, but I'm a cynical guy myself. I had my family look at the pictures for me, [saying] 'Can you guys tell me I'm not crazy?'" said Millhouser.

In an age of Photoshop and digital malfeasance, nobody believed that his pictorial evidence was real.

Understandably, this displeased Millhouser:

It took the word of the Hockey Hall of Fame, who couldn't just take a current photo to end all of the speculation right there and then. It went on to say decisively that it wasn't real and the photos were somehow altered. Despite the fact, that I reported it right away, took shots from many angles, and then immediately uploaded them from my phone, they had to be altered, right? Not to mention that I don't own a computer, and rely on my Droid for all my internet connections. (I had to go to my parents' house 30 miles away to finally reach a computer and write this.)

Ignoring the fact that this guy:

A)    Owns a smart phone, but not a computer.
B)    Didn’t have a friend or neighbor whose computer he could borrow.
C)    Lives within biking distance to his parents.

He did have a point, and fortunately for his sanity  - which was repeatedly questioned -  the league agreed and later admitted their mistake.

Today, the trophy has been fixed and Millhouser was issued an apology by the NHL.

"It feels good, man. I can feel like I'm sane again. It was a surreal experience," he said.

Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images