By virtue of having an entry on both sides of the Stanley Cup Final, the University of Wisconsin men's hockey team was assured of adding a 15th name to its list of alumni who have played on a Cup winner.
On Monday, it was decided: Defenseman Ryan McDonagh of the Tampa Bay Lightning will have his name etched on the NHL's championship trophy.
McDonagh and the Lightning defeated Dallas 2-0, winning the series against former Badgers center Joe Pavelski and the Stars four games to two.
Before Monday, the last new entry to the Badgers' Cup-winners club was in 2016, when Justin Schultz won the first of two straight titles with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Here's the list of former Badgers players who were on Stanley Cup-winning teams:
Badgers men's hockey alumni who have won the Stanley Cup as an NHL player
|Mike Richter||1994||New York Rangers|
|Bruce Driver||1995||New Jersey|
|Brian Rafalski||2000||New Jersey|
|Brian Rafalski||2003||New Jersey|
|Davis Drewiske||2012||Los Angeles|
|Ryan McDonagh||2020||Tampa Bay|
Two others connected to UW also have their names on the Cup. Former Badgers coach Bob Johnson led the Penguins to the 1991 title. He died during the 1991-92 season but he was honored for both the 1991 and 1992 championships.
Dave McNab, who was a Badgers goalie from 1973 to 1978, was Anaheim's assistant general manager during its 2007 championship season.
McDonagh played for UW from 2007 to 2010. He was a key member of the last Badgers team to play in the men's Frozen Four, in 2010.
His matchup against Pavelski in the final — and they did go head-to-head in front of the Lightning net — made it the ninth time former Badgers players were on each team in the NHL's championship series. (One of those, in 1989, had Gary Suter on the victorious Calgary Flames against Chris Chelios' Montreal Canadiens although Suter was injured and didn't play in the final.)
McDonagh said the Lightning knew it was capable of winning this season but wasn't sure during the pandemic shutdown whether it would get the chance.
"Right from day one there, we were focused and dialed in and on a mission," he said. "Now we can say mission accomplished, which is a pretty incredible feeling."
A Plover native who helped the Badgers win the 2006 NCAA title in his second and final collegiate season, Pavelski became the all-time leading NHL playoff goal-scorer among U.S.-born players with the tying goal in the third period of the Stars' double-overtime victory Saturday. He broke a tie with Joe Mullen with his 61st career playoff goal and 13th this year.
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