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Let’s Name Jay Beagle’s New Club
Jay Beagle went undrafted. The Calgary Hitmen cut him. He played NCAA hockey at Alaska-Anchorage. Today, he is a Stanley Cup champion with the Washington Capitals.
Beagle’s hockey career is a long journey of sacrifice and hard work – very hard work – to make it to the sport’s summit. In his professional career, the closest he came to 20 goals in a season came in his first year with the Hershey Bears, scoring 19 in 2007-08.
As a professional rookie in 2006-07, he won a Kelly Cup in the ECHL with the Idaho Steelheads, having joined the team late after leaving Anchorage in his sophomore season. He won two Calder Cups with the AHL’s Bears. With the win last night, he is in a class all by himself as the only player to ever win the championship in all three levels.
Since he is the first member, this club has no name. Hockey is full of exclusive lists like the Triple Gold Club, for players who win a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold, and IIHF World Championship. One-time Capital Jaromir Jagr is a member of that 28-player list.
Beagle’s feat is special. The NHL had 66 former ECHL players on rosters at the start of this season, and 623 total players from the league made it to the NHL before the start of the 2017-18 season. For comparison, 627 former AHL players were on NHL rosters to start the 2016-17 season. Few players hold the title of “champion” at any of these levels, and multiple titles across the divisions are rare.
The other former Bears to win last night — John Carlson, Braden Holtby, Jakub Vrana, Madison Bowey, Travis Boyd, Chandler Stephenson, and throw in broadcaster John Walton just because — join a long list of AHL graduates to get NHL rings. The ECHL list is smaller, and includes Holtby and Nathan Walker from the South Carolina Stingrays, but Beagle is a party of one to hold titles in all three leagues.
What should Beagle’s new, ultra-exclusive club be called?
The Triple Silver Club
Each of the Kelly, Calder, and Stanley Cup has a silver finish. The name would imply something lesser than the Triple Gold name, which is not ideal. In many respects, this club is harder to reach than the one with Hall of Famers like Peter Forsberg and Brendan Shanahan.
The North American Triple
This is a suggestion from my older brother. It gives a nod to horse racing’s Triple Crown — a month-plus long stretch for a racehorse to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes — while emphasizing that these titles are contested between American and Canadian teams. Beagle is from Alberta, but naming the club after the continent may imply it is off-limits to European players.
The Grinder Club
Hockey is the ultimate grind. A small percentage of players that go undrafted make it to a professional roster, let alone the big-time with a perennial playoff contender. Few end up signing for over $1 million a year like Beagle did in 2015. He grinded through long bus rides with Alaska-Anchorage, Idaho, and Hershey before he could sit on planes with Alex Ovechkin and the NHL’s stars.
Three Levels Club
A name for the three major levels of professional hockey in North America. The ECHL and AHL both have veteran/development player requirements which prevent teams from loading up on experienced talent. Each title becomes harder to win with more mileage on the skates, and Beagle is the third-longest tenured Capital behind Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.
Triple Platinum Club
This is my pick. A higher metal for a higher accomplishment.
Have a suggestion? Leave a comment. The naming process is open for now.