By Jenn Watt
Published Aug. 8 2017
From a distance the OVC Hockey Challenge Cup looks like the long lost sibling of hockey’s most coveted trophy. The sterling silver chalice etched with braids and curlicues widening toward the base draws inspiration from the Stanley Cup.
Ontario Veterinary College faculty member Brad Hanna has been working on this project since 2010 to make something special for the five teams that play in the annual tournament in Guelph.
“In 2012 the school turned 150” Hanna says of the impetus of the original smaller trophy.
Now he’s creating a base to recognize the 100th anniversary of the championship itself.
The task includes bending bands and spiral copper rods around a large base on top of which the cup will sit.
Each band will have the names of every player who has participated in the tournament since 1931.
“That’s 20000 letters to stamp on what we’re creating here” says Hanna.
Hanna has been working under the guidance of Haliburton silversmith Todd Jeffrey Ellis who teaches the silversmithing/metalsmithing open studio at Haliburton School of Art and Design.
Hanna has had to cold call players using the school’s yearbook looking for those crucial individuals who will remember not only their teammates but all of the athletes on all of the teams.
There are 1900 names in total.
Although Hanna had no prior experience working with metal Ellis says it’s a skill that’s easier to pick up than most people think.
“You can turn metal into any shape you want” he says. “People think it’s too hard. It’s not. It’s like working with plasticine.”
Ellis has been teaching since 2002 and runs Paradigm Designs Studio with his wife and fellow silversmith Susan Watson Ellis.
He explained that the craft of silversmithing hasn’t changed much over the years which is why he dresses up as Paul Revere (the American patriot who also was a silversmith and engraver) during the Haliburton County Studio Tour.
You can check out Ellis’s work (and his Paul Revere costume) at silversmith.ca.