It’s the dog days of summer, so how about a little summer cooler. I read the other day that the Stanley Cup was delayed at the border while on route to Nathan Horton’s home town near Welland. Border as in coming into Canada from Boston. I found that odd, surely our customs guys and gals knew what it was. All the Bruins jokes aside, I figured, good Canadians that they are, perhaps they all wanted a few pictures with the most recognizable trophy in sports. Who could blame them if they did?
Then I got to thinking about the times the Stanley Cup has actually been held up in our fair town. Those visits that were spawned by victories and purely by chance visits. I have only been here in this city thirty years and I started to think of the times the Stanley Cup visited this city. The first time I recall was after the Penguins won in 1990. Rick Patterson was coaching and was able to bring the cup back to his Dad’s backyard. I got the invite and recall bringing my two year old son Jay. Colleague Herb Lefebvre was there too and a host of people that crammed into the backyard that day found it pretty thrilling to touch, and hold high. A few years later the Cup was back. This time Marc Crawford and the Colorado Avalanche provided the visit. Jay and I made the short walk up Champlain Drive to the corner of Patricia Place and were lucky to have a private viewing in Ray Campeau’s garage. We actually got the full deal that day; the Cup keeper was polishing the tin, right there in the garage as we walked up. We read the names and took a few pictures before heading to the actual Cup Banquet later that night. Being that one may never know when the chance of a lifetime may happen again, I didn’t feel bad racing out like a kid to see the Cup. My son was young and it really did feel kind of neat for this big kid too.
Then two pretty special events dropped the Cup literally on my doorstep. In March of 2000, I got a call from Labatt’s area boss, Mike Masterman. We all know Mike, probably the most popular rep in town if you subscribe to the amber liquid code. Mike let me in on a secret, the Cup would be in Cornwall in a few days, on a Sunday afternoon. The Cup keepers wanted to fill a three hour scheduling glitch and they did not want to sit around waiting to head to the Boat Show and later, the Bob Turner for Sunday night house league action. I called a bunch of kids to come for a road hockey game against the Cornwall Colts and unbeknownst to them, the Labatt’s "out of the Blue experience" took over our little Crescent. Labatt’s sponsored a nation wide tour of the Stanley Cup that year with random unannounced appearances. If memory serves me, on the way to my street, another road hockey game in the Rochon family’s driveway on Fourth Street East was abruptly stopped by one of those chance visits. After our game, the Cup actually made it all the way into my house that day.
A few years later in 2004, the Aboriginal Games were played on Cornwall Island. Phil Pritchard, the ultimate keeper of the Cup, brought it to Akwesasne for a few days of public display in the Turtle Lounge. I was doing the PA announcing that week and had more than enough time again to look at the names and hear some of Phil Pritchard’s stories of carting the trophy around the world.
The last time that I can recall the Stanley Cup being on display in town, was the year the Anaheim Ducks beat the Ottawa Senators in 2007. Newell Brown rewarded his home town with a day at the Civic Complex where hundreds turned out for their moment with the silver mug. Five visits in twenty years is pretty good. It is possible that I have missed a visit, if you can come up with one, declare it right here.