The Time Daddy Almost Hoisted The Stanley Cup
We're in the presence of royalty.
Sydney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins have the chance to win the Stanley Cup so for the first time this NHL post season the Stanley Cup will be in the building waiting for a champion to be crowned on Thursday night.
We're cheering for the Penguins because it seems like Sydney has a new favorite hockey player in Crosby. The other night she asked me when she'll get to see him on TV again? Maybe she'll get to see him win his second Stanley Cup!
With her new found adoration of the same-named player, I've decided to take her to see Sidney play next year versus the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh. I asked her if she wanted to see Crosby play or the Vancouver Canucks and she answered Crosby, so Sid the Kid it is.
When I was a youngster my Dad took me to see Gordie Howe play against the Canucks when Howe was playing for the Hartford Whalers. We were down at glass level together and he pointed out #9 and told me he's the greatest hockey player to ever live. At the time I was confused that a balding, oldish looking player could be considered the greatest hockey player ever...it wasn't until much later in life that I appreciated my Dad taking me to see Howe play.
I'm not saying Crosby will go down as the greatest hockey player to ever live but maybe, just maybe, Sydney will remember the time Daddy took her to see Sidney Crosby play hockey.
Since the Stanley Cup will be in the house on Thursday I thought I'd tell a story about the time I almost hoisted the Cup during the same trip I took in college to see the Gretzky House.
The Hockey Hall of Fame is located in Toronto, so since I was in the area there was no way I wasn't going to spend an afternoon browsing hockey history. If you're a hockey fan, the Hockey Hall of Fame is a must see attraction.
The Wayne Gretzky wing was incredible...I spent so much time looking at every detail of jerseys, sticks and other memorabilia that I wasn't even aware of what time it was. I glanced at my watch and noticed closing time was approaching so I made my way to the Cathedral where the original Stanley Cup resides in all its glory.
There it was...the greatest trophy in all sports standing proudly in the Cathedral displaying the engraved names of teams and players who have poured their blood, sweat and tears into realizing a childhood dream of winning hockey's Holy Grail.
If you grew up playing hockey, you always dreamed of winning the Cup. The Stanley Cup has such reverence that it almost seem to have its own personality, a sense of nobility when it enters the building being carried by fancy dressed men wearing white gloves.
And here I was in Toronto, near closing time at the Hockey Hall of Fame, face to face with royalty with nobody else in the Cathedral besides me, the Cup and a security guard standing dutifully beside the silver chalice.
I walked around the Cup looking at the names...W.Gretzky Capt., Bobby Orr, Gordon Howe. A person can spend hours looking at the names, remembering the time you saw that person win the Cup on TV.
Along with its nobility, the Cup comes with traditions and superstitions among players who have the chance to win it...one of the superstitions is to not touch it until you actually win it. When Eric Staal won the Cup with the Hurricanes, he brought it home and his younger NHL playing brothers refused to touch it believing they would be jinxed forever.
I'm never going to get the chance to win the Cup so those superstitions obviously don't apply to me, in my mind it was now or never.
I looked around the Cathedral, still nobody around. I glanced at my watch, closing time was minutes away. I figured if there was ever a chance for me to hoist the Stanley Cup above my head there would no better time than now.
The security guard reminded me of the Queen's Guard at Buckingham Palace..stoic, facing forward, not making eye contact and certainly not very approachable.
That didn't stop me.
I swallowed hard and asked him..
It's closing time, there's nobody else around, just you and me...do you think it would be OK if I hoisted the Cup over my head really quick?
The guard turned his head, made eye contact with me for the first time and replied...
I'm sorry, Sir...to hoist the Stanley Cup over your head you have to win a best of seven series four times.
I nodded my head and smiled...