The time is near.
It could be Monday, or it could still be more than a week away. One thing’s for sure, though, I just love when the Stanley Cup comes out of hibernation, especially when it’s presented in front of a hometown crowd.
When the shimmering Cup is awarded it marks the light at the end of the tunnel; the start of off-season work for GMs and the end of play for the boys on skates until fall. It’s a paradox, because while it’s a sight to absorb and appreciate, it’s also time to close one chapter and move on to the next.
I’m going to miss the best sport in the world for a few months, so if the NHL season must end – come on Gary, can’t we have a summer league or something? That’d make you popular! – I hope it happens in the best possible fashion.
It’s always a special scene whenever the enchanting chalice is passed off into modern history. If it’s done at home it best allows the fans to become a part of the victory and celebration and let’s be honest; a party is always better when Lord Stanley is in the house.
Not that it’s difficult to watch it unveiled in front of a rival crowd; those fans still marvel at its glory and I’m sure all gather memories never to be forgotten.
And while it’s time for one team to relish the grandeur, the official completion of the Stanley Cup tournament is also a toast to hockey’s rich history and Stanley’s humble heritage.
The great goblet has been:
• Kicked and left in a river overnight by the Ottawa Silver Seven
• Left on the side of the road by the Montreal Canadiens after they got a flat tire
• Used as a bowl by Clark Gillies’ dog
• Nearly stolen out of Chicago Stadium by a Canadiens fan returning it to “where it belongs”
• At the bottom of Mario Lemieux’s swimming pool,
• Dropped in a bonfire by the Maple Leafs
• And used as a popcorn bowl by Martin Brodeur, among many other great misadventures.
The tradition of hoisting and passing around Lord Stanley’s trophy on the ice is a tribute to the game’s tradition, a salute to the fans and one group’s stroll to immortality.
The Stanley Cup is always awe-inspiring and impressive, a pillar of the game’s greatness.
Every time it is presented the moment should be cherished, respected and etched into memory, but when the Cup is given to a team with its fans present, it makes the conclusion all the more special for anyone directly involved; from players, to loyal followers, to the league as a whole.
And all appreciative on-lookers can’t argue with a storybook ending like that.
Rory Boylen is THN.com's web content specialist. His blog appears Thursdays.
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