For as long as I can remember I have watched the captain of the winning team hoist the Stanley Cup above his head and plant a giant kiss on it. This memory is burned into my brain from at least 1980 onward. Certainly for my entire adult life I know I have not missed the raising of The Cup once. Even an overtime game on the West coast couldn’t keep me from watching.
I normally root for one particular team to win The Cup but this year I’m actually rooting for The Cup to be decided TONIGHT. You see, this is the first time in 9 years that this particular situation has arisen. I like to think of it as my own version of Halley’s comet.
Back in 2002 my wife was pregnant with our first child who was due on July 4th. I was always a bit ticked off because of all the days for a True Canadian to have a baby, I got stuck with American Independence Day as a due date. Three days earlier would have been ideal.
At any rate, there we were living in Cambridge, Ontario and as always I was watching the Stanley Cup Finals. It was mid-June. In fact to be completely precise it was June 13th. Detroit was playing Carolina in game #5 and Detroit was up in the series 3-1 after losing the first game.
As I mentioned, for as long as I can remember I have watched the Stanley Cup get hoisted by the captain of the winning team. I can go back to when I was a kid and my dad would let me watch them hand out the cup. I’m not sure what it is about it, but growing up with a dad who played hockey at a very competitive level and playing it myself for 10 years, and having been down to the old CNE grounds back in the day to see the Hockey Hall of Fame when I was just a small kid and having seen the Cup up close – and having even touched it, well it’s just something that’s hard to explain.
So, three weeks removed from our first child, my wife and I are lying in bed that Thursday night and Detroit wins the Cup. Lidstrom gets the Conn Smythe for playoff MVP (of course) and then Gary Bettman comes out and presents the cup to Steve Yzerman. Stevie Y hoists the cup over his head and plants a big kiss on it.
At that exact moment I turn to her (she was pretending not to watch the game) and pat her on the stomach and say, “OK, you can give birth now”. At 05:00 the next morning she wakes me up with, “Andrew, we’re going to have a baby”. More than half asleep I reply, “I know”. She replies with, “No. We’re going to have a baby TODAY. My water just broke”.
So we go and have a baby and at 17:17 weighing in at 7lbs 7oz our daughter Avery was born.
So fast forward a few years to the point where Avery is old enough to watch a hockey game for more than 5 seconds. I start recording the Stanley Cup presentation ceremony and the morning after they hand out The Cup each year I sit with Avery and watch the last few minutes of the game, the handshake line (because that’s just good sportsmanship), and the Conn Smythe and Stanley Cup presentations.
Tonight is June 13th and the Stanley Cup will be in the building when Vancouver meets Boston in Game 6. I’ll be watching it live, and recording the game just in case.
OK Vancouver, you can win The Cup now.