Friday, August 19, 2011

Believe it! Stanley Cup is coming here

Coveted trophy will be in Ketchum Sunday and Monday


By JEFF CORDES
Express Staff Writer

The Stanley Cup is coming to the Ketchum and Sun Valley area Sunday, Aug. 21, as part of the Boston Bruins triumphant 100-day tour with the coveted trophy. Bruins assistant equipment manager Jim “Beets” Johnson has arranged for his “day” with the cup in his adopted hometown of Ketchum. Here, Johnson holds the Stanley Cup in the Bruins locker room, which he maintained in tip-top shape throughout this year’s NHL finals won by the Bruins over the Vancouver Canucks June 15.

Unscripted for the most part, the upcoming visit of the Stanley Cup trophy to Ketchum this weekend will include a public display at Ketchum Town Square from about 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 22.

The Stanley Cup, certainly the most democratic hunk of beer- and champagne-drenched silver in the world, is due to arrive at Hailey's Friedman Memorial Airport sometime Sunday afternoon.

It will likely spend some precious pub-crawl moments Sunday evening at Ketchum nightspots where the Sun Valley Suns men's hockey team has celebrated its weekend victories and bemoaned its losses over the course of 36 winters.

Glenn Hunter and John "Cub" Burke of The Suns Foundation Inc. have been involved in organizing local activities surrounding the first-ever visit of the National Hockey League's championship trophy to the Sun Valley area.

They are doing it on behalf of Boston Bruins assistant equipment manager Jim "Beets" Johnson. A native of Virginia, Minn., Johnson has arranged for his "day" with the Cup and is bringing it to his adopted hometown of Ketchum.

Hunter said, "Monday will be an organized public display at Ketchum Town Square where people can line up, bring their cameras and have photos taken with the Stanley Cup. The time period overlaps the lunch hour. We hope there will be good crowds to enjoy it."

Donations for local youth hockey will be accepted during the public display, Hunter said.

Besides the public viewing, few concrete plans have been made for the cup during its Ketchum stay, Hunter said, although he added that word-of-mouth news of the cup will spread quickly. One thing is certain: Beets Johnson is assured his "private time" with the cup, said Hunter.

Hunter said, "We hope to utilize as much time as we have with the cup in the best ways."

Speculation about taking the Stanley Cup up to Stanley, Idaho has been ruled out due to time constraints. But a stint atop Sun Valley's ski mountain, Baldy, has been discussed.

And why not give the cup some altitude? Last Sunday, Milan Lucic of the Bruins and his girlfriend hauled it atop of Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver, B.C. for a photo.

You can't underestimate the populist appeal of the Stanley Cup, oldest trophy competed for by professional athletic teams in North America. During its current journey, it is being chaperoned with white-gloved hands by sixth-grade teacher Walter Neubrand.

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The Stanley Cup is kept for a full year by the winning team in the National Hockey League's championship tournament—until the next league winner takes over. The cup's chalice, dating back to 1893, includes the names of all winning players, coaches, management and club staff.

It's a 36-inch-high, 35-pound silver and nickel alloy trophy. But it seems much larger.

Where has it been? Where hasn't it been? Babies and pets have been inside the chalice. Food has been eaten out of it. Solace has been taken from it.

On Thursday, Shane Hnidy of the Bruins brought the cup to Yellowhead Centre at Neepawa, Manitoba, Canada where it salved the wounds of a puck community stung by Monday's sudden death of Winnipeg Jets wing Rick Rypien.

The cup has rewarded the labors of those in the trenches. Wednesday, longtime Bruins scout Tom McVie displayed it at Vancouver (Wash.) Mountain View Ice Arena, and it spent time in Portland, Ore.

It made it's way West with Bruins president Cam Neely, who partied with big shots on Martha's Vineyard Aug. 10 and then flew with the trophy the next day to his hometown of Maple Ridge, British Columbia.

Hunter said he heard the cup has been in the hinterlands of British Columbia with two Edmonton "lads." They are John "Chief" Bucyk, 76, a Bruins Hockey Hall of Famer and the team's "director of road services," and Johnny Boychuk, 27, the 6-2, 225-pound defenseman suddenly so famous he was grand marshal of July's Edmonton Indy car parade.

Center Patrice Bergeron had the cup in Quebec Aug. 7, and defenseman Dennis Seidenberg drank from the cup at Caesar's in Atlantic City, N.J. Aug. 9.

It's been at Connecticut's Foxwoods Casino for a party. It posed on the front bumper of a fire engine at the Shrewsbury (Mass.) Fire Station—where it proudly wore a fireman's jacket with a fireman's hat sitting atop the chalice. And of course, it's been all the way to Europe.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara ate his favorite food, rice cakes, from the cup in Bratislava in his native Slovakia July 22. Chara handed it off to teammates Tomas Kaberle, who took it to Kladno in the Czech Republic, and David Krejci, to Sternbeck in the Czech state.

After its local visit ends with a flight out of Hailey Monday about 3 p.m., the Stanley Cup will travel to Salt Lake City and then to Detroit.

Adam McQuaid is supposed to have it at Cornwall on Prince Edward Island Aug. 28, and it's headed to Newfoundland. And then Conn Smythe Trophy winner Tim Thomas gets a big Labor Day weekend treat.

Thomas, the lunch-pail Bruins goalie, has been granted permission to have it for two whole days—the first day in his Michigan hometown, and the second day in Burlington, Vt. where he played college hockey for the University of Vermont.

And all of this is happening because the Boston Bruins had won their first Stanley Cup championship in 39 years with a 4-0 victory over the Vancouver Canucks June 15 in the seventh game of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, played at British Columbia, Canada.




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