[The Chronicles of Stanley is an occasional series this summer that tracks the Pittsburgh Penguins as they each get their special alone time with the Stanley Cup.]
“OK, which one of you took the Stanley Cup? Seriously, I need that back.” – Matt Cullen pic.twitter.com/1K3ZyGZ8pS
— Chris Murphy (@SeeMurphsTweets) August 3, 2016
Back in 2006, Matt Cullen was expecting his first child and had just won his first Stanley Cup as a member of the Carolina Hurricanes. He celebrated the victory by taking the Cup home to Moorhead, Minesota.
A decade later, he returned to Moorhead with Lord Stanley’s chalice and three little people in tow; son Brooks, 9; Wyatt, 7; and Joey, 6.
The entire family was there when the Stanley Cup arrived at the airport in Fargo, N.D. on Friday. They drank root beer and Kool-Aid from it while riding in the back of a limousine during the hour-long drive to a private party in Detroit Lakes, Minn.
After waking up Saturday morning, the Cullens took the Stanley Cup down to the dock and ate Lucky Charms from the bowl for breakfast.
“I can’t even put into words how awesome it’s been to be able to go through this whole experience with the boys,” Matt said. “They make it so much more fun for me, their excitement. Just watching them live and die with every game we played in the playoffs and then to see their faces when they’re eating Lucky Charms out of the Cup and drinking root beer out of it, I feel pretty lucky as a dad to be able to do that with my boys.”
— Philip Pritchard (@keeperofthecup) July 30, 2016
A day after celebrating with his family, Cullen held a special showing of The Cup with beneficiaries of his Cully’s Kids charity. An organization that provides “… financial resources to organizations that support children’s healthcare needs, with an emphasis on cancer.”
In an interview with the West Fargo Pioneer, one of Cully’s Kids, 14-year-old Jack Gellner, reminded everyone of the pure joy that comes with experiencing the Stanley Cup for the first time as a fan.
“I actually got to touch it,” said the 14-year-old from West Fargo. “I’m not washing this hand off like until I show my cousins, this hand.”
Cullen took to the city of Moorhead to celebrate with the locals. Thousands gathered to wait in the long line to meet their hometown hero.
The Cup had a reunion of sorts with a long distance family member in nearby West Fargo, North Dakota.
Lord Stanley’s Cup meet the Stanley car.
Form the Associated Press:
A West Fargo antique car museum is tuning up a 1936 Rolls-Royce that belonged to Edward Stanley, himself a hockey player and son of the man who founded the trophy that goes to the NHL champion.
His father, Frederick Stanley, was the Governor General of Canada and became interested in hockey because Edward and his siblings played the game.
The car has been at the Bonanzaville museum since the early 1970s, when Marv Koeplin loaned it to the museum. Koeplin died in 2002. His daughter, Mary Dickinson, said her father had an “extreme interest in education” and would have loved having it as part of the Stanley Cup event.
“My goodness, it is just a wonderful connection with the Stanley family,” Dickinson said. “I’m very happy that a piece of history, a historical artifact, can rise again like the Phoenix to go next to the Stanley Cup.”
Could there be a more perfect metaphor for 39-year-old Matt Cullen and his resurgence with the Penguins? ‘RISE LIKE THE PHOENIX,’ INDEED!
— Jim Colony (@JColony13) July 31, 2016
The always quotable Ben Lovejoy began his time with the Cup with a shindig featuring “250 of his closest friends” back home in his native New Hampshire.
— Jim Colony (@JColony13) August 1, 2016
He followed up the party by celebrating his victory with the community that shaped him into the form he is today.
“As soon as we won, I reached out … and said I would love to have an event where I could show off the Stanley Cup to the people of New Hampshire,” Lovejoy told WMUR-TV. “It would have been the coolest thing in my life, when I was an 8-year-old, to have the Stanley Cup come to my home state to my hometown.”
Lovejoy took the Cup around to visit some of his former stomping grounds.
First up, Cardigan Mountain School:
The biggest community celebration came at Thompson Arena, home rink of Dartmouth’s hockey team.
— Dartmouth (@dartmouth) August 1, 2016
After spending the beginning of his collegiate career at Boston College, the defenseman transferred to Dartmouth. It’s there he credits coach Bob Gaudet with correcting the course of his career that led to him being a champion.
Lovejoy sat for a press conference and gave some of his best quotes of the day.
One of our favorites is about the night he won the Stanley Cup: “I vividly remember everything, it’s just… The best day on my life. I got married, I’ve had two kids, and this was better! (laughs).”
Mike Sullivan is not a coach that requires a lot of attention. In fact, he seems to shy away from it, always putting others ahead of himself.
Instead he prefers to share the fruits of his labor with everyone that has helped him achieve his goals, and wants to provide inspiration to those who hope to achieve theirs. This desire showed when it came to spending time with the Stanley Cup.
“We wanted to share it with as many people as we can that have had an influence in our life, but also the next generation coming up,” Sullivan said during the first stop, at Boston College High School, during a jam-packed itinerary Wednesday that also included stops at Boston University and Marshfield Country Club before a private gathering at the Sullivan home. “I think [the Stanley Cup] is a great inspiration.”
Like Lovejoy, Sullivan went back to school; starting with his alma mater, Boston College High.
He took pictures, signed autographs, and even stepped away to deliver a private message to current BC High players, coaching staff and front office.
Not everyone was thrilled with Lord Stanley’s visit, though. Just as little Maddox who didn’t appreciate being set in the hallowed throne of the Cup.
— Mark Garfinkel (@pictureboston) August 3, 2016
One of the memorable figures of Showtime’s “All Access: Quest for the Cup” was Sullivan’s dad, George. He was on hand as his son returned to Boston University where he played collegiate hockey for four years.
— Boston University (@BU_Tweets) August 6, 2016
According to Roarke, the elder Sullivan’s black t-shirt has “… the name “Sullivan” on it and a tagline that reads “Make Pittsburgh great again.”
(Mission accomplished, hockey wise.)
Mike Sullivan counts his father as one of the reasons he’s successful. To George Sullivan, Mike had it in him all along. It was just time for the rest of the world to catch on.
“It’s a dream come true — unbelievable,” George Sullivan said. “I still keep pinching myself to make sure it’s real. I’ve been his biggest fan all his life and I couldn’t understand how he wasn’t a head coach someplace. Finally, it worked out for him. He’s a hard-working kid. He got what he deserved.”
— Shawn Roarke (@sroarke_nhl) August 3, 2016
Before the doors opened to let in the masses waiting to see the Cup, George Sullivan lined up with his son for one more picture and one simple message: “Let’s bring it back next year.”