Lord Stanley stops by for a visit
MacIsaac inviting Cape Breton hockey fans to visit the Stanley Cup in Antigonish
Al MacIsaac is inviting any Cape Breton hockey fans to pay a visit to Antigonish in September to see the Stanley Cup up close and personal.
MacIsaac, an Antigonish native, is the vice- president of hockey operations with the 2015 Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. It’s the third time he’s brought hockey’s Holy Grail home. The Blackhawks have won the title 2010, 2013 and 2015.
“The cup doesn’t come to Nova Scotia that often and not only if you’re Blackhawks fan or a hockey fan or a Stanley Cup fan, it’s an opportunity to see the cup, get your picture taken with it and if I’m fortunate enough, I might get to meet some of these people,” he said.
The trophy will be available for public viewing on Sept. 3 from 2-5 p.m. at the Keating Millennium Centre in Antigonish. It will then move to Piper’s Pub from 7-11 p.m.
The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup on June 15 on home ice, defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0 to win the best- of- seven series in six games. It was the first time in 77 years that the Blackhawks had won the championship on home ice.
MacIsaac has been part of the Blackhawks organization for 15 seasons. It’s his fifth in his current position and had previously served as the senior director of hockey administration/assistant to the president.
MacIsaac has ties to Cape Breton himself. His mother, Murdo (Murray) is a Sydney native who moved to Antigonish after marrying Al’s father, Donald. Al fondly remembers spending time at his grandparent’s house on Upper Prince Street in Sydney and watching harness racing at Tartan Downs from their backyard.
During his playing days, MacIsaac, a defenceman, was a member of the Cape Breton Oilers Calder Cup championship squad in 1993. The St. Francis Xavier University graduate was a 12th-round pick of the Buffalo Sabres in 1987. Along with his Calder Cup win, he’s also won the Memorial Cup in 1986 and an East Coast Hockey League title in 1992 as a player.
“It’s been a great opportunity to meet a lot of people,” he said. “They’re hockey fans, Blackhawks fans and Stanley Cup fans, for that matter. It’s kind of neat. You can’t say it’ll happen again — you never know.”
MacIsaac said the team has 100 days with the trophy over the summer and spends time among the players, the coaching staff and the team’s ownership and executive.
MacIsaac isn’t the only former Cape Breton Oilers player to win the cup in June. Dennis Bonvie serves as a pro scout with the Blackhawks. The native of Frankville, N. S., played in Cape Breton from 1993-96. Norm MacIver of Thunder Bay, Ont., played defence for the Oilers from 1989- 91. He’s the Blackhawks assistant general manager.
Al MacIsaac of Antigonish is shown with the Stanley Cup following the Chicago Blackhawks win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on June 15 in Chicago. From left are his daughter, Madisson, wife, Dawn, MacIsaac and daughters Delaney and Emersyn.