Stan­ley pays us a visit

Its first stop was with Brad Richards' fam­ily and friends Mon­day night

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - Dave Stewart Dave Stewart is The Guardian’s city hall re­porter. He oc­ca­sion­ally fills in as The Guardian’s sports editor. While he’s solidly be­hind Brad Richards, he isa die-hard Toronto Maple Leafs fan.

Stan­ley was in the house Mon­day night.

Brad Richards shared the NHL’s most prized tro­phy with fam­ily and a few close friends at Northum­ber­land Arena in Mur­ray Har­bour and there was a no­tice­able dif­fer­ence from the fam­ily party he held 11 years ago af­ter Brad won the Stan­ley Cup with the Tampa Bay Light­ning. It was a lot qui­eter.

Lit­tle did I re­al­ize when I met my wife-to-be, Kim, in 1997 that I would get to hang out with the Stan­ley Cup, not once but twice. Kim is Brad’s first cousin. His mother and Kim’s mother are sis­ters.

Kim’s voice was shak­ing as she called me on my cell phone in 2004 to tell me Brad was fly­ing the en­tire fam­ily down to Tampa to wit­ness Game 7 against Cal­gary in per­son. What a night that was. Get­ting to walk into the Tampa dress­ing room af­ter the game, get­ting a few hours sleep be­fore I had to get up the next morn­ing to help The Guardian fill a spe­cial edi­tion.

Then came the cel­e­bra­tion at home.

Brad had the Cup for two days in 2004. He was also the Conn Smythe Tro­phy win­ner as play­off MVP. He was 24-years-old at the time. His whole ca­reer was ahead of him. Lit­tle did he know it would take 11 years and a dif­fer­ent team to get back there. The pri­vate Mur­ray Har­bour party back then was a lot of fun and stretched well into the night.

So much has changed. Mon­day night’s se­quel was a very tame af­fair. This time, Brad only has the Cup for about 24 hours. The sched­ule is tight, one of the rea­sons why, un­like 2004, there won’t be a chance for the public to see Stan­ley up close. There sim­ply isn’t time.

Brad wore his Black­hawks #91 as cousins, un­cles, aunts and friends posed with Brad and the Cup.

Most of the fam­ily mem­bers I flew to Tampa with in 2004 are now par­ents and don’t quite have the same energy they did 11 years ago. Brad’s fo­cus has changed, too. He’s hus­band to a sweet Aus­tralian woman the fam­ily af­fec­tion­ately calls ‘Chelle’, short for Rechelle. Their son, Luca, al­most 10 months old, al­ready looks ready for high­pres­sured games like his fa­ther. There wasn’t a peep out of him the whole night.

In all the con­ver­sa­tions I had with Brad’s fam­ily, ev­ery­one pointed to the same thing. This time, it wasn’t about par­ty­ing. He is older, so is ev­ery­one else.

Brad said this is the way he wanted this time, a nice quiet evening with the peo­ple clos­est to him. In the two-plus hours I was there, he spent the ma­jor­ity of time pos­ing for pic­tures.

Mur­ray River’s Bran­don Gormley was there. The Phoenix Coy­otes de­fence­man wasn’t go­ing any­where near the Cup, though. NHL play­ers are a su­per­sti­tious lot.

Walt Neubrand, one of four men peo­ple know as Keeper of the Cup, was never more than a few feet away, mak­ing sure the his­toric tro­phy wasn’t mis­treated. One of his many favourite sto­ries was re­call­ing how, when the NHL can­celled the 2004-05 sea­son due to a lock­out, he and the other Keep­ers took the Cup around to all the play­ers who had won in the 1950s, 60s and 70s who didn’t get a day with the Cup in those days.

Is­land hockey leg­end Forbie Kennedy told me years ago that the rea­son he thought a lot of Brad Richards was be­cause Brad was gen­uine, the real deal; there was no BS about him.

That trait was on full dis­play in Mur­ray Har­bour Mon­day night.


Mur­ray Har­bour’s Brad Richards hosted a party for fam­ily and close friends at Northum­ber­land Arena in Mur­ray Har­bour Mon­day night. Mem­bers of that fam­ily in­clude Guardian re­porter Dave Stewart and his two chil­dren, Cassie, left, and Tay­lor.

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