Stanley pays us a visit
Its first stop was with Brad Richards' family and friends Monday night
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.