Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals 2004: 25
The Stanley Cup Journal

Brad Richards surveys beautiful Cahoon's Cove, holding the Stanley Cup while standing on the bow of the 'Brad and Paige.'
As the plane touched down at the Charlottetown Airport on Monday, August 2, there were a number of vehicles already waiting to see the arrival of the Stanley Cup; one of which belonged to 2004 Conn Smythe recipient, Brad Richards. Prince Edward Island is a close-knit community at the best of times, but being the current resident hero allows Brad a vast network of contacts that allow easy access to the seemingly impenetrable areas around places like municipal airports. Richards had a red Hummer waiting, which became the beast to the Stanley Cup's burden.

Brad pulled the Hummer into the Dynamic Fitness building where he regularly works out under the auspices of Eli McEachern. Ironically, Brad regularly works out with Grant Marshall, who was the first NHLer to bring the Stanley Cup home to Prince Edward Island.

Following that stop, Richards drove the Cup to the Fox Meadow Golf Club in Stratford, PEI, where photographs were taken at the tee-off area. Then it was over to Murray Harbour — the hometown of Brad, his mother DeLite, Dad Glen and sister Paige.

In Murray Harbour, the Stanley Cup was carefully lifted on to the family boat, the 'Brad & Paige.' Brad assisted his grandfather in hoisting the Cup into the air; the sign of the true champion. "I can't wait to get it to Cahoon's Cove," Brad blurted. "That's where I'd like to go first!" He explained that the water is a little warmer in the cove, and because it's sheltered, there is little wind so the water is calmer. "I like to relax and go swimming there," Richards explained.

A flotilla of boats owned by neighbours, friends and family anchored in a circle around the Richards' 'Brad & Paige' in beautiful Prince Edward Island. Moments later, the potluck lunch was being served.
The vessel made its way to Cahoon's Cove, about ten minutes away, followed by a convoy of other neighbouring boats and one carrying a 'Hockey Night in Canada' camera crew. The 'Brad & Paige' docked in the cove where it anchored for the better part of four hours. All the boats tied up in one area. Each of the families in the convoy had brought along something to contribute to a feast — seafood pastries, crab sandwiches, seafood dips. Brad placed a lobster in the bowl of Lord Stanley's Cup. The floating picnic carried on for some time before Brad called out, "Who wants to go for a ride on the Sea-Doo?" Richards took a number of people for rides. Almost apologetically, he asked, "Is there any way I could take the Stanley Cup out for a ride?" He was assured that if the Cup was tied into a life jacket and help on his lap, and if he didn't drive recklessly that the Stanley Cup could go for a short ride. "Yeahhhh!" Brad shouted, as he wrapped the orange life preserver around Lord Stanley's legacy. Brad made a circuit around the convoy circle, as people shouted and hooted while taking photos.

Crustaceans in the Cup -- to Brad Richards, there are few things put into the bowl of Lord Stanley's Mug that could be more delightful!
Brad then took the Stanley Cup to each of the boats in the cove while others carried the Conn Smythe and Lady Byng Trophies — the merit trophies Brad won for being the most valuable player in the 2004 playoffs and for being the 2003-04 most gentlemanly player respectively. Each of the floating vessels got a number of photos of the young champion. "Hey, anybody for some swimming?" Brad left the trophies with his Dad and Mom and dove into the cove. Others followed suit as they splashed and laughed; enjoying a beautiful day.

Late in the afternoon, the Richards' returned home to get ready for their private party. On the way, they stopped at Brehaut's Restaurant in downtown Murray Harbour (which is a bit of a misnomer, as the town isn't all that big) and got an ice cream. They met some tourists from Mexico. In spite of Mexico not being particularly noted for being a hockey hotbed, the tourists certainly knew the Stanley Cup, and couldn't believe that they were in quiet little Murray Harbour on vacation, and ran into the trophy and one of its champions!

Wearing a life jacket, the Stanley Cup rode around Cahoon's Cove on a Sea-Doo with the Lightning's Brad Richards.
Brad stopped at his Grandpa Percy's home. A lifelong fisherman, Grandpa Percy was ecstatic to get his photo taken with his strapping grandson and the trophy he helped his team earn. There is a pond in his backyard where Brad learned to skate at the age of three. In fact, Glen Richards learned to skate on that same pond.

After tidying up at his parents' home, Brad and the family drove with the Stanley Cup over to Northumberland Arena where Brad played his minor hockey. Two hundred guests congregated there, and exploded in wild applause when the Richards' arrived with the Stanley Cup. A local band was playing cover songs on the stage, and it wasn't too long before Brad's mother got up to sing with them. Brad couldn't leave well enough alone, and got up to sing, too. "My only regret," he said, laughing uproariously, "is that I don't enough of the words to the songs!" The band kicked into a Guns and Roses song and Brad stumbled along: 'Take me down to the Paradise City where the la la la and the girls are pretty. Oh won't you please la la la....' While on stage, Brad filled the bowl of the Cup with champagne, then spun, spraying the nectar of champions into the crowd. "Who's the best singer, me or Marty St. Louis," Brad asked. "Brad, stick to playing hockey," came the reply, to which everyone howled in laughter.

Few could be more proud of Brad than his Grandpa Percy, who taught his grandson how to skate on a pond in his Murray Harbour backyard.
Brad took the Cup back to his parents' home along with several of the celebrants. They participated in drinking games for a while. "OK, which team can drink the contents from the Cup the fastest," Brad asked. Each team took its turn. Team Brad finished dead last. "Ahh, come on. My teammates bailed on me," he whined. "They were blowing bubbles instead of drinking!" The party wound down at 4:30 that morning. "Man, Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky have hoisted the Stanley Cup and now I have hoisted it too. Sweet!" Many of the revelers camped out in the Richards' backyard.

The next morning, Brad opened the Charlottetown Guardian only to find a photograph of him and his grandfather on the front page. His grandfather was so proud, and asked anyone within earshot, "Did you see me in the paper?" Bacon and eggs were served without the guest of honour who was slow to make his way down for breakfast, although he was ready in plenty of time for the parade in his honour. The parade route went from near his parents' home to the recreation area of Murray Harbour, about three kilometers away. "What happens if nobody comes," Brad asked fretfully. "Don't worry, you won't be embarrassed," he was assured. He certainly wasn't. Murray Harbour is a community of 356 citizens. Twelve thousand shoehorned themselves along the parade route. Paige said, "There has never been a traffic jam like this in the history of this town!" Celebrants bussed in from all over the province and beyond, many wearing Brad Richards commemorative t-shirts. A banner across the main street announced proudly that Murray Harbour was celebrating the return of their conquering hero — Brad Richards! Every hydro pole had a banner with a lightning bolt and Brad's familiar Number 19.

Brad rocks out with a local band at the Northumberland Arena in Murray Harbour. Was he covering Chi Coltrane's 'Thunder and Lightning'? Lou Christie's 'Lightning Strikes'? 'Ride the Lightning' by Metallica?
The parade consisted of vehicles and bands. Brad was poised atop a float with a boat secured on a flatbed trailer, carrying Brad, the Stanley Cup, the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Lady Byng Trophy.

Premier Pat Binns declared Tuesday, August 3 'Brad Richards Day' in Prince Edward Island, and dutifully, Brad made a passionate speech about all those who helped him along the way to Tampa Bay.

The police escorted Brad and his family back to their home. Brad then drove the Stanley Cup to Charlottetown, where he visited the Sportsmen's Club, St. James Gate and Peake's Quay — all fine establishments in the PEI capital. Brad owns a home in the city, too, and the Cup made a visit there. The gang ordered Chinese food and watched news reports of Brad Richards' special day. Afterwards, Brad, his sister and their Mom and Dad drove the Stanley Cup to the airport, where it was to head off to Halifax.

We'll meet you back here on Wednesday so we can find out how Jassen Cullimore spent his day with the Stanley Cup, right here in Stanley Cup Journal.

Kevin Shea is Manager of Special Projects and Publishing at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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