Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals 2004: 37
The Stanley Cup Journal

Darryl Sydor & Sons
Darryl Sydor proudly posed with his boys Parker, Braden and Dylan, along with the Stanley Cup.
As a kid, you dream about participating in a Stanley Cup celebration. Once NHLers have had an initial taste of such a victory, they want it again and again. Darryl Sydor had first tasted the exhilaration of a Stanley Cup victory with the Dallas Stars in 1999, and after joining the Tampa Bay Lightning from the Columbus Blue Jackets midway through the 2003-2004 season, he got the opportunity to taste Stanley Cup euphoria once again.

Sydor had been excited all summer, anticipating the time he'd get with the Stanley Cup. His allocation included two locations — Edmonton, Alberta on Wednesday, August 18 and Shuswap Lake near Kamloops, British Columbia on Saturday, August 21.

Lord Stanley's beautiful bowl arrived in Edmonton on the 18th, greeted by Darryl and his children, Parker, Braden and Dylan. The Sydors took the Cup to the home in which Darryl grew up and had photos taken there.

Darryl Sydor and Stanley Cup visit the hockey school at the Canadian Athletic Hockey Arena.
Sydor surprised aspiring NHLers attending hockey school at the Canadian Athletic Hockey Arena by taking the Stanley Cup out onto the ice for inspiration.

The Canadian Athletic Hockey Arena next played host to the Stanley Cup. Darryl Sydor had played there as a youngster, and his was one of several jerseys proudly displayed for patrons to see in a prominent stairwell. Sydor thrilled a group of students at a hockey school taking place there — he took the Stanley Cup out onto the ice to give the attendees a little added motivation. Upstairs, Darryl searched a wall containing teams that had played there through the years. "Nice lid," laughed a friend. Darryl realized that someone had found his photo from the mid-eighties before he did!

Darryl was joined by his Dad Bill and wife Sharlene for a few moments of peaceful contemplation at Holy Cross Cemetery, where his dear mother rests. How proud she would be of her son!

Darryl Sydor and Stanley Cup visit Morinville, Alberta
Darryl visited his wife Sharlene's family in Morinville, Alberta.
Sharlene's sister lives due north of the city of Edmonton in a town called Morinville, and the Sydors decided to take the Stanley Cup up there. Darryl had a photo taken with the Stanley Cup on a tractor.

The Stanley Cup was then taken to Darryl's father's home, where family drank champagne out of the heralded bowl. Over at the Wellington Hall, 250 were invited for yet another celebration, featuring a traditional Ukrainian feast — perogies and cabbage rolls as well as roast beef. A cousin made a video tribute to Darryl's career, and Sydor's mother was remembered by those in attendance. Later, an Edmonton cover band called Mustard Smile entertained the guests. Darryl had originally seen Mustard Smile when they played at Chris Dingman's wedding and was so impressed, he booked them for his event. In fact, by the end of this Stanley Cup Journal, you'll think that Mustard Smile is the house band of the Tampa Bay Lightning! Chris Dingman showed up at Darryl's party and actually sat in on drums with the band.

* * *

Chris Dingman and the Stanley Cup drumming with Mustard Smile
Chris Dingman proved to all those gathered at Wellington Hall that he is not only a big, tough winger, but a big, strong drummer, sitting in with local favourites Mustard Smile.
Chris Dingman loves the song "Sister Christian" by Night Ranger — you know, the one that has that infectious chorus that rocks out, "Motoring…" He and his pals don't know any other lyrics, but they certainly love the song and know that one line.

Dingman picked up the Cup on Thursday morning, ready to roll. A limo bus took Chris and the Cup to the Edmonton Country Club, where Dingman is a member. Sitting with a handful of buddies, each regaled the others with golf stories. Spontaneously, every so often they would break into the chorus of "Motoring…"

The Cup was then taken to Devlin's, a bar owned by one of Chris's friends. Then, they visited Hudson's Tap House, a great bar jam-packed with Canadiana flotsam and jetsam.

For all intents and purposes, Chris is a newlywed, having married Chelsea earlier this summer. Chris was only too happy to take the Stanley Cup to the home of his in-laws where a backyard party had been planned for family and friends.

The Dingmans later took the trophy to another private party, this time, at a bar called Suite 69. Chris had secured (surprise!) Mustard Smile to entertain his guests, and they did so admirably, performing songs like "Pretty Fly for a White Guy" by the Offspring, "New Orleans is Sinking" by The Tragically Hip and "Bust a Move" by Young MC. Every so often, first Chris, then his friends would belt out, "Motoring…" and the band would tease the hundred guests by playing the first few bars of the Night Ranger hit…then stop. The emcee introduced a Dingman Trivia contest. "Okay, how many regular season goals has Chris scored in his NHL career?" The answer, 15, won the contestant a Tampa Bay Lightning trucker hat. "How many NHL teams has Chris played for?" Another hat went to the person who shouted out, "Four!" Oddly, Chris's golf buddies ducked.

After about a dozen false starts, Chris and his pals got the second most requested thing in the bar that night — the band finally performed "Sister Christian." When the chorus came around, EVERYONE in the bar shouted at the top of their lungs, "MOTORING…!" Dingman smiled like the butcher's dog! Chris walked out of the bar a very happy man. The Stanley Cup and "Sister Christian" in the same night -- who could ask for anything more?

* * *

Darryl Sydor was so anxious to get the Stanley Cup as early as possible that he hired a pontooned plane to fly the trophy from Cranbrook to Shuswap Lake.
Darryl Sydor was so anxious to get the Stanley Cup as early as possible that he hired a pontooned plane to fly the trophy from Cranbrook to Shuswap Lake.
As you read in Monday's Stanley Cup Journal, Brad Lukowich enjoyed his day with the Cup on Friday, August 20, but the next day at noon, Darryl Sydor was scheduled to receive hockey's Holy Grail in order to take it to his summer home near Kamloops, British Columbia, where Sydor played his junior hockey with the local Blazers. Anxious to spend as much time as possible with the trophy, Darryl asked if it was available before noon. "Sorry, but that's as early as commercial flights can get the Stanley Cup to you," he was told. "Well, that's commercial flights. How about if I hire a private plane to bring the Cup here," he asked. "No reason why you couldn't get it sooner if you want to do that," the Tampa defenceman was told, so Darryl went into overdrive and found a pontoon plane that would not only fly the Stanley Cup to him, but would land right at the dock of his lakefront home on Shuswap Lake.

The plane took off from Cranbrook, leaving Brad Lukowich's grip, and skimmed the peaks of the mountains as it skirted over the Rockies on its 55-mile trip to Shuswap Lake. Darryl called several times to get an estimated time of arrival. "Where are you now," he'd laugh, grilling the pilot. Sydor makes every effort to have everything run smoothly at all times. He seemed to be very pleased to hear the pilot tell him, "Darryl, we're right over Shuswap Lake." "Excellent," Darryl replied. "We'll all be waiting. Man, this is worth the extra money it cost!"

The small plane landed on beautiful Shuswap Lake and glided right to Darryl's dock. "The Cup's here," he shouted, standing on the beach waiting for the plane's pontoons to come to a stop in front of his home. Darryl, his wife Sharlene and children, Parker, Braden and Dylan, had their photographs taken with the Stanley Cup right there on the beach.

Darryl Sydor posing with the friendly folks at Super Valu supermarket.
After cleaning up a shampoo spill in aisle 3, Sydor posed with the friendly folks at Super Valu supermarket. To their dismay, there was no bar code on the Cup.
The Sydors took the Stanley Cup to Scotch Creek Super Value, the local supermarket, and showed the butcher and the baker. (I guess the candlestick maker was off for the wick-end!). Afterwards, the Cup made its way to the Captain's Village Marina, then returned to the Sydors' cottage, where it was placed in a common area so that the neighbours could enjoy some time with the Stanley Cup.

Darryl and Sharlene hosted a party on Shuswap Lake. They had done the same thing in 1999 when Sydor and the Stars had captured the Cup. A platform was set up on the beach so the band could perform. Mustard Smile (surprise!) had been flown in specifically for Darryl's party. The food was outstanding — chicken kebobs, prime rib, seafood and fruit. Sydor was concerned that inclement weather would spoil his Stanley Cup party, but knew there was little he could do. While Mustard Smile rocked, Darryl's guests had a great time. Steve Passmore, who played with Chicago last season, was enjoying himself. He joined the Kamloops Blazers in 1992-93; a year after Sydor had graduated. Few celebrants were having as good a time as Tyson Nash, who had been Darryl's teammate with the Blazers in 1990-91 and '91-92. Nash played with Phoenix last year, but was wearing a Lightning t-shirt at the party. When teased, Tyson said, "Aww, c'mon you guys. I'm just playing the role for the day." Darryl laughed at his pal. "I think you posed for more photos with the Cup than I did!"

Inside the cottage, one of the guests looked up the weather prognosis on www.weathernetwork.ca. "Uh oh," he said. "There's rain all over the area and it's coming towards our party." With that and a flash of lightning, the rain began. Guests quickly set up tents while Darryl cleared the garage enough to house a few more party-goers. Then…the power went out. The best laid plans were put asunder; all because of rain and thunder.

Darryl and Sharlene felt their way through the cottage and scrounged enough candles so that guests could romantically eat by candlelight. "Damn! I wish I had gotten generators," sighed Sydor. But then, the power came back on. Curiously, the spirited party never lost a beat in spite of the power outage.

At 3:30 Sunday morning, Darryl finally wrapped up the festivities. "I'm beat," he admitted, while making plans for friends to drive the Stanley Cup to the airport.

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Tampa Scout Gerry O'Flaherty and Stanley Cup on Lion's Gate Bridge in Vancouver.
Scout Gerry O'Flaherty stopped for a photo opportunity with the majestic king of the jungle on Lion's Gate Bridge in Vancouver.
The Cup went to Vancouver as guest of honour at a party held by scout Gerry O'Flaherty on Sunday, August 22. O'Flaherty, himself a former NHLer, met the time-honoured treasure in a limo bus with wife Mary, children Marnie, Patrick and Daniel and his brother Mike. They stopped on the world-renowned Lion's Gate Bridge and got photographs of the Stanley Cup with the lions carved into the façade of the bridge.

O'Flaherty hosted a party for 150 family and friends, including former NHL netminder Charlie Hodge, who played with the Vancouver Canucks before Gerry arrived in 1972-73. Hodge brought his miniature Vezina Trophies, won in 1964 and 1966 while he tended goal with the Montreal Canadiens.

The Stanley Cup was checked in at Vancouver International Airport as it had been done hundreds of times before. Cup keeper Walt Neubrand was only too happy to show the Cup to the excited woman behind the counter. The cherished trophy was then taken to the oversized luggage area where it was loaded onto the plane that would take it to Fort St. John, the most northerly city in British Columbia. The Lightning's head scout, Jake Goertzen, was scheduled to receive the Stanley Cup next.

There was one problem…it didn't arrive!

It was chilly on Monday, August 23. Neubrand clambered off the flight, met Goertzen and together, waited for the big, blue case that cradles the Stanley Cup to arrive on the cart with all the luggage. Drizzle put a damper on the day, but no more than the realization that the Stanley Cup had not arrived in Fort St. John.

"Is that it? Are there any more bags coming off the plane," Walt inquired. "No sir. That's the extent of it today."

Gulp!

"Will you check again for me, please?" There was no Stanley Cup on the two-hour flight.

The Stanley Cup case that didn't make the flight from Vancouver to Fort St. John on August 23.
The mysterious Stanley Cup case that didn't make the flight from Vancouver to Fort St. John on August 23. No, Rod Serling was not on the flight...and neither was the Stanley Cup.
After much discussion, Walt and Jake discovered, to their horror, that the Stanley Cup had been removed from the flight so that it could adhere to weight restrictions. Handlers did not know what was in the large blue case, and arbitrarily removed the largest items on the flight so they could reduce the plane's weight.

The Stanley Cup was still sitting in Vancouver. One hundred guests of Goertzen were sitting in a hall, waiting for the Stanley Cup to arrive.

The Stanley Cup was carefully placed into the cargo hold of the next flight from Vancouver to Fort St. John, which arrived the next morning, Tuesday, August 24, at 9:40. A relieved Goertzen condensed his time with the trophy, taking the Cup to the Fort St. John Curling Club for two hours so that a thousand locals could experience the magic of the Stanley Cup. Players from the Fort St. John Huskies helped move the lines along efficiently, as Fort St. John witnessed the greatest disappearing act since Houdini, then marveled at the Cup's miraculous re-appearance.

Hey, the fun's not over yet! Meet us here Friday when Cory Sarich takes Lord Stanley's mug to Saskatoon.

Kevin Shea is Manager of Special Projects at the Hockey Hall of Fame. His latest book, 'Barilko - Without A Trace,' will be published October 2004 by H.B. Fenn & Sons.

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