Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 01
The Stanley Cup Journal

As the Stanley Cup was carried gingerly off the VIA Rail train in Windsor, it was greeted by an antique fire engine and the Windsor Wildcats girls' hockey team. (Connie Atkinson)
The Stanley Cup is most often associated with celebration but there are times when hockey's most cherished trophy shows its incredible healing powers, too.

On Saturday, May 14, the VIA train pulled into the station in Windsor, Ontario. Quite a crowd had gathered — more than usual for the sleepy station on a Saturday morning. Stepping down from the train, a representative of the Hockey Hall of Fame, dressed in blazer and white gloves, proudly carried the Stanley Cup from the train, through a cheering crowd, to a waiting antique fire engine. The firetruck was already occupied — the Windsor Wildcats Intermediate BB hockey team was already seated on the gleaming red fire truck, waiting to be joined by the gleaming silver Stanley Cup.

Late in the afternoon of January 29, 2005, while returning from a hockey tournament in Rochester, New York, the bus in which the girls' team was traveling was involved in a tragic accident.


For several weeks, Windsor had anticipated the
Stanley Cup's arrival, and these fans got the chance to
visit the historic trophy up close and personal.
(Connie Atkinson)
The team's coach, Rick Edwards, was killed as were his son Brian and Cathy Roach, the mother of goaltender Erin Roach. Many of the Wildcat players were injured, several seriously, and although all have been discharged from the hospital for some time, the extended hospital stays in Rochester required by some team members were not entirely covered by insurance.

The firetruck, complete with Wildcats and the Stanley Cup, blared its siren as it left the VIA Rail station, and while it circled the block, was eagerly followed by a parade of minor hockey players from the Windsor area. When the firetruck arrived at Hiram Walker & Son's Canadian Club Brand Heritage Centre, the passengers carefully climbed down and, greeted by enthusiastic applause, followed the Stanley Cup into a spacious and beautiful courtyard facing the Detroit River and the stunning skyline of Detroit, Windsor's neighbour to the north.

The Stanley Cup was positioned beside an ornate fountain, with the busy river and Detroit's downtown as a backdrop. A long line of hockey fans snaked through the courtyard, anxiously waiting their turn for a photograph with hockey's most amazing trophy.


After facing the challenge of a tragic bus accident, the Wildcats drew great strength from the community, hockey fans across North America and the visit of the Stanley Cup. They were presented with the first of two cheques derived from the Cup's trip to Windsor.
(Connie Atkinson)
The Wildcat girls and their families took their turns first, each hugging the Stanley Cup enthusiastically. Then, sometimes singularly and often in groups of four or five, Windsor residents showed their love of hockey and their support for the Windsor Wildcats.

Rain, if you'll excuse the pun, put a temporary damper on the festivities, but once the Stanley Cup was moved inside, no one seemed to care. While in the line-up waiting their turn, hotdogs and soda were consumed and hockey stories were exchanged. Former NHL star John Ferguson, who at one time ran Windsor Raceway, signed autographs beside NHLers from the Windsor area, including Darren Banks, Ernie Godden, Steve Moore, Marc Reaume, Pat Riggin, D.J. Smith and Tom Williams.

From noon until 6:00PM, the Stanley Cup had its picture taken beside more than 3,000 fans. The day with the Stanley Cup helped raise more than $8,000 for the Windsor Wildcats, and although the girls experienced tragedy, they soldiered on and were back on the ice within a month to complete their season. Even though it was a winless season for the team, there was no disappointment as evidenced by the broad smiles etched onto the faces of the team as coach Jason Mailloux, nephew of the late coach Rick Edwards, accepted a cheque from the Hiram Walker staff.

Although better than 3,000 people visited the
Stanley Cup in Windsor on May 14, few were as
excited as this young fan who donned a
homemade haberdashery. (Connie Atkinson)
"On behalf of the Windsor Wildcats Intermediate BB team and the entire Sun Parlour Female Hockey Association, I would like to say thank you to the hundreds of people who supported the team with this fundraising event," stated Mike Freeman, the president of the league in which the Wildcats play. "I am certain each participant enjoyed having their photograph taken alongside the most famous trophy in all of major league sports. The funds generated will be used to cover expenses incurred by the players and their families as they continue down the road to recovery from the January bus crash."

Even from the darkest clouds comes a silver lining. A sterling silver lining.

Courage.

On Thursday, the Stanley Cup visits its siblings — the Allan and Memorial Cups.



Kevin Shea is the Manager of Publishing and Editorial Services with the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Spirit Of Hockey, shop online now!
NHL Team Fan Days
Find out about renting the facilities at the Hockey Hall of Fame
Donate your hockey artifacts to the Hockey Hall of Fame
The Weston Harbour Castle Toronto