Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 15
The Stanley Cup Journal

Peter Karmanos Jr. and his delightful wife Danialle pose with the Stanley Cup at their home, with Orchard Lake forming the background. (Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
Peter Karmanos Jr. is the embodiment of the local boy who made good. Except, in his case, change that superlative to great.

Born in Detroit, Michigan to a family recently emigrated from Greece, Peter didn't even speak English until he started school. But after graduating from Wayne State University, in 1973, Peter and two partners founded a software company they named Compuware. A love of sports and a desire to give back to the community prompted Karmanos to initiate the Detroit Compuware hockey organization in the late 1970's. The hockey association included levels from house league straight up to junior. In 1989, the Ontario Hockey League expanded outside Canadian borders for the first time when it welcomed the Detroit Compuware Ambassadors to the league. Since that time, the team has undergone several name changes, including the Detroit Junior Red Wings, the Detroit Whalers and the name by which they known today, the Plymouth Whalers.

In 1994, Peter purchased the NHL's Hartford Whalers, moving the franchise to Carolina for the 1997-98 season. That year, Karmanos was a recipient of the Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to hockey in the United States.

Today, besides continuing in his role as CEO of the Compuware Corporation, Peter Karmanos Jr. owns the Florida Everblades of the ECHL, the afore-mentioned Plymouth Whalers of the OHL and, of course, the Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes.

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'Ahoy, matey!' After one boater caught a glimpse of Peter Karmanos with the Stanley Cup, a bevy of boating beauties floated by to salute the Stanley Cup champion. (Walt Neubrand/HHOF)

On Sunday, July 23, it was time for Peter Karmanos to celebrate with the Stanley Cup. On a fabulous summer day, Peter took the Cup to his beautiful home in Orchard Lake, Michigan.

Arriving at noon, the Stanley Cup was driven up a long driveway that was decorated on either side with red and white balloons. Banners in Carolina colours hung from the balconies of the Karmanos' home. Caterers were still scurrying to complete their preparations, so Peter took the Stanley Cup out to the end of his massive dock. For an hour, he sat enjoying the company of the Stanley Cup under puffy clouds and brilliant blue skies. "It's nice to sit here and relax with the Cup," smiled Peter. "I haven't really had much time to enjoy it!"

Several boaters, noticing Lord Stanley's Cup, pulled up alongside the dock. The jungle drums clearly were beating and soon, what looked like an armada was floating in the calm waters of stunning Orchard Lake near the home of Peter Karmanos. "Congratulations to you and the 'Canes, Peter," shouted one of the many boaters, while others obligingly blew their horns in unison. The calm had been broken, but the enjoyment was certainly not diminished.

Not long afterwards, with food and decorations beautifully in place, guests began to arrive at the home of Peter and Danialle Karmanos. Nibbling on fresh-popped popcorn as well as crackerjack, guests filled their plates with ribs, hamburgers and hotdogs, salads and potatoes while toasting the Hurricanes' win. Each had photos taken with the Stanley Cup out on the end of the dock. A classy celebration from a classy team owner.

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Nick Karmanos, Peter's second son, enjoyed the Stanley Cup on Monday, July 24. The Cup was taken to his home, where in the morning, there was a kids' Stanley Cup party, and in the afternoon, a celebration for adults. That evening, Thomas Thewes, Peter's partner, took the Stanley Cup to Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and the Forest Lake Country Club.

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It was an early start to the day on July 26 when jock met jock. The Hurricanes' Chad LaRose took the Stanley Cup for an in-studio visit to the popular Dr. Don Show on Detroit's Country, 99.5, WYCD.
There is an interesting tie between Compuware and Chad LaRose. Chad is a product of the Detroit-area hockey system created by Peter Karmanos. Graduating through the ranks, LaRose moved through the Detroit-area system right through to the junior ranks, starring with the Plymouth Whalers, where in 2002-03, he lit up opposing goaltenders for 61 goals and 56 assists. Although undrafted, twice Chad was a late cut at Detroit Red Wings' camps. Ironically, he was signed by Hurricanes, reuniting him with the Compuware organization once again. And now, he too, was celebrating a Stanley Cup championship! "I didn't even make the team at the start of the season and here I am today with the Stanley Cup!"

Chad ended up playing 49 regular season contests with the Hurricanes during his rookie campaign, scoring a goal and 12 assists. He also played an integral role in the march to the Stanley Cup, and Carolina responded with a two-year contract just days after the Stanley Cup celebration. "I wasn't expecting a two-year, one-way deal," he smiled, adding, "This is the first year I'm going into the season secure in the NHL."

Chad LaRose's day with the Stanley Cup took place Wednesday, July 26, and he maximized his time in his hometown of Fraser, Michigan. At 7:30 that morning, a limousine picked up Chad, his father Grant and a couple of friends and took them to the on-air studio of Detroit's Country, 99.5 WYCD, where he guested with the Stanley Cup on the Dr. Don Show. "I got up the earliest I've gotten up all summer, which was 7 AM," Chad yawned. "I didn't sleep very well last night."

Although not a choir boy on the ice, once upon a time, Chad served as an altar boy at Our Lady Queen of All Saints in his hometown. Chad's pastor, the Reverend Ron Babich blessed both Chad
and the Stanley Cup.
They then visited Overhead Conveyor in Ferndale where Grant LaRose was able to proudly introduce his Stanley Cup champion son Chad to co-workers and allowed the gang to get photos with the trophy. The company proudly unfurled a Carolina Hurricanes flag just beneath the Stars and Stripes on their flagpole outside.

Chad took the Stanley Cup back to his hometown, and greeted guests at a community event in Fraser's Steffens Park. There, in a gazebo, LaRose met almost 200 fans, who excitedly took pictures of the historic hockey trophy.

Pastor Ron Babich was anxiously waiting on Chad's arrival with the Stanley Cup at his parish, Our Lady Queen of All Saints. As a lad, Chad had served as an altar boy at the church, and was pleased to have Pastor Babich bless both him and the Stanley Cup.

Back at his parents' home, Chad caught a quick nap while his Mom, Sandy, made last-minute preparations for the evening's party. In the yard, a large tent had been erected to house the 250 or so guests who would be celebrating with the LaRose family.

Shortly after most guests had arrived, the rain came down in buckets, forcing family and friends to retreat to the garage or huddle under the tent. But the dampness didn't put a damper on the celebration, as those invited continued to enjoy salads, fruit and pastries while taking pictures with the Stanley Cup. Chad's father surveyed the scene and could only shake his head and laugh. "Can you believe my punk kid has caused all this?"

Fraser's Steffen's Park was the site of a community opportunity to see local hero Chad LaRose on the day he earned with the Stanley Cup.
Two limousines then picked up Chad and some friends and took them to the Warfield Grille. For an hour-and-a-half, patrons were able to take pictures of the Stanley Cup at the local Fraser pub.

The final stop of the night was Cheli's Chili Bar & Restaurant, owned by Detroit's veteran defenseman Chris Chelios, twice a Stanley Cup champion himself. "That was a nice thing that he did for me," Chad mentioned, referring to Chelios allowing him to bring his Cup celebration to the downtown Detroit restaurant. "I grew up watching him here in Detroit." With a police escort, flashing lights and all, the limos with Chad, his family and friends as well as the Stanley Cup, made their way to Cheli's, just around the corner from Comerica Park. "Crank it," blurted LaRose as Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' came on the radio. Like a scene out of 'Wayne's World,' the gang bobbed their heads and reached for the falsetto notes of the classic rock song. "Scaramouche, scaramouche. Can you do the fandango! Thunderbolts and lightning, very very frightening…"

Once parked, Chad lugged the Stanley Cup up the stairs, where 250 friends waited on the guest(s) of honour. Teammate Aaron Ward stopped by to celebrate with Chad, too. Next season, they'll be opponents, as Aaron has since signed with the Rangers.

As the night wore on, about 30 guests retreated to the VIP lounge to sip from the Stanley Cup. At 4AM, Chad stretched to stay awake. "I think I'm done," he stated. Ten minutes later, he was back in the limousine, cradling Lord Stanley's mug. Back at his family's home, Chad bid everyone good night and trudged off to bed, still holding on to the Stanley Cup.

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Friday's Stanley Cup Journal takes us to Peterborough, Ontario and a day spent with Cory Stillman. Hope to have you visit us again then.

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The Stanley Cup Journal is written by Kevin Shea, the Editor of
Publications and On-Line Features at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
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