Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 17
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During the spring of 2003, Anaheim netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere almost accomplished the unthinkable. Facing some of the finest hockey teams in the National Hockey League, J-S put together a playoff series so memorable that he was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable playoff performer, in spite of the fact that the New Jersey Devils ended up winning the Stanley Cup. But in 2007, Giguere and the Ducks were not to be denied, and on June 6, Anaheim defeated the Ottawa Senators 6-2 to collect the Stanley Cup that had eluded them four years prior.

But what should have been among the happiest periods in Giguere's life was briefly shadowed with doubt and concern. On April 4, just one week prior to the opening of the first round of the playoffs against the Minnesota Wild, Jean-Sebastien and his wife Kristen welcomed darling Maxime Olivier, their firstborn, into the world. Doctors noted some concerns with Baby Maxime's little right eye. Fearing that Maxime might be blind, the Ducks allowed J-S some time to tend to his wife and baby, and Ilya Bryzgalov started the last three regular season contests and the first three games of the playoff's first round.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere and his wife Kristen pose for a photo with their firstborn child Maxime Olivier seated in the bowl of the Stanley Cup.
(Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
A specialist reassured the young couple that although their son would not have vision in his right eye, the vision in his left eye was just fine. "It was a great relief," sighed J-S. "I think he'll be able to do whatever he sets his goal to do in life. He may have some challenges in front of him, but not even close to what it would be if both his eyes were bad."

Giguere was inserted back into the line-up for the Ducks, and after eliminating the Wild, coach Randy Carlyle handed each of the ensuing starting assignments to his veteran netminder. Giguere slammed the door shut on Vancouver, dumped the Detroit Red Wings, and then, of course, hoisted the Stanley Cup after defeating the Ottawa Senators. And through it all, you just know that Giguere had more than a few things circulating and percolating within his head.

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Giguere's dog Henri chows down on some dog food from the bowl of the Stanley Cup.
(Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
The Stanley Cup arrived in Blainville, Quebec at 1:00PM on Saturday, July 14. All of J-S's siblings (four brothers and sisters) live within minutes of each other in the city of 36,000 lying at the foot of the Laurentians, and about 50 kilometres northwest of Montreal.

Jean-Sebastien's first visit was to see his mother, who is being cared for in a nursing home in nearby Rosemere. Joined by close family, the stop with the Stanley Cup did much to brighten his mother's day.

While Jean-Sebastien made some last-minute arrangements for a celebration at his house, the Stanley Cup stopped in at the Boisbriand home of goaltending consultant, Francois Allaire. Considered by most to be the elite of his craft, Allaire has worked diligently with Ducks' goalies over the past twelve years, and Giguere credits much of his success to the guidance that Allaire has provided. Francois enjoyed a couple of hours entertaining friends in his backyard.

J-S Giguere arrives in style at La Cage Aux Sports with the Stanley Cup as ecstatic fans look on in amazement. (Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
J-S took possession of the Stanley Cup again at 5PM, hosting a party at his home. With the Campbell Bowl won by Anaheim as the best in the west also on the premises, friends and family laughed as Giguere's dog Henri gobbled his food from the bowl of the Cup. J-S laughed, "

Anybody want champagne now?" Not surprisingly, everyone still did! After a thorough scrub, the bowl was filled to the brim and toast after toast was made to the Stanley Cup champion.

A limousine was taking Jean-Sebastien with the Stanley Cup to La Cage Aux Sports, a massive sports bar, when J-S asked the driver to pull over. "J'ai besoin d'argent (I need money)," the goaltender chuckled. While standing at the banking machine, a couple of kids rode by on their bikes and almost got whiplash from the double-take they did. "Giguere! Giguere! Ou est la Coupe Stanley?" J-S brought the boys over and showed them hockey's championship trophy, their eyes almost popping out of their heads like Jim Carrey's did in 'The Mask.'

The Stanley Cup stayed with Jean-Sebastien at La Cage aux Sports for almost two-and-a-half hours, with Francois Allaire also joining the celebration. Donations made to get photos with the Cup amounted to $2,000, with the money donated in support of Alzheimer's research.

The Stanley Cup was then taken to the Moomba Supperclub, an incredible club in Laval. After a tour of the main floor, where hundreds snapped photos and got to touch the Cup, J-S was led to a private area upstairs, where the celebration continued until 2:30AM.

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Francois Beauchemin brought the Stanley Cup home for his son Samuel's first birthday on July 16th, 2007.
(Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
Sunday, July 15 dawned as Francois Beauchemin's day with the Stanley Cup. At 8:30 that morning, Francois, his wife Marie-Claude and their son Samuel posed for photographs with friends and family in the backyard of their St-Robert home. Little Samuel had reason to laugh — it was his birthday on July 16, and not many people of any age, let alone one-year-olds, get to have the Stanley Cup at their birthday party.

Just about 11 o'clock, Francois and Marie-Claude climbed into a helicopter with the Stanley Cup for the flight to nearby Sorel. Although the excursion took but ten minutes, Francois whooped as though on the world's greatest rollercoaster, waving to fans as the helicopter hovered over the park on the banks of the St. Lawrence.

Francois, Marie-Claude and the Stanley Cup were escorted to a convertible, as was former Canadiens' star Pierre Mondou. The two vehicles led a procession of golfcarts to a pavilion in Parc Regard-sur-la-Fleuve, where the great hockey trophy was displayed and speeches made. A moment of silence was observed for John Ferguson, a former Montreal Canadiens star, who had died the day before after a long battle with prostate cancer. Then, the group looked out: 4,000 fans were waiting to see the Stanley Cup. Autographed photos were distributed and pictures taken for the vast majority, then Francois carried the Cup out into the crowd so those remaining might get a chance to touch the Cup and snap one final photo.

J-S Giguere helps Beauchemin prepare for his performance of AC/DC's 'Back in Black with a few 'cups of courage.' (Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
The Beauchemins arrived back home at 4:00, where a party was starting to unfold. A Maple Leaf Farms trailer was parked out front serving chicken dogs and chicken burgers to guests while a band did the perfunctory soundcheck in the distance. Among the specials guests were Jean-Sebastien Giguere, former NHL star Guy Chouinard and Eric Messier, who won the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001.

After a couple of 'cups of courage,' Francois decided he wanted to join the band, and leapt up onto the stage to sing AC/DC's 'Back in Black.' He did well, and the revelers coaxed him into performing one more song, which turned out to be 'Sweet Child o' Mine' by Guns 'n' Roses.

A friend delighted everyone with a wonderful fireworks display, and the celebration continued late into the night. Donations generated throughout the day allowed the Beauchemins to collect $3500 for Sainte-Justine University Hospital, a wonderful Montreal-based facility aimed towards children and expectant mothers.

* * *

Retuning to his hometown of Blainville or 'Giguere-ville', J-S proudly hoists the Stanley Cup atop a fire truck. (Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
On Monday, July 16, Francois Beauchemin met Jean-Sebastien Giguere at Sainte-Justine Hospital, and the two Anaheim stars took the Stanley Cup around for the benefit of the youngsters staying there. After more than two hours, Francois then said goodbye while J-S grabbed a quick bite to eat.

A visit to the building in Blainville that houses both the police and fire stations allowed Jean-Sebastien's brother, a policeman, the chance to have his colleagues get a picture with the Stanley Cup. Then, a firetruck carried the goaltender and the Stanley Cup over to the Blainville Equestrian Club, where J-S and the gleaming silver trophy were situated in the middle of a circular track, with more than 3,000 fans looking on.

Mayor Francois Cantin welcomed Jean-Sebastien Giguere back home to Blainville, and gave him the key to the city. Earlier, when the Ducks won the Stanley Cup on June 6, Blainville had been re-named Giguere-ville for the day. A local artisan presented the Anaheim goalie with a carved duck and a plaque — dubbed 'a quack and a plaque' by onlookers.

Afterwards, Jean-Sebastien took the Stanley Cup over to the Ramada Hotel, where some friends and family had gathered for one last hurrah with the Stanley Cup. By 7:00 that evening, the Cup was packed and moving on to its next great adventure.

* * *

Friday, the Stanley Cup takes readers to Cornwall, Ontario with assistant coach Newell Brown, to Quincy, Massachusetts for a visit with Sean Skahan, the Ducks' strength and conditioning coach, then across to the other side of the United States for a day with assistant general manager David McNab in Yorba Linda, California. It's a lot of travel, but will be worth the visit!

Kevin Shea is one of the contributors to 'Travels With Stanley' by The Keepers of the Cup, a book of geography and history lessons taught through the travels of the Stanley Cup (Fenn Publishing).

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