Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 2010, 09

Jordan Hendry brought the Stanley Cup to his hometown of Nokomis, SK.
Jordan Hendry brought the Stanley Cup to his hometown of Nokomis, SK. (Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)
The Blackhawks picked up Jordan Hendry as a free agent during the summer of '06, and he turned into quite a find. The Nokomis, Saskatchewan native moved to Alaska in 2002 to play hockey for the University of Alaska-Fairbanks of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA). The strong skater went undrafted but established himself as a strong defensive defenceman, and Jordan turned pro with the Norfolk Admirals, the American Hockey League affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks, in 2005-06.

Hendry impressed the big club, and he joined Chicago for half of the 2007-08 season, part of 2008-09 and much of this past Stanley Cup season. In fact, he played in 15 playoff games, including three in the final. Although he wasn't dressed for the clinching contest, he was on the ice in full uniform when the Cup was presented by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to captain Jonathan Toews.

"It was kind of a unique situation," Jordan told The Regina Leader-Post. "Me and Colin Fraser and Bryan Bickell were all on the roster throughout the playoffs. We all got dressed (in our gear) in the third period. (When Patrick Kane scored the Cup-winning goal in overtime), we just ran from the locker room right onto the ice and threw our gloves off. It was definitely the best feeling of my life so far."

Jordan Hendry and his girlfriend pose for a photo with the Stanley Cup on Lost Mountain Lake in Saskatchewan.
Jordan Hendry and his girlfriend pose for a photo with the Stanley Cup on Lost Mountain Lake in Saskatchewan. (Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)
The 26-year-old Hendry had dreamed of the scenario through his entire life. "As kids, you play street hockey with your buddies and you always play for the Stanley Cup. It feels very surreal to bring the actual Stanley Cup back and share it with everyone. It's one of those things that I always dreamed of doing!"

Ironically, for a town of just 436 residents, Jordan is not the first Stanley Cup winner to come from Nokomis. Elmer Lach, an Honoured Member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, was a three-time Stanley Cup champion with the Montreal Canadiens, and is their oldest alumnus.

The Stanley Cup had left Coach Quenneville and the Canada Day parade in Windsor and was flown across Canada, arriving at its destination in Nokomis in the early evening of July 1. Jordan was there to greet his prize, joined by his mother, Lois, and his father, Ron. There was a party planned over at the Nokomis Recreation Centre, and more than a thousand people greeted Hendry and the Cup (astonishing given that the town's population is less than half of that number!).

Fans stood in line to meet Jordan, get autographs and a picture with the Stanley Cup, with donations accepted for the arena fund and the minor hockey program. The Stanley Cup left at midnight, but the party carried on until 6:00AM Friday morning!

Jordan Hendry sharing a moment with the Stanley Cup at his lake house along Lost Mountain Lake.
Jordan Hendry sharing a moment with the Stanley Cup at his lake house along Lost Mountain Lake.
(Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Jordan started the day Friday, July 2 with a visit to the Nokomis Health Centre, a retirement home, where residents were thrilled to see the actual Stanley Cup and recounted tales of championships past. A quick stop at a friend's convenience store preceded a visit to Hendry's Western Service Station, owned by Jordan's Dad that sells and services Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles. Talk about added value - one guy bought a car and walked away with a photo with the Stanley Cup!

After leaving the shop, Jordan stopped and had his picture taken under the massive banner that spanned the street and read: CONGRATULATIONS JORDAN HENDRY. He then went out to the town limits and had his picture taken with the Stanley Cup and the WELCOME TO NOKOMIS sign.

The Cup was driven to the Hendrys' lake house on massive Lost Mountain Lake. While the party was beginning, a tornado touched down some 6 miles (10 kms) away, but the lake caught just the outer edge of the storm. Joined by family and friends, Jordan kicked back and enjoyed relaxing with the big prize. He took several of the partiers out on a pontoon boat with the Cup. When they returned and dusk had settled in nicely, a bonfire was created and hotdogs and hamburgers barbecued.

At 11:30, Hendry decided to stage an impromptu parade at the lake. He placed the Stanley Cup in his truck and drove around to other lake houses. Neighbours waved and cheered to celebrate Jordan's victory.

"I feel very grateful for getting the chance to win the Stanley Cup so early in my career." Hendry said. "Some guys play their whole careers and never even get close to it."

Jordan Hendry filling up the Stanley Cup with a few cold beverages.
Jordan Hendry filling up the Stanley Cup with a few cold beverages. (Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)

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Kris Versteeg proudly hoisting the Stanley Cup in front of the welcome sign to hometown of Lethbridge, AB.
Kris Versteeg proudly hoisting the Stanley Cup in front of the welcome sign to hometown of Lethbridge, AB.
(Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)
There were moments during the days leading up to his time with the Stanley Cup that were melancholy for Kris Versteeg. Here he was, having earned a day with the Stanley Cup for his role with the Chicago Blackhawks. Yet, three weeks after the on-ice celebration, Kris was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs along with Bill Sweatt for Chris DiDomenico, Philippe Paradis and Viktor Stalberg. Excited about the trade, nonetheless, Versteeg had to realize that he would forever be bonded with the 2009-10 Hawks, but when he skates out to start a new season, he will not be part of the defending Stanley Cup champs.

Kris Versteeg was originally drafted by the Boston Bruins, going 134th overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, but before he played a game with the Bruins, he was traded with a draft pick for Brandon Bochenski in February 2007. Versteeg made his NHL debut with the Hawks on November 22, 2007, but joined Chicago full-time in 2008-09 and went on to be a finalist for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's rookie of the year. A reliable winger, the Lethbridge, Alberta native scored back-to-back 20-goal seasons before the trade to Toronto.

Kris Versteeg along with friends enjoying a street hockey game while the Stanley Cup looks on.
Kris Versteeg along with friends enjoying a street hockey game while the Stanley Cup looks on.
(Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)
A friend with a Cessna was hired to fly the Stanley Cup into Lethbridge, Alberta on Saturday, July 3. The plane landed at 12 noon, and there to greet the Cup was Kris Versteeg. He took the beautiful trophy home, where family photos were taken with his mother (Marilyn), Dad (Roy) and brothers Bryce and Mitch (a member of the ECHL's Kalamazoo Wings).

The Cup was taken to Murray Chevrolet Cadillac, and Kris signed autographs and posed for pictures, with donations targeted to the Lethbridge Minor Hockey Association and KidSport, which provides support to children in order to remove financial barriers that prevent them from playing organized sports.

So many fans showed up that in spite of the fact Kris stayed for three hours, there were still more waiting to see him and the Stanley Cup, so Kris carried the Cup through the crowd so that pictures could be taken and some fortunate enough to be standing close to Kris could reach out and touch Lord Stanley's legacy. One of those Kris was thrilled to encounter was his Grade 3 teacher, who dutifully waited in line to congratulate Kris.

Kris Versteeg and friends pose for a photo with the Stanley Cup following their street hockey game.
Kris Versteeg and friends pose for a photo with the Stanley Cup following their street hockey game. (Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Back at the house, 150 family members and friends noshed on potato salad, pasta and pork sandwiches pulled from a pig on a spit. Kris returned with the Cup and at one point, he stood in the midst of a circle of friends and family with the Stanley Cup, paying tribute to the wonderful people that assisted him in achieving his goal. Liberal toasts of Dom Perignon accompanied Versteeg's warm words.

That evening at 10:00, the Stanley Cup was loaded onto a party bus and driven to Boss Hogg's Country Saloon, where revellers celebrated, dancing and singing away through the night. It had been a long day, and Kris packed it in at 2:00AM, first scrubbing the Cup thoroughly and then taking it to bed with him.

In the morning on Sunday, July 4, Kris took the Stanley Cup over to Orion Sports & Training Centre, where he works out during the summer. Pictures were taken with people at the club.

On July 20, the Versteeg family home, where Kris grew up, is being sold, so for the sake of nostalgia, he took the Cup to Larkspur Road for one last visit, accompanied by the trophy he dreamed about all those years as a kid. After a trip up to his old bedroom, Kris's buddies started arriving, ready for one final road hockey game in front of the Versteeg home, as they had done hundreds of times as youngsters. They used just one net, and played three-on-three with a goalie. What differed on July 4 from all the previous times is that this time, both sides of the street were lined with spectators, numbering about 200, and the media showed up to cover the game. Former NHL Vic Stasiuk, a Lethbridge native, also showed up to watch the road hockey game. Sadly, Kris's team lost the contest.

Relaxing at his grand parents home, Kris Versteeg taking a moment to look at the names engraved on the Stanley Cup from previous years.
Relaxing at his grand parents home, Kris Versteeg taking a moment to look at the names engraved on the Stanley Cup from previous years. (Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)
After the game concluded, Kris and his Cup drove to the edge of town and got their pictures taken with the Lethbridge sign. Then, it was over to the Henderson Ice Centre where he played the first hockey games of his successful career. A single worker was there and turned on the lights in the rink for Versteeg, who posed for pictures at centre ice, one the home team's bench and in the penalty box. "It seemed appropriate," he shrugged with a smile. "I spent a lot of time in there back in those days!" They left one arena and visited another, this time, the ENMAX Centre where Versteeg spent three seasons playing junior with the hometown Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League. Great memories dating back to the 2002-03 season when he first pulled on the jersey were relived when Kris sat in his old locker stall, this time with the Stanley Cup.

At his grandparents' house, Kris and some family friends enjoyed pizza and salad, and then he returned to his house for the night.

On Monday morning, before the Stanley Cup had to leave for its next adventure, Kris wanted one final photograph. This one was at Winston Churchill High School, his old school. Good times!

Kris Versteeg poses for a photo in front of a framed autographed jersey with the Stanley Cup at Boss Hogg's in Lethbridge, AB.
Kris Versteeg poses for a photo in front of a framed autographed jersey with the Stanley Cup at Boss Hogg's in Lethbridge, AB. (Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)

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On Tuesday, set your dials for excitement as the Stanley Cup Journal takes you to Orono, Ontario for a day with Bryan Bickell and to Nobleton, Ontario for Nick Boynton's celebration. See you then!

Kevin Shea is the Editor of Publications and Online Features for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

All Photographs are property of the Hockey Hall of Fame or Getty Images and may not be reproduced without prior written consent. For more information regarding use of our photographs please contact us.
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