Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 2010, 19

Brent Sopel and family about to enjoy some cereal from the bowl of the Stanley Cup
Brent Sopel and family about to enjoy some cereal from the bowl of the Stanley Cup. (Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Brent Sopel earned his day with the Stanley Cup on Sunday, the first day of August. It was a day that the veteran defenceman wondered would ever arrive. Through 11 NHL seasons, with two stops in Vancouver (where he started his career), a year on Long Island and a stint in Los Angeles before catching on with Chicago in 2007-8, Brent finally got to sip champagne from the most incredible vessel imaginable for hockey players — the Stanley Cup!

Brent was born in Calgary, Alberta but was raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. While many of his teammates took the Cup to their hometowns, Brent decided to enjoy his day in the Chicago area, where he now lives.

Brent Sopel and the Stanley Cup out for a drive through the streets of Hinsdale on his restored family tractor
Brent Sopel and the Stanley Cup out for a drive through the streets of Hinsdale on his restored family tractor. (Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
The breakfast table was all set and waiting for the Stanley Cup to arrive at the home Brent and his wife Kelly share in Hinsdale. The Sopels had had custom-made spoons made for their four kids, each spoon featuring the child's name and the Stanley Cup, and the kids christened them appropriately, digging into the cereal that had been poured into the bowl of the Stanley Cup.

Brent and Kelly were married ten years ago in an uber-casual style. The wedding took place after practice one day, and Brent asked teammate Harold Druken for a favour by witnessing the event, which took place in the couple's family room. Well, the Sopels decided to renew their vows, but this time, the Stanley Cup witnessed the heart-warming event!

Brent Sopel relaxing at home with the Stanley Cup
Brent Sopel relaxing at home with the Stanley Cup. (Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Those in the Hinsdale neighbourhood have no doubt seen Brent riding around the village on a tractor. He is profoundly proud of this curious mode of transportation. You see, it was the family's tractor and he had it restored to pristine condition. So, very proudly, Brent grabbed the Stanley Cup and rode through Hinsdale with it on his tractor.

For lunch, Brent, the family and some friends took the Stanley Cup to a very fun spot called New Yolk, New Yolk. Housed in a former movie theatre (the theatre balcony still exists above the dining room), there are fabulous orange couches against one wall, but the décor wasn't the reason for the visit. It was certainly the food! Giant portions of all-day breakfast fare (there are other options, but why deviate from what you do best?). The carrot cake French toast with cream cheese topping is to die for, and some were all over the red velvet pancakes, but it seemed like the biggest hit of the day was the chocolate-covered bacon. Mmmm, bacon…the candy of meats!

Brent Sopel and the Stanley Cup stop by a local hospital
Brent Sopel and the Stanley Cup stop by a local hospital. (Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Brent made a series of stops with the Stanley Cup, visiting Fuller's Hardware and a Starbucks before climbing back on his tractor and heading back to the house. After a bit of a rest, that evening, the Sopels had a party with some 400 attendees. Two pigs turned slowly on a spit, and catering was handled masterfully by Culinary Art Catering. The Stanley Cup had been hidden in the back, and Brent was able to make a grand entrance with the trophy hoisted above his head in victory.

The grand tour of the neighbourhood continued on Monday, with Brent stopping by Browning and Sons Fine Jewellers, the police and then, the fire station. They loved seeing the Stanley Cup, and were more than a little appreciative for the pies leftover from the previous evening's party. Sopel then visited the Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, posing for pictures with staff and patients.

Brent Sopel and the Stanley Cup spent some time at the Denis Savard Celebrity Golf Tournament
Brent Sopel and the Stanley Cup spent some time at the Denis Savard Celebrity Golf Tournament.
(Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
The Stanley Cup spent the afternoon rubbing shoulders with hockey alumni at the Denis Savard Celebrity Golf Tournament. Current Hawk Brian Campbell joined Chicago alumni including Tony Amonte, Eric Daze, Bobby Hull, Martin Lapointe, Steve Larmer and Darren Pang, assistant coach Mike Haviland and other NHL greats, including Bernie Federko.

Brent Sopel spent August 1 and 2 with the Stanley Cup as a Stanley Cup champion with the Blackhawks, but now, he too becomes a Chicago alumnus, as he will ply his trade with the Thrashers this fall after being traded to Atlanta with Dustin Byflugien, Ben Eager and Akim Aliu on June 23.

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We'll flip a page of the Stanley Cup Journal and find out what Coach Joel Quenneville did on his day with the Stanley Cup. See you back here on Tuesday!

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



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