Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 2011, 10

Bruins assistant coach Geoff Ward brought the Stanley Cup to Butter Brook Golf Club in Westford, MA
Bruins assistant coach Geoff Ward brought the Stanley Cup to Butter Brook Golf Club in Westford, MA.
(Howie Borrow/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Assistant coach Geoff Ward has had a long, successful professional affiliation with Bruins' bench boss, Claude Julien. Ward was assistant coach to Julien with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League beginning in 2001. When Claude joined the NHL's Montreal Canadiens, Geoff took over the reins of the club and led them to the AHL's Calder Cup final. The tandem of Ward/Julien shared AHL coach of the year honours that season.

Geoff Ward was hired by the Bruins in August 2007, reuniting the two once again, and last June, we saw how truly successful the team could be.

On Thursday, July 14, it was Geoff's day to enjoy the Stanley Cup. He took the trophy for a round of golf at Butter Brook Golf Club in the Boston suburb of Westford, Massachusetts. The course, which opened in 2004, is beautifully located among tall white pines, rolling hills and the Butter brook that flows through the course. While Geoff and his friends golfed, they shared the Stanley Cup with members and staff.

Geoff Ward brought the Stanley Cup to Brestyan's American Gymnastics Club in Burlington, MA
Geoff Ward brought the Stanley Cup to Brestyan's American Gymnastics Club in Burlington, MA.
(Howie Borrow/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Ward didn't finish the entire eighteen holes, but moved along to Brestyan's American Gymnastics Club in nearby Burlington, where daughter Kylie is developing into a world-class gymnast. Brestyan's is a training centre for the U.S. national gymnastics team, and those working on their routines were thrilled to temporarily put their workouts on hold to see the actual Stanley Cup.

Back at their home, the Wards (Geoff, wife Carolyn, daughters Kylie and Hannah and sons Cody and Sawyer) relaxed while taking some family photos with the magnificent trophy.

That evening, family and friends joined the Ward family for a Stanley Cup celebration at Waxy O'Connor's Irish Pub in Lexington, Massachusetts. The pub reserved the upstairs area for Geoff and his guests, who enjoyed dinner and drinks as well as pictures with the Stanley Cup while video of Bruins' highlights from the 2010-11 season played in the background.

Fans downstairs knew that the Cup was in the house, so waited patiently for a glimpse of Lord Stanley's legacy, and were rewarded when Geoff carried the Cup down the stairs, giving the public more than an hour to get pictures with the Cup.

Geoff Ward's son's hockey team getting up close to the Stanley Cup Geoff Ward and family sharing a moment with the Stanley Cup at their home
Geoff Ward's son's hockey team getting
up close to the Stanley Cup.
(Howie Borrow/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Geoff Ward and family sharing a moment with the Stanley Cup at their home.
(Howie Borrow/Hockey Hall of Fame)

* * *

Don Sweeney picked up the Stanley Cup the next morning, Friday, July 15, ready for his day of celebration.

Don Sweeney and family sharing a moment with the Stanley Cup outside the home of friends
Don Sweeney and family sharing a moment with the Stanley Cup outside the home of friends.
(Howie Borrow/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Sweeney has been a part of the Bruins' family for the better part of his adult life. Drafted by Boston in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, Don joined the club in 1988-89 after graduating with an Economics degree from Harvard, and played fifteen seasons in black and yellow before concluding his playing career with the Dallas Stars in 2003-04. In June 2006, he was hired by the Bruins as the Director of Player Personnel and a year later, graduated to Director of Hockey Operations. Today, he serves as assistant general manager under Peter Chiarelli.

Don wanted to thank a man who served as a mentor to him through the years, and took the Stanley Cup to Jack Kirrane, who served as the arena manager of the Bright Hockey Center at Harvard. But Jack's heritage goes much deeper than that. He was a member of the gold medal-winning United States Olympic Hockey Team in 1960, and was honoured with induction into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 1987. Don clearly appreciated Mr. Kirrane's friendship through the years, and Jack was thrilled to have Sweeney spend time with him, especially with the prestigious Stanley Cup.

The Sweeney family (Don, wife Christine and twins Jarrod and Tyler) are in the midst of a move, so family friends, the Arakelians, gladly hosted a Stanley Cup party. Chuck Arakelian owns APC (Aquatic Parts Company) in Lynnfield, so in appreciation, Don brought the Stanley Cup for the staff to enjoy.

After a stop to visit the Lynnfield Police Department and Fire and Rescue, Sweeney took the Cup to the Arakelians for a barbecue, where neighbours, friends and family joined to congratulate Don and the Bruins. The party continued into the evening.

* * *

The celebrations continue through the summer here at the Stanley Cup Journal. Be sure to join us again on Friday when we visit Nathan Horton and explain the mystery of the disappearing trophy.

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

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