At a recent NHL Alumni banquet honouring Johnny Bower and Jim Gregory, entertaining Jim Ralph had the audience in stitches doing a mock Foster Hewitt play-by-play of the Swedish national team. In the trademarked squeak that could only be Hewitt, Ralph had the puck passed from Sedin to Sundin to Sedin, over to Modin, back to Sundin to Sedin, back to Sundstromů You get the idea.
|Straight off the plane, the Stanley Cup was immediately taken by Craig Adams to a Calgary hospital, where he brightened the days of many young fans. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
It is surprising that more teams don't get called for too many men on the ice due to name mishaps. In Vancouver, that may be why former coach Marc Crawford had the Sedin twins on the same line it was easier than trying to figure out which was which. With Edmonton, Smith (of the Jason variety) is a defenseman while the same-sounding Smyth (Ryan, that is) is a forward, so there's less chance of a mix up.
"Adams," barks Coach Laviolette. "You're up." Kevyn looks at Craig and Craig at Kevyn, both wondering if the coach meant him. Not wanting to miss an assignment, they both leap over the boards, then just as quickly, dive back onto the bench when they glance over to see their namesake has done the same thing.
It could happen.
Fortunately for the Hurricanes (or well-planned by the coach), both Craig and Kevin played on Carolina's energy line together.
Craig Adams is a rarity. Actually, he's unique in several ways. For one, he is the only NHLer whose birthplace was in the Sultanate of Brunei, a country on the island of Borneo in southeast Asia. For another, it is likely that he is the only NHL player who can claim that his father-in-law was a U.S. Ambassador to Canada. The fact that Craig starred with Harvard Crimson is dwarfed by the fact he's the only lifelong Hurricane player whose career spans back to the Hartford days. A late round draft pick for Hartford in 1996 while playing for Harvard, Craig debuted as a Hurricane in 2000-01, and has been with the organization since. Well, not quite. There was a hiccup when the Mighty Ducks signed Craig as a free agent in August 2005, but he was reacquired by Carolina before he played a single regular season game with Anaheim.
|You'd be hard pressed to find which of these players was on the losing ball hockey team everybody's happy when they're around hockey! That's Craig Adams in the goalie gear. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
This past season, Adams played a handful of games in the AHL, but spent most of the season and all of the playoffs with Carolina. On Thursday, August 24, Craig Adams earned his reward for servitude and victory the Stanley Cup for a day.
The Cup arrived in Calgary, Alberta, greeted by the smiling faces of Craig and his wife, Anne. Their first stop was at a
children's hospital. Toting the Stanley Cup room to room, the Adams family met every available youngster, adding a bit
of sunshine to their days.
Craig then took the Cup up to his parents' home. A street hockey game was planned, with the winners earning the right to
lift the Stanley Cup over their head, in true champion fashion. Although an NHL forward from October to June, Adams
played goal for his team. The star of the game was Craig's brother, who had spent 24 exhausting hours on a plane from
Australia, just to enjoy a day with his brother and the trophy he had earned.
After the game, Craig took the Cup to his parents' home, where Anne, her parents and Craig's parents enjoyed sangria
sipped from the lip of the Stanley Cup. Then, a limo bus took Craig and his family to the arena where, in 1995, he
played for the Calgary Canucks and went on to defeat the Gloucester Rangers for the Centennial Cup as the top Tier 2
Junior team in the country. Craig got his picture taken with some of the coaches and training staff who had been with
the team when he played.
|Craig relived past Centennial Cup glories, dropping by the arena to swap tales with former coaches and training staff from the 1994-95 Provincial Junior 'A' Calgary Canucks.
Clambering back aboard the bus, Craig and the Cup took their guests to a heritage ranch where an outstanding barbecue
was waiting. Steak and buffalo burgers sizzled on the grill while the Stanley Cup helped quench a few thirsts. Just
then, Carolina teammates Mike Commodore and Ray Whitney arrived to help Craig celebrate on his special day. Having been
around that block, they were only too happy to offer ideas on how to enhance the Stanley Cup experience.
The group boarded the bus just after 10PM and headed straight to Cowboy's, a Calgary landmark for celebrations and good
times. Guests at the club were more than thrilled to have the Stanley Cup in their midst. After partying through the
night, Craig and Anne took the Stanley Cup over to a friend's house for an after-party that ran until 4 that morning.
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Friday, mark this spot because we'll chronicle Andrew Hutchinson's day with hockey's most revered trophy in the Stanley Cup Journal.
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Kevin Shea and John Jason Wilson are co-authors of 'Lord Stanley: The Man Behind the Cup', the authoritative biography on the Canadian governor general who donated a trophy for hockey championships that has come to be regarded as the greatest trophy in sports. The book will be published in October 2006 by Fenn Publishing.