Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 25
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The Stanley Cup certainly has made its rounds this summer! Upon returing from Europe, Al Coates, the Senior Advisor to GM Brian Burke, took hockey's legendary trophy home to Listowel, Ontario.

It was a day of celebration with a tinge of melancholy for the community. There, in front of the library, is a monument that pays tribute to a horrific accident that befell the community at 9:30 on the morning of February 28, 1959. An accumulation of snow weighed down the roof of the local arena. Crackling timbers gave the peewee game in progress no warning, and the roof collapsed, killing eight and injuring 29. Seven of the dead were young hockey players.

The community was never quite the same. One boy, forced to miss his team's contest that day because his mother insisted he get a haircut, eluded the tragedy. That boy was Al Coates. There but for the grace of God went he that day.

Fate.

Al carried the Cup to Listowel, sharing the glorious prize with his community. A huge line-up waited in turn to thank Al and get a picture with Lord Stanley's legacy. Afterwards, he took the Cup to his sister's house for a celebration party. Among those attending were former NHLer Terry Crisp and his son Jeff, who is an amateur scout with Anaheim.

The Stanley Cup rides shotgun with Andy McDonald en route to Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
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After returning from Russia, the Stanley Cup was the guest of honour of All-Star sniper Andy McDonald on Saturday, August 11. It was an early birthday gift for the high-scoring McDonald, who celebrates his 30th birthday on August 25.

Andy met the Cup in London, Ontario, just outside his hometown of Strathroy. He and his guests climbed into a private plane and flew to Hamilton, New York, the home of Andy's alma mater, Colgate University.

It was on this campus that McDonald earned his introduction to the NHL. Deemed "too small" to play pro, he spent four seasons starring with Colgate, progressing further each year: 19 points in 1996-97; 32 in 1997-98; 46 in 1998-99 and 58 in 1999-2000. That spring, Andy McDonald was signed as a free agent by Anaheim.

With the Stanley Cup raised over his head, Andy McDonald proudly marches through the crowd gathered at his alma mater, Colgate University. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
Having paid his dues at the prestigious U.S. college, Andy repaid the community with a whirlwind visit with the Stanley Cup. After the plane landed nearby, a police escort led the way to the Colgate Inn, where Andy thrust the Stanley Cup over his head and walked through the entrance to the tumultuous cheers of fans gathered on the Village Green.

The university's president, Rebecca Chopp, welcomed McDonald, as did Hamilton, New York mayor Sue McVaugh. The Ducks' star thanked the dignitaries for the warm welcome, and expressed his appreciation to the college.

"Colgate was a big part of my developmnent as a player," he said. "Coming here is one of the things I really wanted to do when I found out I could have the Stanley Cup for a day." After presentations were made, McDonald signed autographs for two hours.

McDonald looks on at the hundreds of fans gathered welcome the champion back to Colgate University.
(Mike Bolt/HHOF)
Concluding his visit to Colgate, Andy and his entourage flew back to London with the Cup, then drove the 35-minute jaunt to Strathroy. The town is known for a number of reasons, including the enormous Cuddy Turkey Farm where Andy earned his first-ever paycheque. It's not far from London to Strathroy, but it's a long way from vaccinating turkeys to the National Hockey League!

Andy returned, the conquering hero, and was mobbed as he signed autographs and posed for pictures with the Stanley Cup, raising money for Strathroy's minor hockey program, of which McDonald was a product. Helping out was referee Don Van Massenhoven, who does whatever he can to give back to his community. As the crowd began to dwindle after three constant hours, Andy looked ahead to the next phase of his day. Thanking all of the fans for their undying support, McDonald took the Stanley Cup to a barbecue at the home of a friend, then visited the Derby Inn for celebration toasts that went late into the night.

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With traffic at a complete halt, Corey Perry showed off the Cup to dozens of motorists stuck in traffic including this family who ironically were returning from a trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
(Mike Bolt/HHOF)
For a young man just turned 20, Corey Perry has already seen the halcyon highs of hockey. In 2004-05, Perry led the Ontario Hockey League in scoring as his London Knights steamrolled over the competition on their way to the Memorial Cup. In addition to winning junior hockey's top prize that year, Corey also was part of Team Canada's gold medal win at the World Junior championship. Drafted by Anaheim in the first round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, he made his professional debut with the Ducks in 2005-06. Then, of course, in his sophomore season, Corey Perry is part of Stanley Cup history.

Sunday, August 12 saw Perry meet the Stanley Cup at the Peterborough Memorial Arena in his Ontario hometown. Joined by his brother and parents, Corey spent two hours signing autographs and posing for photos.

Amidst the commotion, his parents snuck away and prepared for a Stanley Cup barbecue back at their home. When Corey arrived with the Cup, he regaled the group with memories of loading mattresses onto trucks for Sleep Country Canada.

The day, which had been incredible to that point, turned into a gong show. Corey, his family and friends, boarded a bus that was going to take the crew to London to celebrate there. But what is usually a three-hour trip turned into a five-hour marathon.

Perry poses with the Stanley Cup alongside the main east/west highway through Ontario Highway 401. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
After pulling onto the 401, the major east/west highway through Ontario, the bus had just nicely passed by Toronto when it encountered traffic that resulted from a terrible accident that had shut down the highway between Guelph and Kitchener, about an hour east of London. As a result, traffic had come to an absolute halt. With an agenda to reach London, the bus driver pulled onto the shoulder of the highway at Milton and proceeded past hundreds of angry drivers. Corey joked that those stuck in traffic were saluting the Ducks' victory by showing that the team was number one, but this time, a different finger was being used.

One man purposely blocked the shoulder of the highway, thwarting the bus from passing by. Corey politely and apologetically asked the gentleman if he would move, but the obstinate driver refused. Unable to move, the Perry party decided that they were the party, and if they couldn't reach their destination in London, they'd celebrate right there.

Three lanes over, Corey noticed a van stopped with three young boys sitting on the sun roof, waiting for the traffic to budge. Corey took the Stanley Cup over to show them. Coincidentally, the VanDusens were returning from an excursion to the Hockey Hall of Fame, and almost went out of their minds when an NHL star brought hockey's most glorious prize over to show them! Well, that started the avalanche (if you'll excuse the expression, Mr. Sakic). Within seconds, people were abandoning their cars and leaping over hoods in order to get close to the Stanley Cup. More than 100 fans swarmed Corey and the Cup, and he was only too pleased to pose for pictures and sign napkins left over from last week's fast food lunch. While Perry raised the Stanley Cup over his head in triumph, cars, trucks and motorcycles honked their horns in celebration, while eastbound traffic, whizzing past the stopped westbound lanes, also honked like so many Canada geese.

At different intervals, two young ladies begged the bus driver to allow them to 'powder their noses.' They were shocked to discover a party on wheels that included Corey Perry and the Stanley Cup!

After spending hours stuck in traffic on Highway 401, Perry finally made it to Jim Bob Ray's bar in London, Ontario to celebrate. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
Magic! A 100-kilometre tailgate party!!

Finally, the (ahem) gentleman blocking the shoulder moved out of the way and the bus was able to continue towards London. On the way, the bus picked up two guys walking separately down the shoulder. By fluke, both had randomly abandoned the limos they had been in, hoping to find a quicker route to (wait for it) Corey Perry's Stanley Cup party in London! "Get in," laughed Corey, recognizing two of his pals. If the men ever get their eyes back into their sockets, it will be a miracle! "It…it…it's…it's YOU," said one in astonishment. "We were afraid we were going to miss your party!"

"Boys, the party starts here," laughed Perry.

Once past the accident, the bus discovered smooth sailing from Kitchener to London. No one was bothered by the fact that the party was two hours late in starting, especially those riding the bus who had a head start, enjoying a non-stop party all along Highway 401.

The Stanley Cup was carried by Corey into Jim Bob Ray's, a popular London nightspot. The party was massive, and included Corey's former London Knights' coach, Dale Hunter, as well as hundreds of other 'close personal friends.' Yee haw!! What a celebration! Just before 2AM, Perry took the Cup to Joe Kool's next door, and continued the party there.

* * *

You couldn't have written a better script, and it's stories like this that help grow the Stanley Cup's legend that much larger. In fact, we'll conclude today's Stanley Cup Journal right here -- there's a film script to be written!! Come back on Friday when Joe DiPenta, and Kent Huskins crank up their Stanley Cup celebrations.

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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