Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 30
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The Stanley Cup took a six-hour limousine ride to arrive in Darien, Connecticut on Thursday, August 23. Now, before the day had even begun, Ryan Shannon, the industrious forward who spent his rookie season with the Ducks, instructed everyone on how to pronounce the name of his hometown. "It rhymes with Mary Ann, not Marion like you'd think," he said. "Just remember Dairy Ann, Dairy Ann."

Anaheim Ducks centreman Ryan Shannon carefully pours a drink into the bowl of the Cup during his return to his hometown of Darien, Connecticut for the Shannon's backyard celebration.
(Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
The town of 20,000 is beautiful, and being as close as it is to New York City, has been called home by a plethora of renowned residents, including aviator Charles Lindbergh, steel magnate Andrew Carnegie, opera star John McCormack, actors Rudolph Valentino, Christopher Plummer, Mary Tyler Moore, Kate Bosworth, Topher Grace, Chloe Sevigny, musician Moby and now Stanley Cup champion Ryan Shannon.

First thing that morning, Ryan and his girlfriend Jessica took the Stanley Cup to the local police station, and then headed over to Body Tuning, the gym at which Ryan works out during the summer.

After touring the Cup around his hometown, Shannon visited Manhattan Island where he is here hoisting the Cup in front of the world famous Chrysler Building.
(Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
By 10:30, the Stanley Cup was at the Darien Ice Rink, where Ryan spent more than a few hours through the years honing his on-ice craft. Waiting there were 2,000 fans, waiting excitedly to meet Ryan and make a donation so they could get their picture taken with the Stanley Cup. Monies raised went to the Obie Harrington-Howes Foundation, benefiting people in Connecticut living with spinal cord injuries. Harrington-Howes was Ryan's first hockey coach, and was paralyzed in 1997 after a swimming accident at Jones Beach in New York. The morning of autographs and photographs raised almost $6,000 for the foundation. "He (Obie) was my first house league coach," said Shannon. "When something like that happened to him, it was a tragedy, but he's still the same happy guy. He's always smiling and always encouraging people. I want nothing more than to be a role model myself just like that."

By 1:00PM, the Stanley Cup was in the Shannons' backyard, continuing the celebration. Although inclement weather threatened the party, it didn't dampen Shannon's spirit. "Nothing's going to ruin my day today!"

A trip to New York City was next in order, and at 6:30, Ryan, his girlfriend and assorted friends took the Stanley Cup and climbed onto the train for the trip to the metropolis. The conductors, while taking tickets, asked what was in the big case, and were mesmerized by word that it contained the Stanley Cup. As the train pulled into New York, the announcement through the cars echoed, "Grand Central Station — next and last stop. And take care of that Cup, boys!"

To cap off what was an eventful day to say the least, Ryan Shannon ended his date with the Cup proposing to his girlfriend Jessica. Oh and by the way…she said yes! (Walt Neubrand/HHOF)

Ryan took the Stanley Cup out of its case in Grand Central Station, but was quickly asked by security to leave the premises. A policeman came along, saw the commotion and explained to Ryan and the security guard that he and the Stanley Cup could most definitely stay.

Through the streets of New York City Ryan went. He and his entourage ended up at the Arena Nightclub, located in the heart of Times Square. The multi-level club is incredible. More than 500 people bought a wristband that allowed them to party with the Stanley Cup and enjoy the open bar, with proceeds going to charity.

While celebrating, Ryan took Jessica up onto a balcony that overlooks the dancefloor. "I'd just like to make an announcement," he began. Expecting to hear how grateful he was to be part of a Stanley Cup champion in Anaheim, guests instead were shocked when Ryan said, "I just want to ask Jessica if she'll marry me," and proceeded to drop to one knee. Tears streaming down her cheeks, Jessica smiled and said, "Yes!" Ryan then slipped an engagement ring onto her finger.

The celebration, at first to commemorate Ryan Shannon's Stanley Cup championship, now took on a new meaning, and the newly-engaged couple partied until 2:30 the next morning.

* * *

Anaheim Ducks enforcer George Parros lays his lips (and famous moustache) on the Stanley Cup at the ice surface of Baker Rink, home of the Princeton Tigers. Parros competed with Princeton for four years and was captain in his senior season in 2002-03. (Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
A long taxi ride took the Stanley Cup into historic Morristown, New Jersey, where hulking forward George Parros was ready to create new history on Friday, August 24.

George attended prestigious Delbarton, a private, all-male Roman Catholic prep school. The Senior Garden is an exclusive area within Delbarton where freshmen are not allowed (or tolerated), and if found having snuck into the area, the older students throw the freshmen into the fountain. Parros took great pride in toasting the Ducks' victory with a gulp of champagne in the Senior Garden.

"Come on, guys," summoned George, motioning to his Dad Jim, mother Lynn, brother Jeff and girlfriend Tiffany. "We have to have lunch at Cluck-U Chicken!"

The smiles were immense as the Stanley Cup sat at a table in the Cluck, surrounded by 'cluckwiches' and 'wingers' as well as a variety of sauces, including Atomic, Nuclear, Traditional Death and 911.

George and Stanley set up for a round of ping pong in the Princeton University Hockey Club's dressing room. (Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
The group drove over to George's alma mater, Princeton University, where Parros earned his economics degree while playing four years of hockey beginning with the 1999-2000 season. After an on-ice presentation to George that included former coaches and alumni, the Ducks' forward had pictures taken with a number of kids' teams.

Afterwards, Parros carried the Stanley Cup into the locker room and engaged in a game of Beer Pong. Each side places a cup of beer on their side of the ping pong table (George used the Stanley Cup), and the intention is to attempt to knock the ball into the cup (or THE Cup!).

With the fun continuing, George and his family took the Stanley Cup by private plane to the family farm in Washington, Pennsylvania, a city just outside Pittsburgh. Several hundred were on hand for a pig roast that featured the presence of the Stanley Cup.

George and Stanley work up an appetite at Parros' uncle's pig roast in Scenery Hill, Pennsylvania.
(Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
Besides freshly-cooked pork and ribs so good that the juices dripped off your elbows, the feast included beans, coleslaw, cakes and pastries, all watered down with champagne and (gulp) moonshine.

George devised a plan to get the Stanley Cup into the barn so that the celebration could be a little more private. He smuggled the Cup through the house, down into the cellar, through a long, dark tunnel that extended past the back of the house and ended in the barn. Ten people, carefully selected, were waiting for George to arrive so that they could party with the Stanley Cup. The barn was filled with hay and bats, not so carefully selected, that would flutter by occasionally, scaring the cluck out of George and his friends. It wasn't long before most of the people at the pig roast had converged on the barn to see why there were extraneous hoops and hollers emanating from the supposedly empty structure.

At 2:30, a giant bonfire added a golden glint to one side of the Stanley Cup. The Parros party concluded at 4:45.

* * *

As if there isn't enough pressure on a young player to be participating in his first-ever Stanley Cup playoffs, Mark Hartigan had the further burden of knowing his mother had suffered a relapse in her battle with cancer. Mark's Mom, Debbie, died during the Ducks' successful path to the Stanley Cup, and Mark flew home to be with his family during the first round of the playoffs. Although he spent only six games with Anaheim during the regular season, and added one more in the playoffs, Hartigan was next to celebrate with the Stanley Cup, taking it to Fort McMurray, Alberta on Saturday, August 25.

Mark Hartigan poses with a framed photo of his mother, Debbie, who passed away during the Ducks' drive to the Stanley Cup.
(Mike Bolt/HHOF)

Mark's brother Colin hosted the Hartigan celebration at his home. After food and drinks, accompanied by many emotional toasts, the gang boarded a bus that embarked on a tour of some of the area's businesses that had meaning to Mark.

First stop was the firehall, followed by a visit to Robert Vargo at Alberta Motors, the area's largest General Motors dealership. Mark visited patients at the hospital, then stopped at the Dugout Coffee House and Youth Centre. Finally, Hartigan carried the Stanley Cup into the Thickwood Arena to show those on hand. A ball hockey tournament was in full swing, so Mark offered a photo of the winning team with the Stanley Cup, which promptly turned up the tempo several additional notches.

To wind down a busy but wonderful day, the bus took the Hartigan party back to Colin's home to settle into an all-night party for family and friends. Although the celebrating was special, the most extraordinary moments may have been a reflective time when Mark and his family took time to study the engraved names on the Stanley Cup — Taylor, Morenz, Broda, Howe, Richard, Mahovlich, Orr, Clarke, Dryden — knowing full well that within weeks, the name 'Hartigan' was going to be added to the Stanley Cup's legacy.

* * *

You won't want to miss Tuesday's Stanley Cup Journal. The Cup visited Cranbrook, BC as the special guest of the Brothers Niedermayer, and we'll be there to take you all the way from a grizzly bear scare to the very peak of a mountain, flown there by helicopter. Hey, I can't wait either!!!

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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