Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 15

The bowl of the Stanley Cup is filled with Tim Horton's world renowned Timbits. (Bill Wellman/HHOF)
A buck for four Cups.

What?!? Is Tim Hortons having a clearance sale?

No, but if you talk to the management of the Detroit Red Wings, that's the investment they made in acquiring the heart and soul of four Stanley Cup championships. That's the price they paid to secure Kris Draper from the Winnipeg Jets.

On June 30, 1993, the Red Wings picked up Draper from the Jets for future considerations. Kris had played 20 games through three seasons in Winnipeg, but had spent most of that time with the AHL Moncton Hawks.

The future considerations? "We ended up giving them a buck," laughed Jimmy Devellano, Senior Vice President of the Wings.

The investment, unknowingly, helped cement the foundation of a dynasty. And to repay the money spent, during a Stanley Cup celebration one year, Kris handed a dollar bill to team owners Mike and Marian Ilitch. "Here you go. Investment paid in full!" Today, that dollar bill is framed and hangs in their offices.

Kris and Julie Draper, the kids and Julie's parents pose for a portrait with hockey's ultimate prize - this time without Kamryn in the bowl of the Cup. (Bill Wellman/HHOF)
During this year's Stanley Cup parade in Detroit, captain Nicklas Lidstrom told the assembled multitude, "You're a hardworking city and a hardworking state, and that's the way we try to be as a team." And that's exactly the reason Draper is so popular — he's the hard-working face of a hard-working team in a hard-working city. "This is where I want to be," Kris says about Detroit. "I don't want to go anywhere else. Whatever I have to do, on and off the ice, I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure that happens. Fifteen years later, I still have a smile on my face when I walk through those doors (at Joe Louis Arena)."

On Friday and Saturday, July 11 and 12, Kris showed that same commitment and passion as he enjoyed his days with the Stanley Cup.

Preened and polished, the Stanley Cup arrived at the West Hill, Ontario home of Kris and Julie Draper at 8:00 on Friday morning. The quiet suburb, part of Scarborough in Toronto's eastern extremity, is very close to the home in which he grew up. Kris and Julie are a wonderful couple, having been married for ten years, but can count a total of twenty years together. They have three kids they absolutely adore — Kienan, Kennedi and newborn Kamryn. In fact, in the team photo, sprawled on the ice in Pittsburgh with the Stanley Cup, Kris has the two eldest kids with him as they celebrate their newfound victory.

Joined by family and friends, the coffee flowed for the adults while the kids got to hold their own Stanley Cup celebration. The bowl of the Cup was filled to overflowing with Timbits (small bite-sized bits of donuts), and the kids dug in as they looked for Daddy's name on the trophy. "Here it is, Kennedi," said an excited Kienan, looking very much like a miniature version of Kris. "I found one. 1998." After some time, the two got frustrated. "Daddy, I can only find your name three times, but you've won the Stanley Cup four times, right?" Kris chuckled. "Yeah, but the fourth time won't be added until September," he explained. The kids nodded, their mouths filled with sweet baked dough.

Draper and a special friend drop by the Detroit Eatery on Danforth Avenue in Toronto. (Bill Wellman/HHOF)
Family portraits were taken with the Stanley Cup. In one shot, Baby Kamryn was placed in the bowl of the Cup, and someone asked if it was the first time she had been placed there. Several people giggled. The story emerged that Kamryn had actually left her mark on hockey's heritage trophy earlier. "A week after we won it, I had my newborn daughter in there and she pooped," laughed Kris. "We had a pretty good laugh." It didn't stall the celebration. The Cup was thoroughly washed and the party continued. "I still drank out of it that night, no worries," shrugged Kris.

At 9:30, Kris, his father Mike and assorted friends took the Stanley Cup by limousine to Toronto's Sick Kids Hospital. The first stop was on the fourth floor, a supervised recreational area called Marnie's Lounge. Youngsters undergoing treatment congregated there, amongst computers, video games, a TV monitor showing movies, a pool table and a bubbletop hockey game. While the children played and examined the Stanley Cup, one terrific, outgoing boy engaged Kris in some hockey talk. The two enjoyed a brief conversation, and then Kris asked who he had cheered for in the Stanley Cup final. "Pittsburgh," came the reply. About an hour later, as Draper and the Cup were leaving, the young lad stopped Kris and said, "Thanks a lot for bringing the Stanley Cup!" After a pause, in a near-whisper, he slyly added, "Go Wings go."

Not every child was able to meet in Marnie's Lounge, so Kris made the rounds to meet other children. "I'm amazed at how mobile these kids are in spite of being attached to an apparatus. They don't let anything slow them down!" Also noted was the tenderness in the attention of the nursing staff, who cut bandages into playful shapes for the amusement of the children. It was an emotional stop for Kris, but one he had planned to include from the moment the Cup was won in early June.

Check out what I won! Kris Draper proudly shows off the Stanley Cup to neighborhood residents outside his parent's home in Toronto. (Bill Wellman/HHOF)

Then, it was off to a clothing manufacturer, who had created special t-shirts for the occasion. After a few pictures, with each member now in matching Team Draper Stanley Cup 2008 attire, the limo drove off to The Danforth, a predominantly Greek area of Toronto that is renowned for its great restaurants and bars.

Among the great restaurants on The Danforth is the Detroit Eatery. The owner, a Detroit Red Wings fanatic, has his restaurant decorated in red and white, filled to the street in Red Wings memorabilia, and a place perfectly conducive for Red Wings fans to come to watch games during the season. Some years back, word filtered to the Drapers that, should the Wings ever win the Stanley Cup, Kris would be more than welcomed at this establishment. In 1997, Kris surprised them and dropped by with the Stanley Cup, and in what has become a tradition, visited the eatery for the fourth time on Friday. The limousine pulled up to the curb and the entourage disembarked, with Kris cradling the Stanley Cup. The establishment, shoehorned with Wings fans, cheered exuberantly to see their hero return once again. With fans getting photos of the Cup, Draper and his party enjoyed great burgers, seated amongst the autographed sticks and photos. Best in town, as its reputation states? "Mmmgtfnjk," said Kris, attempting to answer with his mouth full.

From Danforth Avenue, the Cup returned to Kris's house, where some close friends and their kids waited. The youngsters knew what was next — as promised, the bowl of the Cup was filled with ice cream, and each kid was given a spoon. They gobbled it up like they hadn't eaten for weeks, leaving the trophy a sticky mess. But part of the bargain was that the kids would also clean the Cup, which they did enthusiastically, taking the garden hose and some elbow grease to the inside and outside of the Stanley Cup.

The boys at the local firehall were recipients of the next visit, and after some photos, said, "Kris, let's shake up the neighbourhood!" To the astonishment of residents in West Hill, a convoy of three bright red firetrucks drove Kris and the Stanley Cup to the home of his parents, where neighbours and friends were invited to stop by to see Kris and the Cup.

Now, firetrucks attract attention at the best of times, but when one includes a champion holding the Stanley Cup, the scrutiny grows much larger. And as Kris's parents, Mike and Mary Lynne, found out, 'much larger' should actually read: 'Oh my God, where did all these people come from?!?'

After being filled with Timbits and later french fries, the bowl of the Cup is yet again used wisely. This time it's used as the world's largest bowl of Fruit Loops. (Bill Wellman/HHOF)
From 4:00 until 8:00 that evening, a non-stop parade of neighbours, cousins, friends, co-workers of his sisters, gawkers, former minor hockey teammates and just about anybody else imaginable patiently waited their turn and entered the backyard of their lovely home in order to get a picture with Kris and the Stanley Cup. And Kris, the great ambassador that he is, shook hands with each one, greeted those he knew (even vaguely) by name, and smiled…again and again and again as photographs were taken, a Red Wings flag serving as a backdrop against the far fence. Five policemen kept the lineup orderly and informed, and one sergeant estimated that 1,500 had been through the line that day. In an act of class (what else would you expect?), visitors were asked to make a donation to the Make-A-Wish® Canada, and the baskets runneth over by the end of the afternoon.

Explaining why he chose to share the Cup with the West Hill neighbourhood, the amiable Red Wings forward said, "I couldn't even imagine if I was a kid and the Stanley Cup was in someone's backyard and I could go see it when I was eight, nine, ten years old. That's why I do it. It's something I can give back to minor hockey, to kids."

When Kris spotted an infant wearing a Toronto Maple Leafs sleeper, he asked whether the parents would like a picture of the baby in the bowl of the Stanley Cup. As Kris lifted the child, it let out a scream of terror that didn't diminish. The photo was taken as the baby bawled, and Kris quipped, "Guess it knows it's wearing the wrong sweater!"

With the last of the pictures taken, the exhausted but still smiling Wing retreated to his own home nearby to freshen up for the evening's events.

With close friends and family, the Stanley Cup entourage loaded into a limo bus, making the first stop at Murphy's Law in The Beach area of Toronto. The Irish pub is housed in a former bank building at the junction of Queen and Kingston roads. Kris and the gang were taken to the rooftop patio, but through the night, Lord Stanley's mug was taken downstairs so patrons could drink out of the Cup.

They closed the pub and departed for home, but encountered a police spotcheck along the way, as is often the case at that time of night. RIDE (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) is a sobriety testing program used by police forces across Canada. Roadside spotchecks are set up, randomly stopping vehicles to see whether drivers have been drinking. All was fine, of course, with the driver of the limo bus, but when the officer noticed Kris Draper and the Stanley Cup in the vehicle, that set off a different type of spotcheck. "Hey guys, I've spotted the Stanley Cup. Check it out!" Police officers scrambled to their cars, hoping to find a camera. Stopped cars began to get backed up as the process briefly paused for pictures with hockey's glorious prize.

The night ended back at Kris and Julie's home, sitting on the patio in the middle of the night, savouring the special accomplishment.

* * *

Draper and Stanley take in a round of golf at Magna Golf Course in Aurora, Ontario.
(Bill Wellman/HHOF)
With thoughts of sleep still lingering in foggy brains, the Stanley Cup entourage assembled again at 8:30 on Saturday morning at the home of friend Doug Kelcher. Kelcher and Kris's father played Senior hockey together with the Orillia Terriers for six years beginning in 1968-69. The Terriers won the Allan Cup in 1973, led by Mike Draper, who scored 38 goals during the regular season to lead the league. Great friends, the families have grown up together. Eschewing cartoons and soccer practice for a chance to have breakfast with the Stanley Cup, kids and their parents congregated at the home of Doug Kelcher and his wife, who hosted a breakfast for family and friends of the Drapers. The kids couldn't believe that they were served Fruit Loops and milk from the Stanley Cup!

Twenty-three friends then joined Kris and the Stanley Cup at the exclusive Magna Golf Course in Aurora, Ontario, just north of Toronto. Appropriately attired in matching red shirts and blue shirts, the golfers played a round of golf while the Stanley Cup was kept company by course staff, who took the opportunity to get pictures with the Cup. Rain curtailed the final hole, so the duffers returned to the clubhouse and enjoyed a beer and (appropriately) a clubhouse sandwich.

The bus then took the gang to Pier 6 on the Lake Ontario shoreline, where the Matthew Flinders, a ship that cruises the Toronto harbour, was in wait for Kris and the invitees to his floating Stanley Cup party. What ensued was a spectacular evening partying on Lake Ontario with the Toronto skyline in the background. A fabulous dinner preceded a brilliant sunset on an evening that couldn't be much more perfect.

Kris took the opportunity to thank everyone for their continued support through the year. But his speech may very well have been eclipsed by the toast proffered by Julie. The entire Draper family is very close, and Julie spoke of the special relationship Kris enjoys with his children. One example she cited was Kris's routine when returning from western roadtrips. Exhausted, jetlagged and often battered and bruised, Kris makes certain that he is there to take the oldest two to school the next morning. It's special time that he doesn't want to miss, and the kids love that their Dad is there to hear their stories. After the toast, Kris and Julie cut the massive congratulatory cake. For a few minutes at least, Kris was thinking about a different sort of icing than the kind he usually encounters.

The cruise ended at 10:30 Saturday night, and Kris insisted on saying goodbye to each guest. As he carried the Cup from the boat, he was immediately swarmed by New York Yankees fans who had come to Toronto from the Big Apple in order to watch their beloved baseball team play the Blue Jays. Surrounding Kris and the trophy, the fans began chanting, "Draper! Draper!" It certainly was a pleasant surprise for the New York ball fans, who left Toronto with a win (9-4 on Saturday) and two losses going into Major League Baseball's All-Star Break.

Taking in the beautiful sunset over Lake Ontario, Kris Draper hoists the Stanley Cup during his boat cruise.
(Bill Wellman/HHOF)
The night was still young, so Draper and the gang took the Stanley Cup clubbing in downtown Toronto. The first destination was The Spoke Club, a private members' club on King Street West. The Spoke was packed, but the hour spent there was orderly and most enjoyable. Then, they walked the Cup just a couple of minutes down King Street, turning heads along the way, and arrived at the Spice Route Asian Bistro. It was already 1:30AM, but the party was only getting started at the Spice Route. A VIP area had been set up, but when the Stanley Cup is in the house, everybody's a VIP! Kris took the Cup out onto the patio so guests could see hockey's big prize. The 2008 Draper Stanley Cup party concluded at 2:30. By then, celebrants climbed back onto the bus and rolled west back to West Hill.

It had been an exceptional couple of days for Kris Draper, but likely moreso for those with whom he shared the experience. Truth be told, those numbers reached into the thousands.

The bus pulled up in front of the Draper home. It was 3:30 in the wee hours of Sunday when Kris took a lasting look at the Stanley Cup which will soon be engraved with his name for a fourth time. "I want to give the Cup one last hug and a cuddle."

With that, the Stanley Cup was readied for its next adventure.

* * *

We'll flip the pages of the Stanley Cup Journal over to the entries for Derek Meech in Winnipeg and Darren Helm in Kenora when we next get together. Make a date for Friday!

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

All Photographs are property of the Hockey Hall of Fame or Getty Images and may not be reproduced without prior written consent. For more information regarding use of our photographs please contact us.
 
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