Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 11
The Stanley Cup Journal

Captain Scott Stevens is interviewed at the Stanley Cup Championship video launch in Newark, New Jersey.
(Wednesday, July 2) -- Monday, the Stanley Cup was in attendance at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center for the launch of the New Jersey Devils' playoff video, '2002-2003, Stanley Cup Champions -- New Jersey Devils.' Also on hand were Lou Lamoriello, Ken Daneyko, Scott Stevens and Brian Gionta, who left a wedding reception on Long Island to appear at the video launch. Comedian Joe Piscopo, who a few weeks earlier had emceed the Stanley Cup rally at the Meadowlands, was Monday's event host and introduced each of the Devils in attendance to deafening applause. When veteran Ken Daneyko was introduced, the crowd chanted, 'One more year! One more year!' Daneyko, the 18-season veteran, has been contemplating retirement this summer. The video was shown to the overflow crowd, who enjoyed the slick, well-edited highlights of the Devils' run to the Stanley Cup, and cheered enthusiastically every time Daneyko, Stevens or Gionta appeared on the screen. The wildest cheers were reserved for the video's highlights from the final series against the Mighty Ducks.

The schedule for the Stanley Cup's travels with the championship New Jersey Devils' players is all but complete, and tomorrow (July 3), hockey's most prized trophy will hit the road (frappez la rue?) on its way to Quebec for several days.

Walt Neubrand and Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman.
The Stanley Cup is always accompanied by a handler - one of several who rotate - supplied by the Hockey Hall of Fame. On the surface, it's an incredible job, but underneath the shiny veneer are many nights with no sleep and extended travel that takes the keepers away from family and friends. Would he trade the opportunity for any other job in the world? 'No way,' says Cup Keeper Walt Neubrand, one of three principals who share the responsibility of accompanying the Stanley Cup on its rounds.

Walt Neubrand was born in Mississauga, Ontario, just west of Toronto, and learned his hockey on the frozen ice of the Credit River. Although always a hockey fan first and foremost, Neubrand also played baseball through his childhood years. After graduating from the University of Waterloo, Walt joined the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1995, working as a guest services associate. Two years later, Neubrand got his first taste of working with the Stanley Cup. It was following the Detroit Red Wings' 1997 Stanley Cup championship, and Walt was asked to accompany the Stanley Cup to Scotty Bowman's home in New York State.

Neubrand left the Hall of Fame in 2000 to become a police officer. Although he graduated from the academy, Walt realized that being a police officer was not for him, and returned to hockey. Although mid-mannered and easy-going, Walt's police training comes in handy should any incidents occur that involve the Stanley Cup. "I've never had a problem," Walt admits. "Everyone who comes to see the Cup has been nothing but respectful."

But being one of the Keepers of the Cup has additional advantages. While accompanying the Stanley Cup to the NHL All-Star Game in Tampa in 1999, Walt met a volunteer from Detroit who would later become his fiancée. The two introduced themselves, and later this summer, on August 23, Walt and Laura will marry.

The Stanley Cup gleems brightly in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.
Spending so many days on the road with the Stanley Cup, Walt has seen the trophy in hundreds of different situations. "My favourite trip was taking the Stanley Cup to Rankin Inlet in Nunavut. It was for a hockey tournament," explains Neubrand. "I love the wilderness, and this was an area above the tree line where there were no roads. People in the area are so passionate about hockey that some drove 250 miles by snowmobile just to see the Cup! It was really neat!"

Once September arrives and travels with the Stanley Cup wind down for another summer, Walt Neubrand will return to being a substitute teacher in Mississauga. "Being the Cup Guy is a great job to have. As long as they allow me to do it, I'm honoured to accompany the greatest trophy in sports - the Stanley Cup."

Over the weekend, the Stanley Cup will be with coach Pat Burns. Return to Stanley Cup Journal then and you'll also meet the other Cup Keepers.

Kevin Shea is a hockey journalist and historian based in Toronto.

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