Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals 2004: 02
The Stanley Cup Journal

Tuesday afternoon, the proud Lightning family of players, coaches. management and staff congregated for a photograph
with the Stanley Cup.
You have to think that if those Guinness Book of World Record folks were on their toes, they'd have been using their abacus to tabulate the number of photographs taken through the course of one week in Tampa. And had they done that, there is no doubt that the City of Tampa would have received some special honour for most pictures taken of a championship hockey team through the course of seven days. Unbelievable!

On Tuesday, June 8, the day after the Stanley Cup was awarded to the Tampa Bay Lightning at centre ice, hockey's most cherished trophy stayed in the Tampa Bay Lightning offices for the better part of the day, allowing the staff to admire the magnificent team trophy. By early afternoon, everyone on the Tampa Bay staff — the team behind the team — got their picture taken with the gleaming trophy.

Hockey's Holy Grail was picked up in a limousine with a night of celebrating in its future. The celebrants began Tuesday evening at Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar for a fabulous dinner, with toast after toast being made to the team's accomplishment. Much time was also spent raising a glass to captain Dave Andreychuk, who spent 1,597 regular season games and 161 playoff games over twenty-two seasons realizing the dream every aspiring hockey player envisions as a young boy — winning the Stanley Cup. "It almost brought tears to my eyes that this guy has been here so long, hasn't been to the finals, and to get him the Cup is awesome," said Darryl Sydor. "This is for Dave Andreychuk."

Among those having individual shots taken with the Stanley Cup and the Prince of Wales Trophy as Eastern Conference champion was goaltender John Grahame with his mother, Charlotte. John will soon have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup. Charlotte already has her name inscribed on the Cup as part of the Colorado Avalanche organization.
Then, it was time for the Lightning to get into full celebration mode, riding through the streets of Tampa in limousines, sharing their victory with the town. For most of the boys, this was exciting and new. For a handful of others, it was exciting and 'two.' Tim Taylor had his name engraved on the Stanley Cup as a member of the Detroit Red Wings in 1997. Brad Lukowich and Darryl Sydor won the Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars in 1999 and Chris Dingman and Nolan Pratt were on the 2001 Stanley Cup-winning Colorado Avalanche.

The party began at Whiskey Park Soho on Tampa's renowned 'Restaurant Row.' Candlelight set the mood for this lounge, although that mood took a distinctive swing when the Stanley Cup was carried into this lounge. Every one of the patrons seated at one of the four bars and watching the twenty television sets gasped as the Lightning arrived to party with their fans.

The Hyde Park Café was rocking; in fact, so busy that a special area had to be cordoned off to give the Lightning a place to celebrate their win. The players wandered through the club, introducing themselves and getting photos with fans and the Stanley Cup. The celebration spilled into the dawning of a new day when Vincent Lecavalier and Brad Richards decided they'd call it a night.

It was the first of many days (and nights) for the Lightning to celebrate their historical Stanley Cup victory, and the boys started the 'Summer with Stanley' in a most appropriate manner.

Dave Andreychuk, wife Sue and girls Taylor, Caci and Brooke sit with the Stanley Cup as part of the Tampa Bay Lightning's Victory Parade.
At ten o'clock Wednesday morning, the team and their families had official portraits taken with the Stanley Cup. All wrapped up by noon, fifty convertibles sat waiting in the sweltering heat outside the St. Pete Times Forum, ready to take the champions to the streets of Tampa in the team's official victory parade. The route wound around the city, with conservative estimates stating that more than 50,000 fans lined the streets cheering their team. The turn-out astounded the players, far exceeding their expectations and legitimizing Tampa as a city of champions.

The patina of the Stanley Cup gleamed in the sunshine, sitting propped in the back seat of the convertible carrying Dave Andreychuk, his wife Sue and daughters Taylor, Caci and Brooke. Brad Richards had a special guest in his open-air vehicle too — the Conn Smythe Trophy he won Monday night as most valuable playoff performer. With John Tortorella, wife Chris and children Brittany and Dominick was the Prince of Wales Trophy for winning the Eastern Conference championship.

As the motorcade swung back to the home arena, a rally had been planned for the Lightning at 2PM, and better than 15,000 fans, their throats hoarse from cheering and hands raw from applauding, welcomed the team back to the site of Monday night's thrilling 2-1 win over the uber-competitive Calgary Flames.

A mid-afternoon rally at the St. Pete Times Forum gathered more than 15,000 to celebrate the Lightning's achievement. Here, Darryl Sydor is shown on the screen hoisting the Stanley Cup amidst the roar of an appreciative crowd.
Several members of the Lightning took to the podium to thunderous applause. As strains of The Kingsmen's 'Louie, Louie' welcomed him, Martin St. Louis enthusiastically thanked the City of Tampa for its support. St. Louis enjoyed a career year and on Thursday night at the NHL Awards, was rewarded with the Art Ross Trophy as scoring champion, the Pearson Award as the most valuable player chosen by his peers and the Hart Trophy as the NHL's MVP.

Vincent Lecavalier also addressed the throng, explaining how thankful he was that the fans hung in with him and his teammates through the challenging years and were now being rewarded for their loyalty. Captain Dave Andreychuk took a moment to let Tampa know how appreciative he was of the support.

General manager Jay Feaster, the architect of this Lightning team, told the rally, "The twenty-five guys on this hockey team have the greatest heart and the greatest character and the greatest courage." Then, John Tortorella, who Thursday night carried home the Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL's coach of the year, put the Tampa Bay Lightning's victory into perspective, telling the assembled multitude that in spite of how great the hockey accomplishment may appear to be, it really is miniscule compared to the battle being waged overseas by the American military.

Following the Lightning's Stanley Cup parade through the streets of Tampa, thousands joined a rally that introduced the City of Champions to their newly-crowned hockey victors.
The victory rally broke up about an hour later at three o'clock, and the players went inside the Forum and gathered one final time in their dressing room. Officially, it was the final time this Stanley Cup championship Tampa Bay Lightning team will be together in this configuration. With or without a season in the fall, the team will invariably take on a moderately different look when the season resumes. Retirements, free agencies, trades, injecting new blood into the line-up — there will be faces lost and faces added, and the players, realizing this, relished the moment. This configuration may not play together ever again, but they are now forever bound together in spirit; their names to be tied intrinsically together forever when they are engraved on the Stanley Cup.

The hockey club goes clubbing once again in Monday's Stanley Cup Journal.

Kevin Shea is the Hockey Hall of Fame's Manager of Special Projects and Publishing.

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