Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals 2004: 25
The Stanley Cup Journal

The Lightning's captain addresses the crowd at the newly-named Dave Andreychuk Mountain Arena.
Before the Stanley Cup even arrived in Hamilton, Dave Andreychuk had already done interviews for local radio and television stations. The Tampa Bay captain has been in heavy demand since he accepted the Stanley Cup from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Monday, June 7. Andreychuk's professional story is incomparable — a twenty-two season veteran who has served so admirably with the Buffalo Sabres, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche and now, the Tampa Bay Lightning, has played 1,597 regular season games and an additional 162 playoff games, gets the late-career opportunity to lift the Stanley Cup for the first time. Brilliant!

Andreychuk met the Stanley Cup on Friday, July 30 at the McMaster Children's Hospital in his hometown. Dave took the beautifully-polished trophy up and down the halls, visiting the children who are patients there and leaving the delighted kids with autographed photographs and specially-printed t-shirts.

After arriving in Buffalo, Andreychuk's first stop was to visit new friends at the Children's Hospital of Buffalo.
Dave lugged the Stanley Cup up the mountain to the backyard of his parents' home to the great delight of family, friends and neighbours. Dave's Mom and Dad have chronicled their son's excellent career by posting newspaper articles all over the walls of the garage. As guests entered the garage to get a plateful of food, they would read from the walls; every one of which was covered with stories about Dave's career. "I was so fortunate to spend the first fourteen seasons of my career playing within an hour's drive of where I grew up," Dave stated from the backyard.

That afternoon, a parade was held in Dave's honour. With the sun beating down on the marching bands, police unit, Bruiser, the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs' mascot and TC, the mascot of the Canadian Football League's Hamilton Tiger Cats, the parade preceded the guest of honour hoisting the Stanley Cup from the back of a little red Corvette. The parade wound around and finished at the Mountain Arena, where 4,000 fans cheered wildly as Andreychuk executed a lap around the arena in a cart that finished its circuit at centre ice. There, his family was seated waiting for him - wife Sue and daughters Taylor, Caci and Brooke.

Although during the season Dave detests Wings (as in Detroit Red Wings), in the off-season, he loves the wings at Brennan's Bowery Bar in Buffalo.
The ceremony began with Dave's first three minor hockey coaches presenting the Lightning captain with his first-ever minor hockey league jersey; framed and ready for hanging in the Andreychuk home. Then, Mayor Larry Di Ianni stepped to the podium. "Ladies and gentlemen," the mayor began, "I am very proud to tell you today that the arena in which you are currently sitting has been re-named to honour the man who has made the City of Hamilton so proud. Please join me in congratulating Dave Andreychuk of the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning as we re-name this venue, the Dave Andreychuk Mountain Arena!" The applause was deafening, and the Lightning's captain was moved by the gesture. "I just wanted to bring the Cup home to the city I grew up in," he later explained. "I never expected all this fanfare!"

That evening, the Sheraton Hamilton Hotel was the location of a private party. Andreychuk posed for photographs with the Stanley Cup for over three hours as each of the 250 guests wanted to take home a souvenir of a very special evening. Then, Dave, Sue and a few others retired to the suite where they stayed up most of the night talking and looking at hockey's most cherished prize.

These former Sabres are a tight-knit group of friends to this day. Here enjoying their former teammate's victory are Darryl Shannon (far left), Grant Ledyard, Andreychuk, Rob Ray and Matthew Barnaby (far right).
Early Saturday morning, Andreychuk carried the Stanley Cup to his vehicle and drove to Buffalo, New York. At eleven, they visited the Children's Hospital of Buffalo. The Stanley Cup was situated in the lobby, where patients, visitors and staff were welcomed to get pictures taken and autographs signed. Dave took the Cup up to a few little patients who were unable to get down to the lobby to see the Cup.

In the off-season, Dave and Sue Andreychuk live in East Amherst, a suburb of Buffalo. They know the area well and were anxious to take Lord Stanley's mug to patrons of some of their favourite bars and restaurants. First stop was the Crocodile Bar, and then it was off to Elmo's, a place Sabres' players often visit after games in order to wind down. On the walls were signed and framed Buffalo jerseys from Matthew Barnaby and Doug Gilmour among others. Dave and Sue then took the Stanley Cup to a private party at Brennan's Bowery Bar. Sue had raved about the chicken wings for several hours. "Better have the Buffalo wings," she prompted. "They're the best anywhere!" Sue was absolutely right!

Two limo buses then took the party-goers to the Andreychuk home. A number of Dave's former Sabres' teammates were there to congratulate their friend — Darryl Shannon, Grant Ledyard, Matthew Barnaby and Rob Ray. "Now that I'm retired, I can touch this thing without jinxing my chances," laughed Rob, reaching for the Cup. "I don't have to be superstitious any more." None of Andreychuk's mates had enjoyed a Stanley Cup celebration of their own.

Dave and Sue Andreychuk insisted that they get their photograph taken in front of a tree in their yard. Confused, the guests wondered why they were so eager. "This tree was struck by lightning during the playoffs. See the crack," Dave asked, pointing up the trunk of the tree. "In retrospect, it was a hell of an omen, wasn't it?" Everyone laughed as the camera flashes illuminated the Andreychuk's yard. The party continued until 4:30 that morning, when the last of the tequila was drained from the Stanley Cup.

* * *

Tampa's associate coach, Craig Ramsay, shared the Stanley Cup with his sons Travis, Jad and Brendon along with other duffers at the Fort Erie Golf Club.
Sunday morning, the first day of August, Craig Ramsay, the associate coach to John Tortorella with the Lightning, took the Stanley Cup to the Fort Erie Golf Club. Craig played a round of golf with his sons Travis, Jad and Brendon. "All right boys," Ramsay explained, "In the tradition of my dear, old grandfather - God rest his soul - you must drink a beer on the second shot of the first hole." The boys happily obliged.

The foursome had a fabulous day, ribbing each other as they played. Craig would play a hole, then head off to play with friends, scooting around the course with the Stanley Cup on a golf cart. When Ramsay saw a couple of golfers wearing Montreal and Toronto logos, he teased, "Hey, why don't you wear a sweater from a real team?" Everyone roared in response.

On the eighth hole, Craig placed the Stanley Cup next to the hole, then proceeded to sink a forty-foot birdie putt. Everyone around cheered as wildly as they did when Tampa Bay won the Cup. "The Stanley Cup sucked it in I swear," Ramsay laughed. "Of all the shots Hockey Night in Canada have taken today, why didn't they film me draining that putt?"

Craig then rode the golf cart across the highway to the Fort Erie Leisure Plex, where he put the Cup on display for the public. About three hundred people donated money to the Fort Erie Minor Hockey Association in order to get a photograph with Lord Stanley's Cup.

Jad asked his father if he could surprise his future father-in-law, and Craig was only too happy to oblige. They took the Stanley Cup to the Wingers for an unexpected visit. Afterwards, the Cup was returned to the golf club where Craig Ramsay posed with the public on the outdoor deck. Money raised from this venture went to a cancer charity honouring the memory of Ramsay's friend and colleague, Roger Neilson.

Through the evening, 400 guests filled a hall that resembled an airplane hangar. Buffalo TV sportscaster Ed Kilgore was there, as were Craig Ramsay's former Sabre mates Don Luce, Danny Gare, Larry Carriere and Derek Smith. Guests enjoyed roast beef and tacos as Tampa's associate coach posed for photographs.

Monday, you won't want to miss Brad Richards' entry in the Stanley Cup Journal. We'll see you then!

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

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