Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals 2004: 28
The Stanley Cup Journal

Jassen posed proudly with the rest of his clan on Cullimore Lane in his hometown of Port Dover, Ontario.
Stompin' Tom Connors, the creator of the anthem 'The Hockey Song' ('Oh, the good old hockey game, it's the best game you can name') wrote about a rural Southern Ontario town in tobacco country called Tillsonburg:

'With a broken back bendin' over there, I was wet right through to the underwear. And it was stuck to my skin like glue, from the nicotine tar and the morning dew of Tillsonburg, Tillsonburg, My back still aches when I hear that word!'

A helicopter holding the Stanley Cup hovered over the tobacco town, gently landing with its precious cargo in the farming community of Tillsonburg, Ontario on Wednesday, August 4 at 4:15. That afternoon, two limousines -- one a stretch and one an Excursion -- met the Stanley Cup in order to begin the day with defenseman Jassen Cullimore.

After a private party at the Simcoe Banquet Hall, Cullimore relaxed, celebrating the Lightning's victory with special friends back at his home.
The vehicles drove to Port Dover, a waterfront town on the shores of Lake Erie, where photographs were taken with Jassen, his wife Tanya and the storied trophy. On their way to their party, the Cullimores stopped at the home of Jassen's parents in Simcoe. The fact that they live on Cullimore Lane has nothing to do with Jassen's celebrity — generations of the family have resided in the town through the decades.

The party took place at the Simcoe Banquet Hall, where Jassen hosted a feast for a hundred guests. The evening was astounding as the Cullimores had put a great deal of planning into the evening and pulled out all the stops: a sumptuous meal of surf and turf, laminated newspaper clippings affixed to the walls chronicling Jassen's ten-year NHL career, Stanley Cup trivia offered for fun to the assembled guests, the Lightning's triumphant run to the Cup playing non-stop by way of the DVD and gift bags containing Tampa Bay hats, t-shirts and signed photos for all the guests. But Jassen had some other interesting angles — he offered guests the chance to win the skates he wore during the Stanley Cup final and had an awe-inspiring draw to see who amongst his guests would win the opportunity to drink out of the Stanley Cup!

After the tables were cleared away, another 200 guests joined the party for celebratory drinks. A superbly-produced video followed Jassen from childhood through high school and right through to this spring's Stanley Cup final, much to the absolute delight and amusement of the crowd at the hall. Afterwards, Jassen's mother made a very emotional speech about her son. Then, as if there hadn't been enough amazing food, at midnight, another buffet was rolled out (and after eating it, several of the guests were also rolled out!)

Jassen took the Stanley Cup back to his house at 1:30 that morning, and hung out there around the Stanley Cup with some special friends and his family until well past 6AM.

Thursday morning, Jassen was the special guest, riding with the Stanley Cup on the back of a firetruck, in a parade in his honour through the streets of Port Dover. The parade wound over to the community centre and arena where Cullimore had played once upon a time. While at the community centre, Jassen had his picture taken with officials of the minor hockey association who were delighted to see the Stanley Cup victor again.

Cullimore was the special guest at a parade in his honour that wound through the streets of Port Dover.
NHL veteran Leo Reise Jr. showed up to see the Stanley Cup that morning as well. Reise had been part of two Stanley Cup championships with the Detroit Red Wings; one in 1950 where his goal broke the Toronto Maple Leafs' hold on the Stanley Cup after winning three consecutive springs, and another in 1952. Ironically, it was a different era and players then did not get the chance to take the cherished trophy for a day like they do today. In fact, Leo had never, ever had his photo taken with the Stanley Cup. Through the generosity of Jassen Cullimore, that omission was remedied Thursday morning -- much to the absolute delight of Reise, local fans and the media.

Jassen Cullimore was then serenaded by the beautiful drone of a bagpiper as he was escorted into the arena. He placed the Stanley Cup on a table and proceeded to sign autographs beside the Stanley Cup from 12:30 until 2:00PM, at which point, the Cup was packed away and readied to head down the highway to Stratford, Ontario.

Friday, both the Town of Stratford and Stanley Cup Journal proclaim it Tim Taylor Day, and you'll want to find out how many ways he shared his day with hockey's Holy Grail.

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

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