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

Stunning Stratford, Ontario is home to the world-renowned Stratford Festival, a celebrated homage to Shakespeare and stage for other theatrical productions. Appreciative fans come from around the globe (if you'll excuse the pun) to witness the world-class presentations.

On Thursday, August 5 and Friday, August 6, stunning Stratford, Ontario was home to the world-renowned Stanley Cup, a celebrated trophy acknowledging one team's supremacy in hockey. Appreciative fans come from around the globe to witness the magnificent trophy.

Stratford native Tim Taylor met the Stanley Cup at 3:30 on the Thursday afternoon, and proceeded to carry the Cup to his Stratford home. Unexpectedly, Taylor was greeted by a large crowd gathered on his lawn, so his plan to have a few quick photographs taken was thwarted.

Tim took the trophy into the house, where champagne was chilling, and after pouring it into the hallowed bowl, shared the nectar with neighbours and his friends Brian from Boston and Elise from Tampa.

Five thousand hockey-crazed fans visited Stratford's City Hall in order to get a glimpse of Tim Taylor and the Stanley Cup.
The Lightning's veteran centre is no stranger to championships, having been part of the Detroit Red Wings juggernaut that took the Stanley Cup in 1997. Tim started his career with the Red Wings, scoring a goal in his first game — a mid-December 1993 contest against Patrick Roy and the Montreal Canadiens. After the Cup win in Detroit, Tim joined the Boston Bruins for two seasons, was a Ranger for a pair of seasons then joined Tampa in a June 2001 trade.

The Tim Taylor trophy tour took a trip to Stratford's City Hall, where better than 3,000 fans waited on the opportunity to see hometown hero Tim Taylor and the Stanley Cup. There was a nominal charge for photographs and autographs, with Tim donating the proceeds to minor hockey in Stratford. A couple wearing bright red Calgary Flames jerseys stood in line and wanted their photos taken with the Stanley Cup. "I'm sorry," Tim explained, "but that's just disrespect towards all the work Tampa put into winning the Cup. No way."

The Tampa flag that flew over the St. Pete Times Forum when the Lightning captured the elusive Cup was sent up to Tim in Stratford, and on the pole in front of City Hall, Stratford paid tribute to their native son by flying both the Stratford and Tampa flags.

Delighted patrons sang the weary, old chestnut '100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall' as Tim Taylor took the trouble to visit one of the local landmarks.
Mayor Dan Mathieson proclaimed it 'Tim Taylor Day in Stratford,' much to the great delight of Tim and his family. Then, they led a parade in front of 5,000 cheering fans that wound around town and returned to the mayor's office.

That evening, Tim and his wife Jodi hosted a buffet dinner for more than 400 guests at the Victoria Inn. Guest speakers included Tim's former junior coach with the London Knights, his brother Chris Taylor, who plays with the Buffalo Sabres and Tim and Jodi's children Brittany and Wyatt. Tim then stepped forward to say a few words. "Thank you all so very much for coming here to celebrate with us," he started. "This was quite a year, and I was motivated greatly by my kids in playing for this Cup. This win was extra special. I got the chance to contribute to this Stanley Cup more than I did with Detroit when we won in 1997."

The party continued full speed ahead at the hotel until 2:30 Friday morning. But if there's no rest for the wicked, Tim Taylor must be a very bad boy. He took the Stanley Cup and some friends back to his home, where they continued the party until 7:00AM.

Friday morning, Brittany and Wyatt started their days eating Cap'n Crunch cereal out of the bowl of Lord Stanley's Cup. Once they finished and the Cup was scrubbed to a pristine gleam, Tim took the trophy to his Dad's house. Bill Taylor invited the neighbours over to proudly show off the prestigious Cup won by his boy. Tim and his father took the Stanley Cup over to St. Mary's Country Club where Bill regularly golfs. They ran into Nelson Goad, the grandson of Riley Hearn who is a Hall of Famer and was part of Stanley Cup championships in 1907 and 1908 playing goal with the Montreal Wanderers. "This is unbelievable," Goad said, emotion filling his eyes. "My grandfather died in 1929 and I've never seen his name engraved on the Stanley Cup!"

Tim and Jodi Taylor pose in front of their classic automobile kept pristine at Expressway Stratford.
As the day progressed, Tim made more stops than Khabibulin in the playoffs. The Stanley Cup visited the home of Jodi Taylor's grandparents, followed by stops at Woodcock Brothers Transportation, the local hospital, Tim's mother's home, lunch at Crabby Joe's, the beer store, a country club, Gordon's Men's Wear, the YMCA, Canada Trust, Coldwell Banker, the police station, Expressway Stratford (a car dealership where Tim stores his vintage automobile) and the fire station. The boys were out training when the Stanley Cup was brought by, so Tim tracked them down to show them the Cup. That evening, Tim and Jodi took the Stanley Cup to Pino's for dinner. The Italian restaurant was decorated with streamers and signs congratulating Tim on his second Stanley Cup win.

After dinner, Tim continued his frantic pace, maximizing every moment he had with the Stanley Cup. After a stop at home, Taylor took the trophy to Woody's Bar, Bentley's and then Falstaff's, where he spent several hours enjoying a band called Howzat. The band members were not only great musicians, but big hockey fans too. While at Falstaff's, Tim's friend Quincy kept the boys laughing with his comic relief.

At the stroke of midnight, after treasuring every second he had with the Stanley Cup, Tim Taylor hesitatingly surrendered the precious trophy so it could be packed and driven up the highway to Ile Bizard, the hometown of Vincent Lecavalier.

Monday, Stanley Cup Journal spends a couple of days with the Tampa Bay Lightning's first selection in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.

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

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