Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 05
The Stanley Cup Journal

Playoff beards shorn (except for Mike Commodore), the champion Hurricanes were feted twice in Raleigh. Here, on June 20, the team is saluted by thousands of fans outside the RBC Center. (Phil Pritchard/HHOF)
The equipment is likely still moist and the sweet aroma of champagne still permeating through the dressing room of the Carolina Hurricanes as their reign as Stanley Cup champions begins. Monday, June 19 was but a blink of an eye ago and yet, in other ways, already seems like so long ago. A lot of water has already passed under the bridge.

The team spent some quiet, quality time together in the dressing room before heading off with family and friends to the team party. During the 1974 Stanley Cup final, Fred Shero, head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers at the time, left hockey with a sentence that still resounds in the ears of champions more than thirty years later: 'Win together now and we walk together forever.' The boys in that Hurricanes' dressing room will be intrinsically tied together forever — their own personal memories, their names in the history books and arguably best of all, their names forever engraved together on the Stanley Cup. Next year, as much as we hate to ponder the possibilities, a few of those faces will not be wearing the sweater of the Carolina Hurricanes. But for now, it is of utmost importance that they savour every moment of this remarkable achievement.

Following the celebration with players, staff, family and friends, captain Rod Brind'Amour earned the right to take the Stanley Cup home for the first night. In his initial season as the captain of the 'Canes, Brind'Amour took the role and its responsibilities to heart. His selfless play on the ice was only half the story. Closed-door, players-only meetings and an inspired role behind the scenes completed the picture. "It's his team," defenseman Aaron Ward told the Toronto Star. "You see it in the players, you see it in the mantra of the team, you see it in the identity of the team. Everything about this team has Roddy Brind'Amour's signature all over it."

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Although captain Rod Brind'Amour refused to touch it when originally presented by the NHL, now that the Stanley Cup is in the house, Coach Peter Laviolette and the Hurricanes had no problem exhibiting for fans the Prince of Wales Trophy as Eastern Conference champions.
(Phil Pritchard/HHOF)

On Tuesday, the 20th of June, the captain met the rest of his teammates for what would be the first of two parades. Just before 6:30 that evening, each member of the newly-crowned Stanley Cup champions climbed into a designated convertible for a triumphant tour around the 700,000 square foot RBC Center and its adjacent neighbour, Carter-Finley Stadium. Fans by the thousands arrived early in the afternoon to stake their place along the parade route.

The parade began at the south end of the Wendell Murphy Football Center at Carter-Finley Stadium, then followed the roads around the RBC Center to the VIP lots at the east end. There, a stage had been set up, ready for the roar that would greet Carolina's favoured citizens on that day.

Netminder Cam Ward was accompanied in his car by the Conn Smythe Trophy won as the playoff's most valuable performer. Coach Peter Laviolette cradled the Prince of Wales Trophy designating the NHL's Eastern Conference champion. The Stanley Cup rode in the convertible of veteran Glen Wesley. Every one of the players, proudly sporting his team sweater, greeted the enthusiastic throng of supporters that made traveling along the route a minor challenge.

Just before 7:30, the Hurricanes stepped out of their cars and onto the huge stage set up for them. A massive roar erupted as the boys ascended to the stage, carrying the most cherished prize in sports — the Stanley Cup. Each member of the team was introduced and then both Rod Brind'Amour and Peter Laviolette spoke passionately about the sincere thanks they had for the faithful, who stood by the franchise through both good and bad times, and helped make the victory possible.

Video highlights were screened and after the final thank you was made, with the band Fantasy performing for the celebrants, the Hurricanes retreated upstairs into the RBC Center for a celebration with the employees.

Opa! That night, the team took the Stanley Cup to the Ale House in Cary, a town neighbouring Raleigh. It was a full-blown Greek-style celebration. In fact, the Hurricanes saw more plates broken than Dr. Gabriel Rich, the team dentist. Continuously through the evening, the owner would hand out plates that after a shout of 'opa!,' would be smashed to the floor in celebration. Soon, the revelers were ankle deep in dishes.

The Stanley Cup spent most of the evening filled with beer, although Matt Cullen insisted on drinking his gin and tonic out of Lord Stanley's mug. Several of the team's wives surrounded the Stanley Cup's bowl after it was filled with a drink tagged, appropriately, a Caroline Hurricane, into which they dipped their straws and raced to empty the contents.

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Stormy shows off the silverware won by the Carolina club after an extraordinary season. On the left, the Stanley Cup. In the centre, Cam Ward's Conn Smythe Trophy. On the right, the Prince of Wales. (Phil Pritchard/HHOF)
Wednesday, June 21 saw the City of Raleigh host a 'Hail to Our Champions' parade through the streets of the North Carolina capital. It seemed as though every one of the city's 316,000 residents showed up to cheer for the champions. Mounted police carried hockey sticks as they escorted the Hurricanes. This time, the Stanley Cup accompanied Coach Laviolette and defenseman Bret Hedican in their shared convertible as the parade route took the team from St. Mary's and down Hillsborough to the North Carolina Legislature building.

Clad in their team sweaters, the team sat in the House chamber and looked on as Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker proclaimed Wednesday, June 21, 2006 'Carolina Hurricanes Day,' adding, "The team won a great victory. I think all of us feel like we're Stanley Cup champs, too!"

After leaving the Legislature, Peter Laviolette and his wife Kristen hosted a team party at Rey's, a New Orleans-inspired restaurant on Buck Jones Road in Raleigh. Partners and family members joined the victors at this wonderful restaurant.

The players then dined at Sullivan's of Raleigh, an outstanding steakhouse on Glenwood. Seeing a statue of barefisted boxer John L. Sullivan in the lobby, Mike Commodore was set to spar before he was reminded that the season was over and his teammates were doing just fine, thank you very much. Waiters brought tray after tray of amazing steaks and sizzling seafood for the athletes.

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Tampa took the last remaining spot on the Stanley Cup in 2004, but the top ring will be removed and retired, each of the rings below it will be moved up one and a new ring will be added to the bottom of the trunk. The first engraving? The Carolina Hurricanes! (Dave Sandford/HHOF)
When the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup in 2004, their engraving consumed the last remaining spot on the bottom row of the Stanley Cup's trunk. Last spring, of course, there was no champion, but what will be done for the Hurricanes this year?

Not to fear. No, the Stanley Cup will not add another level to the base of the trophy. Lord Stanley's legacy assumed the familiar look we know today in time to be awarded to the Toronto Maple Leafs after their victory in April 1948. The iconic trophy will look the same as we know it today as long as we are all alive and likely as long as our children's children's children are celebrating the glory of hockey.

What will be done, though, is that the top ring of the trunk of the Stanley Cup will be removed and permanently retired to Lord Stanley's Vault in the Hockey Hall of Fame. There, within feet of the original Stanley Cup donated by Lord Stanley of Preston (the trophy was originally called the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, but never called by that name), the band will be flattened and join other rings already retired. Then, each of the four remaining rings will be moved up one spot and a brand new ring will be added to the trunk of the Cup. And the first of the thirteen teams who will have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup — the Carolina Hurricanes!

Regrettably, the teams that had their names engraved on the Stanley Cup between 1941 and 1953 will no longer be on the trophy. The Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 1941. The Toronto Maple Leafs won in 1942, 1945, 1947, 1948, 1949 and 1951. Detroit's Red Wings won the Cup in 1943, 1950 and 1952 and the Montreal Canadiens won in 1944, 1946 and 1953.

The next ring will be replaced in 2018.

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The Stanley Cup was packed away as it left Raleigh to fly to Vancouver for the NHL Awards held June 22. In Tuesday's installment of STANLEY CUP JOURNAL, we'll find out who won what awards at hockey's equivalent of the Oscars, then discover what occurred at the NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver on Saturday. Y'all come back now, y'hear?

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Kevin Shea is the Hockey Hall of Fame's Editor of Publications and On-Line Features.
In October 2006, 'LORD STANLEY-THE MAN BEHIND THE CUP,' co-written by Shea
and John Jason Wilson, will be published by Fenn Publishing.
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