Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 2009, 03

Tyler and his parents proudly hoisting the Cup at their home in Sault Ste. Marie.
(Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
The Stanley Cup arrived in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario at 3:45 on the afternoon of Thursday, July 2. There to greet hockey's greatest prize was Tyler Kennedy, the hero of Game 6 when he tallied the game-winning goal. Getting a day with the Stanley Cup was not only a reward for his contributions to the Penguins' championship but was also an early birthday present for the rookie, who turns 23 on July 15.

Kennedy took the Cup to his parents' home, where his Dad, Rob, was in the midst of cutting the lawn. With the arrival of the Stanley Cup, the lawn mower quickly came to a halt and, in fact, the yard wasn't finished until the next day.

The Cup was placed on a table in the garage, where Tyler, girlfriend Kelsey, his Dad, Mom Joanne and his brother Jordan hosted a reception for neighbours and friends. At first, the crowd was sparse, but quickly filled up as word of the Cup's arrival spread like wildfire.

Tyler brought the Cup to Boston Pizza where he celebrated with family and friends.
(Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
The Kennedys, along with family and close friends, took the Stanley Cup for dinner at North 82, a terrific Sault steak house. Tyler's friends proposed several toasts to Tyler through the meal.

Now, intentions are one thing, but things don't always go as planned. The hope was that Tyler and the Stanley Cup would attend the Canada Day fireworks display, which was originally slated to be held on July 1 but, due to poor weather, was delayed by a day. And, Tyler and his pals intended to pile into a limo bus and get to the park by dusk to share the Penguins' Stanley Cup celebration with Soo residents. Well, things didn't quite turn out that way. Instead, the limo bus arrived as the final 'Ahhhh!' from the fireworks was being uttered. Some people noticed the Cup in their midst and grabbed photos of Kennedy and the Cup, but most people hurried past, clutching kids and blankets, empty coolers and empty potato chip bags, completely oblivious to the Stanley Cup being there.

Tyler and the Cup shared a boat ride to the family camp. (Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
The gang then took the Cup to Boston Pizza for snacks and beverages, and Tyler and his buddies drank beer from the cherished bowl of Lord Stanley's mug.

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Tyler's celebration extended into Friday, July 3, starting with a visit to the Great Lakes Forestry Centre where his Dad works. The Cup was placed in the front lobby and employees were only too thrilled to be able to get their photo taken with the Stanley Cup. Then, fair is fair, and Tyler hauled the Cup over to his Mom's place of employment in the registry office at Sault College.

Tyler proudly hoisting the Cup in front of fans at the Essar Centre, home of the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
(Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
Several quick stops ensued, including a return to North 82 (some of the staff missed the Cup's visit the previous evening), Fratelli's Pizzeria and Maitland Motors. A visit to the Sault Peewee Arena took Tyler back to where he played his minor hockey. The rink is like a shrine to the extraordinary number of hockey stars produced by the city -- Ron Francis, the Esposito brothers -- the boards of the arena are even sponsored by Marty Turco!

Time for lunch and again, Tyler and his pals returned to Boston Pizza, ordering spring rolls, potato wedges and pizza.

While visiting the F.J. Davey Home, a seniors' residence, Kennedy met a great number of hockey fans with memories dating back to the glory years of the 'Original Six' era. But even more special was an introduction to 102-year-old Arthur D'Orazio, the oldest living alumnus of the Soo Greyhounds.

Fans at the Essar Centre in Sault Ste. Marie lined up for autographs and an opportunity to get a picture taken with Tyler and the Cup.
(Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
Just north of Sault Ste. Marie is the Kennedy family's camp, situated on Trout Lake. Built in 1967 (coincidentally, the year that the Pittsburgh Penguins made their NHL debut) by Tyler's grandfather Joe, the camp is a place the family loves to go to relax. When they arrived at the marina landing, they were greeted unexpectedly by a horde of fans anxious to see the Stanley Cup. "Gee whiz, I only told a couple of people at the marina," shrugged Dan. Good words travel fast!

Tyler clutched the Cup and went straight to the boat that would take them to the family camp. While there, Tyler's cousin Dallas caught a snake. "What should I do with it?" he asked. "Put it in the Cup," came the reply. While the snake was enjoying its 15-minutes of fame, Kelsey was so horrified, she bolted for the boat, sitting there until she was assured the snake was long gone and had returned to its den.

Tyler and a friend share a moment with the Stanley Cup. (Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
Back at the marina, Tyler ensured that staff got pictures with the Stanley Cup, then it was off to the Essar Centre, the outstanding new arena that opened in September 2006 as the home of the OHL's Soo Greyhounds. A reception honouring Tyler was taking place. The young centre paraded the Stanley Cup around the rink. Then, Mayor John Rowswell awarded Tyler with the key to the city. For two hours afterwards, Kennedy met fans, had his picture taken with the Stanley Cup and signed autographs.

A special banquet in his honour was to put a cap on the day, but Kennedy decided to stop briefly at the Trading Post to show them the Cup. Debating whether to purchase some mocassins or a ceramic Mountie bank, Tyler instead thanked them for their time and arrived at the Riuniti Banquet Hall on Great Northern Road. Two hundred of his family and closest friends waited for him there, dining on pasta with meatballs, chicken, salad, green beans and, for dessert, chocolate hockey players.

The party continued with family and friends at the Riuniti Banquet Hall. (Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
With the plates cleared, the music began and Sault Ste Marie hosted Tyler Kennedy's Stanley Cup party. "Crank the tunes," Tyler shouted.

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Join the Journal again on Friday when we are invited to Quebec City to celebrate with 16-season veteran Philippe Boucher.

Kevin Shea is the Editor of Publications and Online Features for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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