Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 03
The Stanley Cup Journal

Howie Mandel, the host of the new gameshow 'Deal or No Deal,' holds the Stanley Cup aloft in his L.A.-area home. He then went immediately to wash his hands. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
When a team wins the Stanley Cup, as we know, it is the privilege of those victors to spend a day with the Cup in a manner unique to each of them. But the Stanley Cup travels approximately 250 days a year for a plethora of reasons — NHL and minor league promotions, charity functions, historical occasions — and not all of them have obvious hockey connections.

On April 12, Lord Stanley's legacy visited hilarious comedian and host of the new game show phenomenon, 'Deal or No Deal,' Howie Mandel. Mandel is one of several celebrities to participate in a 'My Stanley Cup' TV ad campaign that is running during this spring's playoffs.

Growing up in Toronto during the 1960's and seventies, Howie attended Northview Heights Secondary School, Georges Vanier Secondary School and Newtonbrook Secondary School, as well a North Toronto Hebrew School. And he got the chance to watch his Toronto Maple Leafs ice some pretty fine teams, including the 1967 championship that dogs the Leafs as their last such win. He played the game a little too. But hockey took a backseat to comedy in 1979 when he and some friends visited Los Angeles and bought tickets for an evening at the Comedy Store. It was amateur night, and his buddies convinced Howie to get up on stage. He did, and a TV producer happened to be in the audience scouting talent and signed Mandel to an appearance on a show called 'Make Me Laugh.' It was the start of an incredible career that has included hundreds of live performances, a long-standing role as Dr. Wayne Fiscus on the TV drama 'St. Elsewhere,' creating and voicing the children's series 'Bobby's World,' hosting his own TV talk show and today, hosting the enormously popular 'Deal or No Deal.'

The Stanley Cup arrived at the Los Angeles area home Howie shares with wife Terry and their three children, where the host and some friends were anxious to touch the Cup. Well, that's partially true. Howie suffers from major pangs of anxiety over germs to the point where he chooses not to shake hands. What he does do, though, is bump fists. But when he saw the Cup Keeper enter his home wearing the requisite white gloves while carrying the Stanley Cup, the germaphobe quipped, "Anybody who wears white gloves in my house is more than welcome!"

Mandel studied the Stanley Cup closely, and expressed amazement over some of the spelling mistakes that had been made during engraving through the years. "Hey, look at this," Howie blurted to his friends, pointing to the 1963 Stanley Cup champion Toronto Maple Leafs. "It's spelled wrong! It says Leaes: L-E-A-E-S!"

After commenting on how bumped and battered the 113-year-old Stanley Cup was, the comedian told a story about the downside of celebrity. "For a while, I thought I was being stalked," he said. "Everywhere I went, there she was. This woman knew where I lived! When I ate dinner, she was there. As it turns out, it was my wife." His buddies groan and Howie beams that wide grin for which he's become known.

It was clearly time to leave. No deal.

* * *

The Stanley Cup then travelled to Malibu to spend some time with actor Kurt Russell.

Although best known as an actor, Kurt was quite an athlete, too. He debuted at the age of 10 in a long-forgotten 1963 television series titled, 'Sam Benedict.' The next year, Russell was signed to a ten-year contract with the Walt Disney Studios.

Actor and hockey Dad Kurt Russell makes a pointed remark to his new pal Stanley while lunching in Malibu.
(Mike Bolt/HHOF)
While acting in family films like, 'The Computer wore Tennis Shoes' and 'Follow Me, Boys,' Kurt was also pursuing a baseball career. "I played from when I was a kid," he said. "I wasn't really serious about acting. I was serious about baseball. I always thought I could do both. I made good money acting, so it wasn't something that I was just going to put aside and pretend it didn't exist."

But after three-and-a-half seasons playing professional baseball in the California Angels' chain, the second baseman hurt himself. "I was leading the Texas League (in hitting, playing for El Paso) when I got hurt," shrugs Russell. "Frank Tanana told me, 'I think you've torn your rotator cuff.' I said, 'What are you talking about?' I didn't know what a rotator cuff was. I went back to L.A. a couple days later and went to the Jobe clinic and the doctor did an arthrogram on me. He looked at me and said, 'Aren't You also an actor?' I said, 'Yeah,' and he said, 'Well, you're an actor all the time now!'"

Kurt sat in Joffrey's Coffee and Tea, engrossed in hilarious repartee with the Stanley Cup. He's a huge hockey fan, as it turns out. He and his partner Goldie Hawn, who he met on the set of the film 'Swing Shift,' attended a number of Los Angeles Kings games after Wayne Gretzky joined the team. "I was there when Wayne Gretzky scored his 802nd goal. That was a fabulous night," he beams. "But unfortunately, I was doing 'Tombstone' (the 1993 film that re-created the feud that led to the 1881 gunfight at the O.K. Corral) during their great run to the Stanley Cup and didn't get to see too many games."

Kurt and Goldie have a 20-year-old son, Wyatt Russell, who spent the 2005-06 season as a goaltender for the Ontario Hockey Association Tier 2 Junior A Brampton Capitals. Before that, the 6'1" Wyatt played with the Chicago Steel in the USHL. A few years ago, Kurt and Goldie moved to the Vancouver area to give their netminding son better opportunities in his hockey career. He took advantage, playing first for the Langley Hornets in 2003-04 and then the Coquitlam Express the next year, both in the Tier 2 Junior BCHL. "When I see something good, I stand up and cheer. When I see something bad, sometimes I let it out and sometimes I keep it to myself," Kurt admits. "As I get further along with watching Wyatt's hockey, I keep things pretty close to the vest. You sort of watch it and hope for the best. When it happens, you enjoy it. When it doesn't, you just sort of sit there and suffer."

Russell starred as coach Herb Brooks in the 2004 film, 'Miracle.' "When I first met Herb, he asked me, 'Do you have a son named Wyatt? I'm going to see him play.' Herb was a hockey guy and I was a hockey dad. That was how we originated our relationship. I then spent a couple days with him, talking and researching and trying to recapture him as much as possible and what he was thinking at the time (of the 1980 'Miracle on Ice.') I'm glad I had the experience." Sadly, Herb Brooks never had the opportunity to see Russell's outstanding performance in 'Miracle' — he died in a car accident on August 11, 2003.

* * *

Actress Susan Sarandon, a frequent visitor to Madison Square Garden for Rangers' games, embraces Lord Stanley's historic trophy on a visit to New York. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
The Stanley Cup crossed the continent and on April 27, was the guest of Susan Sarandon. Ironically, Sarandon and Goldie Hawn starred together in the 2002 film, 'The Banger Sisters.' The two have a great deal in common. "We came of age at the same time," Susan smiles. "A time of music and drugs and spirituality and searching and empowerment. We both went to college in DC and we hit New York at about the same time." The two actresses have something else in common. "Ice hockey. We're both into ice hockey."

Susan Sarandon and her children greeted the Stanley Cup at New York's terrific Nobu restaurant. One son was sporting a Rangers' sweater, but it was evident that the entire family loved hockey and specifically, the Rangers. Unfortunately, Sarandon's husband, Tim Robbins, was unable to be there. The two met in 1988 on the set of the sports film, 'Bull Durham,' and share a real passion for all sports. Robbins takes part in a lot of celebrity hockey games and can often be seen playing the game at New York's Chelsea Piers. In an interview, Robbins admitted, "I like crunching people into boards and stuff. It's a healthy way to get rid of that thing that's in all of us, this violence, y'know. We've got it in us."

Robbins and Sarandon, who won an Academy Award for 'Dead Man Walking' in 1996, can often be seen at Rangers games when time permits. On the 27th, Susan clearly enjoyed cradling the Stanley Cup, and her children ran their fingers over the engraved names. "Look, here's Messier! One, two, three times, four times, five. Wow, he's won the Cup six times!"

Mark Wahlberg revived his long dormant hockey career to star in 'Four Brothers' and took advantage of a random Stanley Cup sighting in New York to get his picture taken with hockey's championship trophy.
(Mike Bolt/HHOF)
While at Nobu, Mark Wahlberg saw the Stanley Cup and wandered over to Susan Sarandon's table. Music fans know him as Marky Mark, but those days long ago led to a career in film that has produced a very good body of work. In 'Four Brothers,' the film released in 2005, Wahlberg and his fellow actors engaged in a hockey game. "I hadn't been on the ice for twenty-something years," he chuckles. The cast didn't get a chance to know each other much before the film started shooting in Toronto. "Usually you have a couple of weeks to rehearse and you get to know each other. We just kind of got thrust into it and got familiar with each other on the ice and in the hockey rink more than anywhere else."

Mark wasn't at all unfamiliar to the game. "I've always been an athlete and a big participant in contact sports — basketball, football, hockey, baseball. I played a lot of street hockey. But hockey is probably one of the most expensive sports. You have to have a place to play, you have to have the proper equipment, you have to have the transportation to get there. There was one pair of skates in my household. They were probably a size 12 and I wasn't even 12 years old!"

Wahlberg enjoyed holding hockey's iconic trophy. Although he enjoys hockey, he made an admission. "My biggest interest is golf. I'd rather be playing golf than anything."

* * *

On the set of long-running 'The Guiding Light,' the Stanley Cup met Tammy and Jonathan, played by Stephanie Gatschet and Tom Pelphrey respectively. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
One of the few things almost as old as the Stanley Cup is North America's longest running TV soap opera, 'The Guiding Light.' The show premiered on June 30, 1952 around the time of television's birth, but had been a long-running radio drama prior to that. The 113-year-old Cup met the current stars of the cast of 'The Guiding Light,' posing with Stephanie Gatschet, who plays Tammy, and Tom Pelphrey, who plays the role of Jonathan.

* * *

On Wednesday, May 10, the Stanley Cup was sighted with more Hollywood celebrities. The historic trophy spent time with David Spade, Saturday Night Live alumnus and host of 'The Showbiz Show with David Spade,' and with Ryan Seacrest, host of 'American Idol.' Did Seacrest divulge to the Cup whose going to win this season? Nope. He just advised the single Stanley on where to go in L.A. Stanley out!

On Thursday, the Stanley Cup visited the set of 'Monk' and its star, former police detective Adrian Monk (actually, actor Tony Shalhoub). Monk's amazing ability to piece together clues had everyone sitting on the edge of their seats to see if he could figure out who was going to win Lord Stanley's Cup this spring.

From there, the trophy visited the Republic Restaurant and Lounge as the special guest of US Weekly. Pictures were taken with actresses Krista Allen, Beverly Mitchell and Missy Peregrym as well as actor D.B. Sweeney. Missy was sporting a sweater and cap from her favourite team, the Vancouver Canucks. Sweeney often engages in celebrity hockey games and starred in the 1992 hockey and figure skating film, 'The Cutting Edge.'

* * *

At the 2004 NHL Awards, the crowd got a great laugh with the irony of watching Russell Crowe, known for his 'occasional aggressive tendencies' as he presented the Lady Byng Trophy to the league's most gentlemanly player, Tampa's Brad Richards.

But that wasn't Crowe's first encounter with hockey. In fact, he's a huge fan. Although born in Wellington, New Zealand, and spending much of his youth in his adopted Australia, neither exactly hockey hotbeds, since arriving on North American shores to act in 1995's 'The Quick and the Dead,' Crowe has embraced the game as his own.

In 1998, in fact, Russell laced up skates for one of the first times and not only learned how to skate but did so exceptionally well as he prepared for the role of aging hockey star and town sheriff John Biebe in the film, 'Mystery, Alaska,' in which the small Alaskan town accepts a challenge to compete against the New York Rangers.

Since then, Crowe has embraced the Toronto Maple Leafs as 'his' team and, truth be told, would as soon hoist the Stanley Cup as the Best Male Actor Oscar he won for 'Gladiator' in 2000.

Russell got his chance on Wednesday, May 17 when the Stanley Cup arrived in New York to spend some time with the actor. Before a performance at the New York Society for Ethical Culture with his band, The Ordinary Fear of God, Russell Crowe arrived wearing a Leafs ball cap and sporting a Toronto Maple Leafs bag, and thoroughly enjoyed examining and posing for photos with the most recognizable trophy in sports.

That night, the Cup made an appearance at the Maxim Hot 100 List party held in New York's Buddha Club. The Stanley Cup was carried down the red carpet and was greeted by thousands of flashes as onlookers took shots of hockey's ultimate reward. Lindsay Lohan, who was third on the Hot 100 List, was among those who attended the party, as were 'Veronica Mars's' Kristen Bell and Dhani Jones of the NFL Philadelphia Eagles. At a party that included hockey's Stanley Cup, it seemed only appropriate that actor/rapper Ice T (ahem) would also be in attendance.

Kevin Shea is the Editor of Publications and On-Line Features at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
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