Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Trevor Daley devised the plan years ago. All he needed was the Stanley Cup to hatch it.
Daley accomplished that last month when the Penguins defeated the San Jose Sharks in the Stanley Cup Final, meaning that his plan for what he’d do on his day with the Cup would finally come to fruition.
Unlike other major league sports, each player on a Stanley Cup-winning team gets to have the championship trophy for a day to do whatever. Phil Pritchard, the Hockey Hall of Fame’s white-gloved Keeper of the Cup, accompanies the trophy on a summer-long journey through Canada, the United States, Russia, wherever a championship player resides.
“I’m going to bring the cup back home to where I grew up and around my neighborhoods that I grew up around playing hockey,” Toronto native Daley told Texas’ SportsDay earlier this month. “I can’t wait. Like I said, I’ve been thinking about that day for a really long time. Now that it’s come true it’s amazing.”
Daley took Stanley on a mini whistle-stop tour of sorts during his Cup time that stretched Friday into Saturday. First stop: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, where he played major junior hockey for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League before the Dallas Stars made him their second round pick in the 2002 NHL Draft.
Then it was on to home town Toronto for some public and private quality time with Lord Stanley’s trophy.
The Penguins’ Stanley Cup victory capped a bittersweet 2015-16 season for Daley. He was traded from the Stars to the Chicago Blackhawks before the season began, then dealt by the Hawks after 29 games to the Penguins.
He skated with a heavy heart as his mother, Trudy Daley, battled cancer. Her dying wish was to see her son hoist the Cup. Penguins team captain Sidney Crosby made sure that happened, handing Daley the Cup first even though Daley missed the San Jose series because of a broken ankle.
He was all smiles as he skated briefly and gingerly with the 123-year-old, 35-pound trophy that has the names of 2,000 Cup-winning players and coaches inscribed on it.
“She was pumped, she was excited,” Daley told SportsDay. “She got to see my son out there on the ice with me too so she was really excited about the whole situation. She said before the game …’It’d be nice if they win this for you tonight so you can come home and see me soon.'”
A week later, Trudy Daley passed away at age 51.
She didn’t live to see her son’s day with the Stanley Cup. But, as part of a plan he devised so long ago, Trevor Daley’s family, friends, and others he encountered along his hockey journey had a chance to bask in Lord Stanley’s silvery glow.
“The day after he won the Stanley Cup, he called me and said ‘the Cup is coming home,’” Ryan Land, who organized a Cup-viewing for Daley at The Spice Route bar in Toronto, told The Toronto Sun. “Two weeks later, he called me with a date and said ‘plan me a Stanley Cup party and here’s what I want to do.”
When the names of the 2015-16 Penguins players are added to the Cup, Daley will join the small fraternity of black players with their names immortalized on the trophy: goaltender Grant Fuhr (Edmonton Oilers – 1985, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990), goalie Ray Emery (Chicago Blackhawks – 2013), defenseman Johnny Oduya (Blackhawks – 2013, 2015), wing Dustin Byfuglien (Blackhawks – 2010), and netminder Eldon “Pokey” Reddick(Oilers – 1990).