Trevor Daley didn’t want to go para-sailing, mountain-climbing or club hopping with the Stanley Cup.
Instead of going buck-wild with the Cup, as some players who win it do on their designated day with Lord Stanley, the former Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman arranged a decidedly buck-mild 24 hours with the championship trophy.
“Not too crazy this year with it, try to stay a little bit more low-key than last year,” said Daley, who dashed around to show the Cup off to as many friends, family and well-wishers as possible in his hometown Toronto area after the Penguins won it in the 2015-16 season. “I was, like, ‘Man, I shared it with everybody else, I never got a chance to sit down and just stare at it’ and be, like, wow this is what you accomplished.’ My family, my kids never got a chance to sit down and hang out with it.”
Back-to-back Stanley Cup victories allowed Daley the opportunity to rectify that situation.
“My son’s birthday party just passed, but we told him that part of his birthday party would be hanging out with the Cup with a couple of his buddies in Toronto,” the veteran defenseman told me.
Daley still managed to make time for a couple of public stops with the Cup Wednesday to show appreciation to the local folks who appreciate him. The kids at Toronto Professional Hockey School, a camp Daley attended as a minor hockey player, got a glimpse of the trophy many of the camp’s current attendees hope to some day hoist.
The Whitchurch- Stouville Fire and Emergency Services also got a visit from Daley and the Cup.
Unlike other major league sports, each player on a Stanley Cup-winning team gets to have the trophy for a day to do whatever. Phil Pritchard, the Hockey Hall of Fame’s white-gloved Keeper of the Cup, accompanies it on a summer-long journey.
The well-polished silver Cup and the gloved-one will travel thousands of miles through seven countries – the United States, Canada, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Germany, and Switzerland – in 100 days for players, coaches, and key staff from 2016-17 Penguins to savor for a day.
The team’s 2015-16 Cup win has a special place in Daley’s heart. He was the first player Penguins captain Sidney Crosby handed the Cup to after the team defeated the San Jose Sharks, even though Daley missed the Stanley Cup Final because of a broken ankle.
Crosby knew that it was a dream of Daley’s ailing mother, Trudy, to see her son hoist the Cup. Trudy Daley passed away a week later at age 51.
“Last year was obviously tough – the timing of the injury,” he told me. “But it did allow me to spend some more time with my mom. If I was playing, I wouldn’t been allowed to spend that much time with her. Looking back, having won the Cup, it was kind of a blessing that I got to spend some time with her last year.”
Daley, 33, said this year’s Cup is a little more special because he was able to play in the Final.
“Having gone through it twice now, back-to-back, I definitely felt more a part of it this year,” he told me. “Last year was very unfortunate, getting hurt and missing it. I remember after last year, I always thought about getting back to this point, and I was fortunate to get back to it so soon. I always thought about playing in the Final to see what it was like on that stage.”
Daley will perform on a different stage in the 2017-18 season. A free agent, he signed a three-year, $9.53 million contract with the Detroit Red Wings in early July. He moves to a new team, a new town and will play in a brand new arena.
“I’m excited for the new challenge and new opportunity,” he told me. “I had never been through the process of free agency before and didn’t know what to expect. When Detroit came calling, I was pretty excited about – just the history of the franchise. They were one of the first teams to come to me and show interest in me.”
Daley stressed that he’s joining a team that’s retooling, not rebuilding. The Red Wings finished the 2016-17 season with a 33-36-13 record and missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in 25 years.
Red Wings management and fans don’t expect that to happen again. Neither does Daley. He believes the Wings are “a team that wants to win, has a little chip on its shoulder, and is ready to make some noise next year.”
“I want to come in and be a guy who makes an impact right away, helps out in multiple areas” he told me. “I’m a guy that can add a little bit of offense and help push the pace a little bit – that’s what the league is about. I want to be able to bring all the right things that takes to help the team win each night and do it consistently.”
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound defenseman tallied 5 goals and 14 assists in 56 regular season games last season. He had a goal and 4 assists in 21 playoff games.
The 14-season vet has 78 goals and 200 assists in 894 career regular season games with the Penguins, Dallas Stars and Chicago Blackhawks and 6 goals and 12 assists in 71 career playoff contests.
Daley is one of only seven black players to have their names inscribed on the Stanley Cup. The others are goaltender Grant Fuhr, Edmonton Oilers, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990; goalie Eldon “Pokey” Reddick, Oilers, 1990; goalie Ray Emery, Blackhawks, 2013; defenseman Johnny Oduya, Blackhawks, 2013, 2015; right wing Jamal Mayers, Blackhawks, 2013; defenseman Dustin Byfuglien, Blackhawks, 2010.
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