He doesn’t have to do it. As a matter of fact, none of them HAVE to do anything. But the fact that they continue to do so year after year, in a ritual that has now come as much of a tradition as winning it, it’s a gesture that is welcomed by all and cherished by many.
Sharing the Stanley Cup with family and friends is one thing…but to open it up and allow the rest of us shlubs to get our picture taken with it? That’s a mighty fine gesture.
(video courtesy of Rebels This Week)
As former Red Deer Rebel Colin Fraser arrived in Sylvan Lake with Lord Stanley’s Cup Wednesday afternoon, I shouldn’t have been surprised with the absolute mob scene that surrounded him as he stepped off his boat, the Cup in hand. The Cup (as it’s lovingly referred to) is the Holy Grail to many in this hockey-mad country and it’s not everyday that the average Joe gets to see it up close, let alone get a picture with it and have the player who won it sign an autograph for you.
Sure, you can see it whenever you want when you’re at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, and I’ve seen it there on a couple of occasions myself. But that doesn’t compare to the sight of seeing a player who spilled blood, sweat and tears over the course of 10 months raise it in front of a large group of adoring fans.
Like I said, Fraser didn’t have to arrange for an autograph/picture session yesterday.
These players, for all of their hard work and efforts on winning the trophy, only get to spend a measly 24 hours with The Cup. I understand why…with so many people who helped put in the time, including off ice officials, to make the dream possible…but it still seems tough to imagine that the men who were on the ice winning it only get to enjoy the fruits of their labour for 24 hours.
(we’re not including the millions of dollars some of them get paid, but you get the idea)
So, while they’re fully within their right to keep The Cup at home, sleep with it, eat cereal out of it and basically do whatever they want with it…more often than not these players take what they receive for such a short window of time and share it with those of us who have no right in even touching Lord Stanley but allow us to do so anyhow.
Other players take The Cup to hospitals to show sick patients who may never get the opportunity to walk again, or win their battle with cancer and that single gesture is enough to lift their spirits, even if it is for a short period of time. Some players take Lord Stanley back to their hometown and have a party with all of their family and friends as a ‘thank you’ for all of the help along the way.
So what’s The Cup doing in Sylvan Lake, Alberta?
Colin Fraser doesn’t hail from Sylvan. He’s a BC boy, straight from the shores of Sicamous. That’s where The Cup ventured when Fraser earned it for the first time as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks. But things are different now. Fraser announced yesterday that Central Alberta was home for him. After spending four years as a Rebel, and meeting his wife (who is a born and bred a Sylvan Laker) he feels that the Lake is now home, which is where he and his family plan to spend their off-seasons and raise their family.
The town has enjoyed Derek Morris as it’s NHL ambassador over the past 15 years and have been very proud of his representation. Sylvan’s always had their adopted sons, including Trent Hunter, the Sutter’s, Vandermeer’s and others. But now, it welcomes one more member into the family, as Colin Fraser cements his status as a full time Laker with all of those who came out to support him.
Sylvan Lake…Red Deer…Central Alberta…it doesn’t really matter does it?
The mere fact Fraser decided to share his very limited time with the most cherished prize in all of professional sports…it speaks volumes. Trophy or not, he enhanced his status as a champion among thousands of fans, with one small gesture.