Within the next few weeks one NHL GM is going to add some exciting items to his standard to-do list.
He is going to have to make arrangements with his captain for the whereabouts and safekeeping of Lord Stanley’s Cup following its presentation to the victorious team. (Well after our dressing room celebration following our Cup win in Tampa in 2004, we took it to one of the private restaurants in the St. Pete Times Forum where our players, coaches, staff and their families enjoyed it until the wee hours of the morning, after which captain Dave Andreychuk took it to his home.)
The day after winning the Cup, the GM will attend a meeting with Bernadette Mansur, senior vice-president of communications for the NHL, and Phil Pritchard, vice-president and curator of the Hockey Hall of Fame, to learn all about the rules, regulations, costs, logistics, expectations, requirements and idiosyncrasies of spending the summer with the Stanley Cup.
The GM will establish the process to be used by the organization in determining where and when the Cup will travel with each person in the club’s hockey operations department. The GM, or his designee, will solicit input from the players, coaches and staff members as to their “preferred” date(s) with the Cup and management will then attempt to map out a “route” that makes both logistical and economic sense.
Similarly, the GM will determine which players, coaches and staff get a day with the Cup and who, by virtue of their seniority or status (or contribution to winning it), will be fortunate enough to spend more than a day with the silver chalice. (Andreychuk, Tim Taylor, Darryl Sydor, Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards, Martin St-Louis and Nikolai Khabibulin, among others, enjoyed more than one day with the Cup in the summer of 2004.)
Of course, before the Cup even begins its summer trek it will be needed in the championship team’s city. Whether it be for a formal victory parade, parking lot tailgate party, a VIP event for season ticket holders and sponsors, or a few dozen visits to special points of interest in the local community – the Cup will spend a couple of weeks in the champ’s back yard. (In addition to a formal downtown parade in Tampa in 2004, the Cup also made appearances at MacDill Air Force Base, The Kennedy Space Center and numerous area hospitals and children’s charities.)
At some point, when someone in the organization is upset they aren’t getting enough time with the Cup, or when the Cup doesn’t make it to its designated location because of airline issues, etc., the GM and/or his designee may actually look upon the duty of scheduling the Cup as a chore or burden.
However, trust me, that will pass quickly, because the truth is there is no greater, more enjoyable, more exhilarating job responsibility for an NHL GM than being fortunate enough to book Lord Stanley’s summer travel schedule.
Jay Feaster is a former GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning, where he took over in 2002 and helped build the team into a Stanley Cup champion in 2004. As he did last season, he will blog on THN.com throughout the 2008-09 campaign. Read his other entries HERE.