Lain's Log

Crazy for the Cup

May 29/13.

As we head into the NHL Conference Finals, it was fun for me to be in the presence of the Stanley Cup this morning inside the 6th floor auditorium at Princess Margaret Hospital.

My old friend, Kevin Shea, of the PMHF Public Relations Department, invited me attend, due to my involvement with the hospital through my breast cancer treatment there. Kevin is also known as a hockey expert and archaeologist who has written 12 popular hockey books.

His latest is Derek Sanderson - Crossing the Line.

His idea was to bring the Stanley Cup to the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and ask fans to pay ten bucks to have their picture taken with the massive silver trophy. All money raised goes to cancer research.

I promptly plunked down my ten dollar bill, posed for a pic and even got to touch the treasured trophy!

In an interview, Kevin told me, "Just to see people getting a chance to be up close and personal, yourself included, me included, some of the folks taking pictures, touching the engravings on it in the same way their favourite players have touched it in the past, it's a real thrill. And the fact that it's raising money for cancer research is all the better."

Mike Bolt, the Hockey Hall of Fame's official keeper of the Cup for the past 14 years has taken the Stanley Cup all over the world and is always astounded at the reaction of fans. "I've seen tears of joy," he says, "people crying just because they're close to it, I've seen them giddy to starstruck. It's one of the most powerful inanimate objects on the planet."

Kevin was lucky enough to be the keeper of the cup for a while. His first assignment was to board a plane and take the cup to St. John's, Newfoundland. Everything went well, until it was time to come home to Toronto. "I loaded the case into the plane and when we landed, I waited by the luggage racks - no cup! No cup! I finally went to the information booth and said, 'Listen, I think there's a problem, I'm missing the Stanley Cup'. All of a sudden, people were running around like crazy, saying, 'What? The Stanley Cup has been stolen'!

As it turned out, the Cup had been removed from the cargo hold because the plane was too heavy. (the Cup weighs 15.5 kilograms, not counting the weight of the carrying case)! Several flights later, about 8 at night, the Cup finally showed up, much to Kevin's great relief!

"It was my very first time with the Cup and I thought I'd lost it," he comments. "I thought it was going to be my ONLY time with it!"

Toronto businessman Tom Stewart (aka "Captain Canada") was among the fans who dressed up for his closeup with the Cup. Another fan, Jim McHugh, didn't even flinch when he saw the colourful costume, telling me, we should all be proud because, "It's the most beautiful trophy in professional sports and the hardest to win."  When I asked McHugh what makes the Stanley Cup so important to him, he responded, "It's Canadian and so am I. It is Canada's trophy. Plain and simple."

As for Kevin Shea's Sanderson book, he's excited to report it's being made into a movie. Shea says with pride, "It's going to be filmed in Boston in July and August. Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell's son, (Wyatt Russell) is going to be playing Bobby Orr. Ed Burns is one of the producers and he's also playing Derek Sanderson's father".

" Sanderson himself is going to be played by Logan Marshall-Green". (Prometheus, The OC)

Kevin Shea admits things couldn't be better for him right now. "I guess sometimes we're looked upon with blessings, so it's been good, it's been fun," he remarks modestly.

"I couldn't ask for anything more to be able to be around hockey and also to raise money for cancer research, which is so important to me personally and certainly to the larger community."

Thanks for inviting me today, Kevin. I was glad to be a part of your special event. May the best team win!

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