Tuesday I was lucky enough to be allowed to tag along to Justin Abdelkader’s private party with the Stanley Cup. Some people in my family are friends with people in his family and it worked out that I was able to go to the party with them.
A few of my thoughts on what I saw of Justin’s day with the Cup…
It was really kind of surreal for me because the event was held at Justin’s parents’ house, less than a mile from my grandparents’ house in a neighborhood we used to drive through looking at Christmas lights when I was a kid. We see the Cup all the time at events and in major venues but having time with the Cup allows players to take it back to the neighborhoods where they grew up. I don’t think it struck me just how cool that is until we got there.
If it weren’t for the sign on the garage door pointing people to the back yard with the caption “Lord Stanley,” this could have passed for a birthday or graduation party from the street. Even out back it was incredibly low-key save for the giant silver trophy and the mob of people around it waiting for a photo op.
From the time we arrived until the time the Cup departed for Detroit and Nicklas Lidstrom’s dinner party, Justin stayed with it, posing for photos with friends and family (and the occasional family of friends of the family). He lifted the Cup for people to drink from and carried it around for small children to have their photo taken with. He was supposed to take a break at some point but never did so that people could get all of their pictures in.
The ability to have an event like this is one of the things that makes the NHL special. With everything that’s wrong with the league, it’s still the only one in the world where a guy who played only two games all season and was still in college at the start of the year can share his team’s success like this. That’s just amazing to me.