*This is the fifth feature of a special multi-part LAKings.com content series featuring various members of the Kings organization as the Stanley Cup makes its way around the world throughout the summer.*
In 2012, when the LA Kings won their first Stanley Cup Championship, center Jarret Stoll, then a first time champion himself, believed he had the perfect day with the Cup. And why wouldn’t he have? He had his whole life to dream it.
Fast forward to 2014. The Kings have won their second Cup in three seasons, and Stoll has the opportunity to spend some quality time with Lord Stanley once again.
“Two years ago I did it in my hometown, did the whole parade, the big party for 1200 people, plus the public event, so this time I wanted to do something a little bit different, a little bit smaller, a little more chill,” explained the 32-year old NHL veteran.
Stoll started off tour number two at 8:00 A.M. on Sunday, August 3, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, which is about a three-hour drive from his hometown of Neudorf.
“I graduated from high school [in Saskatoon], I played my midget AAA hockey there, and lived there for three or four years. During that time I was playing junior hockey in British Columbia, but I’d always go back to Saskatoon, as my parents were living there at the time, and when I go back home I spend a lot of time there now because a lot of my friends live there,” described Stoll, about his ties to the city.
The first stop was the Royal University Hospital, where Stoll made visits to staff, patients and their families, and allowed them to take photos with the Cup. During the summers, Stoll hosts a charity golf tournament from which proceeds benefit children and families of Royal University Hospital.
For a couple hours in the afternoon, following the hospital visit, Stoll held a public viewing for the Stanley Cup where he allowed photos to be taken with the trophy. The event was held along the riverbank in Saskatoon.
“It was about 75 to 80 degrees and sunny so just perfect weather,” Stoll observed.
All of Stoll’s family who came into Saskatoon for the celebration was staying at the same hotel, and during the evening, Stoll held a private party for about 250 family and friends in a garden behind the hotel. The festivities included dinner, drinking out of the Cup, and many photos. Stoll’s guest list included his good friend Scott Hartnell of the Columbus Blue Jackets, as well as some of his old coaches, and his billet family from his junior hockey days, among others.
“This time around, myself, my family, my friends, we all got to see my name on the Cup, and that was something that nobody had seen before, so that was cool. It was also cool that I wore my ring for the two days, so it was cool to show people my ring and put the ring beside the Cup and take some cool photos,” shared Stoll. “Those were things that were pretty special.”
The next morning, Stoll and his very large family – his mom is one of nine children – had brunch at the hotel with the Stanley Cup as their guest of honor, after which they had some friends join them as they rented a double-decker riverboat. Filling the boat at its capacity of 120, they enjoyed the view of the city and were able to relax from the chaos of the day before.
Stoll’s final adventure with the Cup included eight buddies, a golf course, and one of his favorite pastimes. The group was able to get some fun shots of the Cup on the course before the Cup Keepers took the trophy to the next destination.
“Once you go through it the first time you know how lucky you are, so you realize it might not happen again, but you definitely hope it does,” said Stoll about winning the Cup. “It’s a lot of fun, both times around were unbelievable experiences. I’m sure a lot of guys are going to say they did things a little differently than two years ago, and I think that’s normal, but nonetheless it’s a great time and a good experience and fun memories to always remember.”
The Cup parties aren’t the only way the 2014 championship differs from the one in 2012. Having played a part in some of the most nerve-wracking hours in many a Kings fan’s lives, Stoll can appreciate what it took to earn his second championship ring, as he called this year’s run “exhausting.”
“It was two totally different experiences,” describes Stoll. “Obviously the same goal and the same outcome, and the same celebration, but the adversity was definitely there numerous times and our close-knit group had to be tested, tested way more than it did two years ago. For us to come through and get over those hills and those challenges, it was remarkable how we did it.”
Praise for the Kings’ astounding run has come from even the most unlikely of sources, as Stoll experienced on his way back from a trip to Italy just before his day with the Cup. Coming through customs at JFK airport in New York, the agent, after asking Stoll his occupation, admitted he was a New York Rangers fan.
“We were talking about the series for about five or 10 minutes,” shared Stoll. “It was pretty easy to get through that customs line, he was very good about it and praised our team, so that was pretty cool.”
After his day with the Cup, Stoll hopped on a flight to attend the wedding of former King and current Vancouver Canuck, Brad Richardson, who got married in Georgian Bay, just north of Toronto, Ontario. Following what has already been an exciting summer for Stoll, he is back in Los Angeles, anticipating the start of training camp in September.
Having already had two memorable experiences with the Stanley Cup, there is no intention of stopping there.
Join the conversation on Twitter with the NHL, LA Kings and the Hockey Hall of Fame for their summer with Stanley by using the hashtag #StanleyCup
LA Kings: @LAKings
LA Kings PR: @LAKingsPR
Cup Keepers: @KeeperOfTheCup
Hockey Hall of Fame: @HockeyHallFame
Deborah Lew: @by_DeborahLew
For photos of the Kings’ summer with Stanley, view the Hockey Hall of Fame’s ‘Stanley Cup Journal’ CLICK HERE
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