Today, I touched the Stanley Cup. The actual NHL, top team, big dawg, trophy of trophies, THE Stanley Cup. Unless you have been ignoring me for the last 9 months, you know I dove into the Hockey fandom head first during the 2015-2016 season. Funny thing is, it just so happens the Pittsburgh Penguins, my East Coast faves, won the whole shebang this year (If you follow me on Twitter, I’m sorry I went crazy during playoffs. Hockey season is over til October, I promise).
One of the hockey players on the Penguins is Beau Bennett, a SoCal native from Gardena and the FIRST Californian to ever win the Cup. It’s tradition that each player on the winning team be given a Cup Day; a day when the trophy is flown to where ever the player wants, where he will spend 24 hours with the Cup (and Philip, the Keeper of the Cup, who never leaves his charge), doing whatever he wants. Beau Bennett decided to bring the Cup home, and spent the morning of Friday, July 1 with fans at his home rink in El Segundo, California.
Although Beau was traded (only 3 days ago!) to the New Jersey Devils (meh), he won the Cup as a Penguin and so, I drove down to Los Angeles, sporting my lucky (even MORE lucky, now) Evgeni Malkin shirt and my new Pens snapback, stood in line for 2 hours and drove 6 hours in traffic (both ways) TO SEE THE STANLEY CUP.
Let me tell you. Being a Penguins fan is not easy. Everyone HATES the Penguins, especially the West Coast fans (after they beat the Sharks, I mean, I get it). Still, the Penguins are the best team in the League, with the best hockey players in the world (Geno and Sid. Fight me) on their roster and Beau Bennett brought that home for us to enjoy. Standing in the middle of the Toyota Sports Center, a Kings practice rink, surrounded by about (a thousand? 300? ALOT OF) Kings fans, I did happen upon a few (seriously, only about 5) Pens fans who gave me huge grins and to whom I gushed compliments, but in reality, everyone was there to see the Cup. Well, I was also tasked with rattling off a list of things my fellow hockey fanatics had told me to let Beau know (Yes, I congratulated him on the win and the trade, no I didn’t grab his ass, but I came close). When I finally got the Cup in my sights, after 1.5 hours of waiting in line, I noticed that a number of the Kings fans wanted pictures with only the Cup and not Beau. I took the opportunity to call him over during one of these lulls and snap a selfie (swoon), but soon it was my turn to take my photo with the Cup. I told Beau I wanted a snuggle (yes, I said that) and then I asked him where on the Cup his name would go. It is also a tradition that every winning team gets 52 names engraved onto the silver trophy, and even though Beau only played 33/82 2015-2016 games, he’s been a Pen since 2012 and his name is going right (he pointed it out to me) *there*.
What a surreal moment, not only for me, but for the hundreds of fans that Beau invited to enjoy his Cup Day. Congratulations to Beau Bennett and the Pittsburgh Penguins on the win and thanks for sharing your amazing achievement with your SoCal fans!
Check out the incentives for our SDCC 2016 fundraising campaign here.