Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Kris Letang's Stanley Cup Journal Entry August 2009

We'll start with Kris Letang, who enjoyed his day with the Stanley Cup on Wednesday, August 5. Just after 8:00AM, the Cup arrived at his home in Montreal, Quebec. Family pictures were taken with Lord Stanley's silver chalice while Kris's mother had a terrific breakfast of apple and cheese crepes. Kris's Mom and stepfather drank Mimosas (champagne and orange juice) from the Stanley Cup, but Kris refused to take even a sip.

Kris showed a scrapbook that had been made covering his career to date, including the Stanley Cup run. An amusing letter included came from the desk of Jack Lambert, who won four Super Bowls in his 11-season career as middle-linebacker with football's Pittsburgh Steelers. "If you plan on making #58 famous in Pittsburgh, you've got a long way to go," wrote the member of both the 1970s and 1980s All-Decade Teams.

To be candid, winning the Stanley Cup was a melancholy experience for Letang. He was unable to share the exhilaration with his best friend, Luc Bourdon, who died in a motorcycle accident just over a year earlier (May 29, 2008). Kris had befriended the Vancouver Canuck when they played together in junior with the Val d'Or Foreurs. Nevertheless, he dedicated the win to his friend and used his ability to raise money with the Stanley Cup to support the Luc Bourdon Foundation, which gives youngsters better access to sports.

A close friend who had played hockey with Kris since they were young boys dropped by to celebrate with Kris. Yes, Marc-Andre showed up to congratulate his long-time friend. No, not THAT Marc-Andre — the Penguins’ goaltender dropped by to celebrate with Letang later that evening.

Kris stopped by Kasual Clothing, owned and operated by friends. He spent a couple of hours at the St. Bruno location, meeting customers and staff and having his picture taken with the Stanley Cup.

A special reception had been planned for Letang and the Stanley Cup when they arrived in Ste-Julie, an off-island suburb of Montreal. Welcomed by Mayor Suzanne Roy, Kris signed the 'Golden Book,' then answered questions posed by the media. Photos were taken with civic employees while sandwiches were served.

Kris made a passionate speech about the incredible support he received from the community. "They say that in Ste-Julie, like everywhere else in Quebec, hockey is suffering. I want the kids to take away a thought from my visit with the Stanley Cup here today -- anything is possible. I was never a star in minor hockey, but I worked hard and stayed at it and I not only made the National Hockey League but today, I bring you the Stanley Cup!"

More than 3,000 people waited for Kris's arrival at the arena. He drove with the Stanley Cup down the centre aisle on a golf cart, welcomed by a tumultuous cheer. There was a gated area where special members of the local minor hockey association met the local hero.

There were so many people in the crowd that individual photos with the Stanley Cup so Kris decided to do 'team pictures,' asking 6 to 8 people at a time to pose with the glorious trophy. Even then, the event went on to close to four hours. Donations amounting to $5,000 went to the Luc Bourdon Foundation.

Needing to relax, Kris went back to his Mom and stepfather's house for an hour before heading off to a great meal at Le Vieux Four. There, at a private party, Kris and his guests, numbering almost 150, enjoyed the Mediterranean grill, pizza, sushi and pasta. Each person got a picture taken with the Stanley Cup, including his teammate and friend, Marc-Andre Fleury.

At 11:00PM, Letang headed down to St. Laurent, and took the Stanley Cup to Buonanotte, an incredible nightclub. Hundreds of people were there, and the excitement grew to such a pitch that the local police had to escort Kris and the Cup away from the horde of fans.

The constables took Kris and the Cup into a nearby alley and were only too happy to get pictures with the Pittsburgh Penguins star and the Stanley Cup.

Kris's time was just about up when he exclaimed, "Wait! Do you realize that today is the fifth day of the eighth month of the year? That makes today 5/8. And what's my number? 58!"

Some things are just meant to be!

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