Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals 2004: 35
The Stanley Cup Journal

Soon, two Grahames will have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup. John, who'll have his name added with the 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning, tips Lord Stanley's Cup so his Mom, Charlotte, can take a celebratory sip. Charlotte already has her name carved into the Cup as a member of the championship 2001 Colorado Avalanche organization.
John Grahame's family comprises quite the amazing hockey story. John is, of course, a netminder with the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning. His brother, Jason, is a scout with the Colorado Avalanche. Mom, Charlotte, is the Senior Director of Hockey Administration with the Avalanche. Dad, Ron, was also an NHL goaltender, guarding the crease with the World Hockey Association's Houston Aeros as well as Boston, Los Angeles and Quebec in the NHL. But John is not the first to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup. That honour goes to Charlotte, whose name is etched on the Cup's silver base following the Colorado Avalanche championship in 2001. Now, son John can boast of being the second in his family to cop the Cup.

On Saturday, August 14, the Stanley Cup arrived in Denver, Colorado and was greeted by John and his family in a Hummer limo. They took the Cup over to the University of Denver, where his father works as an athletic administrator. As the Hummer pulled up in front, a bagpiper piped John and the Stanley Cup into the reception being held there. One of those first in line to meet John and the Cup was Granny Grahame, who had flown in from Victoria to help celebrate her grandson's special victory.

The reception was outstanding and first-class in every manner. Each table was set with champagne glasses, specially designed with John's #47 and '2004 Stanley Cup champion.' Jason Grahame made a wonderful, emotional speech that attendees will remember for some time. The family was also raising money for Garth Brooks' Teammates for Kids Foundation.

A bagpiper welcomed John Grahame to a reception at the University of Denver, where his father starred as a goaltender and now is an athletic administrator.
John and his family took the Stanley Cup back to the house for a catered barbecue. After lunch, party-goers drank Dom Perignon out of the Cup. John's father refused to take a sip. "Hey guys," he started. "I didn't win the Stanley Cup, so I have no right to drink champagne out of it." Friends goaded Ron to take a drink. "C'mon, Ron. Your wife and your son have won the Cup so you have every right in the world to take a celebration drink for your family." Ron remained steadfast in his decision. "I'll tell you what. If Jason ever brings the Cup home (as a member of the Avalanche organization), then, I'll drink out of the Cup, but until then, uh uh."

The family went down to the basement where, for so many years as youngsters, John and Jason played ball hockey. The brothers decided to take shots on each other. Jason proposed a little wager. "Okay John, you'll owe me twenty bucks for every shot I can put behind you!" "You're on," responded John. The brothers fired shot after shot at each other, flashing back to a time twelve or thirteen years ago when they would have done the same thing. But back then, they would have dreamed of capturing the Stanley Cup — now they actually had it there in their midst!

A coterie of Cup celebrants winged from Denver to Vegas to enjoy John Grahame's day with hockey's Holy Grail. The netminder's seat-mate may have been inanimate, but was John's first choice for the
hour-and-a-half trip.
All of a sudden, a spontaneous hockey game broke out. The gang was having a blast, and Ron Grahame was playing goal for one team when he got a brutal sliver in his toe. One of John's friends, Dr. John Sandoval, happened to be there and he helped John's Dad. So did Travis Daly, an ortho tech as well as a next door neighbour. They sewed up Ron's toe up with a couple of stitches, with hockey Dad Ron smirking and breaking everybody up by quoting 'Slapshot' -- "Old time hockey!"

At 4:00 that afternoon, a limo bus drove John and nine friends and family members to a hangar where a private plane had been chartered to take the group to Las Vegas, accompanied by the Stanley Cup. The revelers were very mindful of the rules set out for the Stanley Cup in regards to gambling — something like 'Thou shalt not carry Lord Stanley's mug into an establishment that engageth in wagering.'

John Grahame sat with the Cup on the hour-and-a-half flight to the bright lights of Vegas. They were met in the Nevada playground by two stretch limousines for the partiers and the Stanley Cup plus an SUV for luggage and the Cup's case, all provided by the Palms Hotel. There was no mistaking the vehicles — all are Kermit the Frog green!

In Las Vegas, John met the public, who were anxious to see him and the Stanley Cup. Then, he enjoyed a spectacular meal, a great club and a sensational party in the MTV
Real Life suite.
From 7:00 until 9, John signed autographs and posed for pictures with the Stanley Cup in a ballroom outside the casino. Then, the group retired to an absolutely incredible dinner at the very exclusive restaurant, N9NE. This restaurant, pronounced 'nine,' was the spot where Britney Spears celebrated her post-wedding, pre-annulment dinner. The menu was out of this world — filet mignon, New York strip, lambchops, lobster tails, shrimps, oysters, fettucine, crabcakes, lobster mashed potatoes, Caesar salad, an awesome appetizer called Garbage Salad and chocolate-dipped strawberries. Thirty-five people enjoyed the meal of a lifetime. Others in the restaurant who came over to see the Stanley Cup were designers Chip and Pepper as well as a member of Keanu Reeves' band, Dogstar.

Within the Palms is a club called Rain, and John decided to take the Cup there to party. So that it would never get too close to the casino, Lord Stanley's silver legacy was boxed up so it could be taken from N9NE to Rain. The group celebrated with the Stanley Cup in a private cabana until two in the morning. Then, they went upstairs to a suite they had reserved — the same one used in MTV's Real Life program. The party was outstanding — the suite was wall to wall people helping Grahame celebrate Tampa Bay's victory. But like all good things, this rollicking revelry also had to come to its logical conclusion, and at five in the morning, the Stanley Cup was carefully packed away and spirited off to the airport for its next adventure.

On Sunday, August 15 at noon, the Stanley Cup arrived in Sioux City, Iowa for Ruslan Fedotenko's second round with the historic hockey trophy. Fedotenko had enjoyed a day with the Cup back home in Kiev, Ukraine mid-way through July, and now was able to celebrate at his home is Sioux City, where he played hockey upon first arriving in North America in 1998.

Ruslan set the Cup up in the Tyson Events Centers Gateway Arena; the home of the USHL's Sioux City Musketeers. More than 3,000 attended the celebration. It was a whirlwind weekend for Sioux City — President Bush had been there the night before.

Ruslan then took the Stanley Cup to a private party in the country. Photographs were taken of the Cup set on a wagon while Fedotenko's guests enjoyed a catered meal and drank champagne out of Cup's bowl. At 2AM, the Stanley Cup was off again — surprisingly, not suffering from jet lag in the slightest.

On Monday, we'll continue the Stanley Cup's travels with a visit to Brad Lukowich's home in Cranbrook, British Columbia, and you'll read about it here in Stanley Cup Journal.

Kevin Shea is the Manager of Special Projects at the Hockey Hall of Fame and author of 'Barilko — Without a Trace' to be published October 2004.

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