During the 2006 playoffs, a series that marked his dogged determination, Kevyn Adams contributed significantly to a Stanley Cup win for his Carolina Hurricanes, but in the process, broke his hand. Although pride and pleasure often take the edge off pain, Kevyn still sports a brace on his hand and worried if he'd be able to lift the Stanley Cup.
On Saturday, July 29, Adams found out.
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Following the on-ice Stanley Cup celebration, the team re-convened. Shorn of playoff beards and still in experiencing a hockey nirvana, Kevyn proudly stepped forward. "Hey guys, I wrote a little poem that I want to read to you. It kinda sums up the way I'm feeling right now."
And so, Kevyn Adams began reciting 'Reflections.'
|"It's the time of the year to recite a few lines
'Cause we spent the last two months chasing the big prize.
At the start of camp, no one gave us a chance.
But look at us now, boys we're the Stanley Cup champs.
We welcomed new faces, we all did our part
And through the year, this team always showed heart.
We're brothers for life over this special bond.
The dream, we all shared as kids on the pond.
As we leave for the summer, just think every day.
We're the Stanley Cup champions and no one can ever, ever take that away!"
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Kevyn Adams, wife Stacey, girls Emerson and Paulina and his parents Ken and Diane welcomed the Stanley Cup to the historic town of Clarence, New York, just northeast of Buffalo. There was no mistaking where the Stanley Cup was going to be on that Saturday besides family and friends, the street was lined with media, including trucks sporting massive television satellites used to send feeds back to the studio.
|Kevyn may have broken his hand during the playoffs, but he had little
trouble lifting the Cup while partying at his summer home at Bemus Point, on Lake Chautauqua, New York. (Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
"It's like the president arrived in Clarence," smiled Kevyn as he drove up to his parents' house. As he pulled into the driveway, a sizeable surge of friends and media swarmed the car. "Over here, Kevyn," hollered a camera person. "This way. Big smile," called out a newspaper photographer. Dutifully and painfully, Kevyn lifted the Stanley Cup over his head, and spontaneous applause erupted up and down the once quiet street.
As Kevyn entered his parents' house, it was akin to the Pied Piper, with everyone following him and the Stanley Cup. Area TV stations were broadcasting live hits as the Adams family had photos taken to commemorate the day.
Kevyn was nine when his family moved into that house, so the area holds great memories, including pivotal dates from his hockey development. "This was my bedroom," started Adams. "I can't tell you the number of times I dreamed about the Stanley Cup from this room." Stepping into the backyard, Kevyn pointed to a pond. "That's where it started. We used to skate by the hour on that pond."
Led by a police escort, Kevyn Adams and his family drove the Stanley Cup to his summer home at Bemus Point, a beautiful area of New York State on Lake Chautauqua, about an hour and a half away from Buffalo. On the drive, Kevyn reverted into the wide-eyed little boy who honed his hockey skills in Clarence. "My name is going to be on the Stanley Cup," he said, incredulously. "I mean, there's Bobby Orr and Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky. My name is going to be on the same Cup as Wayne Gretzky!"
Around the beautiful Bemus Point home, Kevyn had pictures taken in a number of scenarios his girls drinking lemonade out of the Stanley Cup, eating their cereal out of the Cup and stretching out on his hammock, the Stanley Cup nestled in nicely beside him.
|Ahhhh! That's the life! Relaxing in a hammock on a beautiful day at the lake
with a huge vessel for refreshments beside you. (Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
While his party was being prepared, Adams took the Stanley Cup out in his boat, showing locals the trophy he had laid claim to. By later afternoon, Kevyn could see that the party was all but ready and only needed two things its host and its guest of honour.
Invitations to the Adams' Stanley Cup party insisted that guests wear Carolina colours: red, black or white. At 6PM as guests began arriving, there was no doubt that this was a partisan Hurricanes' crowd (as it should be!) A sea of red was everywhere you looked. Two huge tents were set up; one harbouring a bar with tables while the other was home to the Stanley Cup. Game 7 was replayed for invitees, who nibbled on hors d'oeuvres, pasta, cold cuts, cheese and crackers and pastries.
Adams had long begged his agent, Don Meehan, to come visit him at the Bemus Point home. "I'll come and visit when you win the Stanley Cup," he'd repeat like a mantra. Kevyn was ecstatic to see the uber-agent show up for the party.
Kevyn called all the guests over to the tent for speeches. "Thanks everybody," he began. "This is absolutely unbelievable!! I'll get into a few thank yous in a minute, but first, I want to introduce some special entertainment we've brought in especially for this party. Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for my beautiful daughter, Emerson!"
|After 5-year old Emerson performed a sensational rendition of a John Denver
classic, Kevyn spoke passionately, thanking those closest to him for their undying support. Then, it was a celebrated swig from sports greatest trophy. (Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
The five year old wandered out, ready to sing a song. As she sucked in a deep breath, Emerson spun around to Kevyn. "Daddy, I've never sung for so many people before." The guests roared in laughter, and Kevyn leaned down and kissed her forehead. "Go ahead, honey. Sing them your song." Emerson didn't miss a beat, singing John Denver's 'Take Me Home, Country Roads.' "Almost heaven, West Virginia…" As the rendition concluded, the guests clapped and whistled like it was a….like it was a Stanley Cup celebration! Emerson had done an amazing job. "That's my girl," blurted Kevyn proudly.
After his daughter's song, Kevyn stepped forward and said a few words. "I want to thank my Mom for everything she did to help my path to the Stanley Cup. Mom was always so supportive. She always told me how great I'd played. I could have scored 2 goals or been minus 3, it wouldn't have mattered to my Mom. And my Dad…he always ploughed the pond and made me realize he did it because he wanted to, not because he had to. Neither of my parents ever pushed me. They simply supported my efforts, and I want to thank you both tonight because this dream couldn't have happened without you both."
It was a night for emotions of every sort. "And I want to thank my three girls, Stacey, Emerson and Paulina, for all their support, too. Stacey, you picked me up when I needed encouragement and now it's time to celebrate with me, too."
While highlights of the Hurricanes' dream season were screened, the Cup was filled with beer and guests lined up to enjoy a celebratory sip. But just then, a bolt of lightning lit up the sky over Lake Chautauqua. Not long afterwards, a gigantic clap of thunder reverberated through the tents. And then, the wind whipped up. The party paused temporarily as a handful of guests checked on the weather, informing Kevyn of the pending circumstances. "Can I get your attention for a second? Look, a big storm is going to arrive in 8 minutes. But that doesn't mean the party has to stop!"
As if it was a New Year's Eve countdown, the storm hit Bemus Point exactly 8 minutes later. The electricity was turned off as a precaution, and a wonderful glow was emitted solely by way of lightning and camera flashes. But the celebration didn't take a moment's rest. How could it? The Stanley Cup was in the house!
|Adams always dreamed of one day having his name inscribed on the Stanley
Cup. Fascinated with the various spelling flaws on the Cup, he hopes and prays 'Kevyn' is spelled correctly when its his turn to have his name added to posterity. (Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
The storm passed after an hour, but it didn't really matter to the celebrants. Then, a near tragedy was averted at 2:30 in the morning the party had run out of beer! "Don't worry," warned one of Kevyn's friends. "I'll be right back." Sure enough, within half an hour, he arrived back with 5 cases of beer. Although the applause and cheering weren't as substantial as Emerson received for singing John Denver, the beer retriever received a very loud cheer.
"Hang on, I want to be the deejay for a sec," shouted Kevyn. He rifled through his CDs and pulled out 'Fully Completely' by The Tragically Hip, his favourite band. Adams called out to a couple of his buddies: "Come on, let's do 'Wheat Kings.'" The first few licks from the acoustic rock ballad sounded and the boys, arms around each other, sang every word. "Wheat Kings and pretty things. Let's just see what the morning brings." The pals had clearly sung the song on many an occasion. "We've come a long way, boys, haven't we? We used to go cow tipping and now we're Stanley tipping!"
The party continued all night, although the numbers dwindled as the hour hand spun closer and closer to dusk. By 7, six or seven close buddies remained, and they ruminated over Kevyn's winning the Stanley Cup. "Can you believe we're here with the Stanley Cup? This is insane!"
The last of the revellers joined Adams at the Bemus Point Inn for breakfast. After eggs and French toast, Kevyn's pals headed home for sleep, but he insisted that he was going to enjoy every single second of the 24 hours he was entitled to with the Stanley Cup. Adams took the Cup over to the Moon Brook Country Club in nearby Jamestown. There, Kevyn had a picture taken at the first tee, then one on the last green and in the clubhouse.
Every Stanley Cup champion immensely enjoys their day with the Stanley Cup, and treasures the memories for the rest of their life. But few appreciated and enjoyed the experience quite as much as Carolina's Kevyn Adams. Fascinated by the Cup's lore, he spent a great deal of time simply relishing the opportunity to read the names on the Stanley Cup, realizing that come September, his name would be added to that elite list of victors. Kevyn was both appreciative and enthusiastic. When it was time for the Stanley Cup to move on to the next recipient, Adams was sad to see it go. "Let me just hold it for one more minute," he asked, picking it up, sore hand and all, lifting it over his head, then giving it a final kiss.
"I've had the time of my life!"
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The Stanley Cup travels with Martin Gerber over the Alps to Zurich, Switzerland in Friday's installment of Stanley Cup Journal. Don't miss this Swiss installment!
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Kevin Shea writes the Stanley Cup Journal in his role as Editor,
Publications and On-Line Features at the Hockey Hall of Fame.