Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 29
The Stanley Cup Journal

At the botanical garden in Vancouver, Andrew Ladd raised the Stanley Cup in his finest celebratory pose. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
When you're a first round draft pick, there are great expectations, and with 6'2", 200 pound Andrew Ladd, the Carolina Hurricanes are confident they'll have good reason to believe that this 2006 Stanley Cup championship might just be the first of several.

After starting the season with the AHL Lowell Lock Monsters, Ladd was called up to the big club to make his NHL debut in November, but the excitement was diffused somewhat when Andrew suffered a knee injury on December 3. After his recuperative stint lasted 18 games, Ladd returned to Lowell and was there until he was recalled by Carolina for their playoff run. With Erik Cole out with a broken neck, Coach Laviolette was looking to add size, speed and scoring into the lineup down the stretch. Ladd, from Maple Ridge, BC, delivered 6 goals and 11 points in his 29-game rookie stint with the Hurricanes. But it was in the playoffs that Andrew earned his keep, looking like he was a seasoned veteran through 17 games, and collecting 5 points in the process.

It's a great welcome to the big time — your name on the Stanley Cup!

When you're young, athletic, successful and good looking, you need to travel with a whole lot of security. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
Maple Ridge, British Columbia truly is the best of all worlds. Only about a half hour away from Vancouver, Maple Ridge sits on the gorgeous banks of the Fraser River in a largely rural region that boasts of mountains to the north and the fertile Fraser Valley to the east. Originally known as Port Haney, the heritage community was renamed after pioneer John McIver built his farm on a beautiful maple-lined ridge above the Fraser. Sitting in the shadow of two mountain peaks known as the Golden Ears, peaceful Maple Ridge today is known as the 'horse capital of British Columbia.'

The Stanley Cup flew into Vancouver on Wednesday, August 23. Waiting excitedly were Andrew, his Mom, Dad and brother. An SUV limo was waiting, and whisked the Ladds to the VanDusen Botanical Garden for some family photos amongst the flora and fauna. Andrew took great delight in having his picture taken with the Stanley Cup under a giant rhubarb. "I've never seen a sucker that size," he commented. One last shot was taken standing in front of a miniature waterfall.

In a hockey career that is only just beginning, Andrew has already reached several plateaus only dreamed of by most. In 2005, he was part of the gold medal-winning Canadian World Junior squad, and in 2006, won the most treasured trophy in professional hockey. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
From there, the group visited British Columbia's Children's Hospital to meet many of the kids who were in awe that a 'real, live hockey player' and the 'real, live Stanley Cup' were there for them to see.

Andrew and his family then drove home, just over thirty minutes away, to Maple Ridge. The town had big plans for their boy and his Cup, and more than 2,000 fans waited in the town square for Andrew and hockey's championship trophy to arrive. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police led Andrew and the Stanley Cup riding in a convertible in a parade through Maple Ridge that ended in the square. Wearing his Canadian World Junior gold medal around the neck of the Stanley Cup, Ladd stepped to the podium, soaking in the applause that seemed to refuse to die. Pictures with the Stanley Cup were offered to visitors, with money going to minor hockey in the area. A question and answer forum took place, with CBC Television covering the event.

Back at his parents' home, where a catered affair was in progress, Andrew scurried through the yard to see his 88-year-old grandfather. A World War II veteran, Grandpa is in great shape, and golfed his age last year. The event carried on through the afternoon and into the evening.

Andrew could barely wait to get home so he could show his grandfather the Stanley Cup they had talked about together for so many years.
(Mike Bolt/HHOF)
That night at 10:30, Andrew had rented a party bus to take him, his brother and friends, along with the Stanley Cup, of course, clubbing. The converted school bus was sensational — a nightclub on wheels, complete with benches along the side, poles in the middle, flashing lights and the beat of Andrew's favourite music pumping as the bus rolled on down the highway. Andrew and his pals partied at some nightclubs until the wee hours of the morning. It had been a great celebration for the rookie — family, friends and fun. Quite a memorable day.

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The pages of the Stanley Cup Journal next turn to the entry for Craig Adams, and on Tuesday, you'll read about his day in Calgary with the Stanley Cup.

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Kevin Shea is the Hockey Hall of Fame's Editor of Publications and Online Features.
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