Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 04
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In 1857, a handful of German immigrants arrived in the United States and settled on 1,165 acres of land about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles. Steeped in agricultural traditions, these farmers discovered that the fertile earth and temperate climate were ideal for growing grapes. The vines flourished, attracting more and more settlers to an area the grape farmers referred to as 'Anaheim', a name likely originating from the settlers' reference to the nearby Santa Ana River and 'heim,' a word derived from the German word for 'home.'

One hundred fifty years later, grapes again played a significant role in Anaheim's history as the franchise celebrated its first ever Stanley Cup championship by guzzling chilled champagne from the bowl of Lord Stanley's Cup.

* * *

On the evening of Tuesday, June 5, the Stanley Cup made the 2,789-mile excursion from Ottawa to Anaheim, flying first into Los Angeles and then was driven to Anaheim. The Cup remained at its hotel, getting polished and preened, until mid-way through the first period, arriving at the Honda Center towards the end of the first period with the Ducks already up 2-0. As the score mounted, the Stanley Cup was kept tucked away in the officials' room by Cup Keepers Phil Pritchard and Craig Campbell of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Anaheim Ducks Captain Scott Niedermayer hoists the Stanley Cup for the fourth time in his career. Prior to being presented the Stanley Cup, Scott Niedermayer was presented with the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player during the 2007 NHL playoffs.
(Craig Campbell/HHOF)
At the end of two periods, Anaheim had opened a 4-2 lead over the Senators. Then, just before the five-minute mark of the third, Ducks' captain Scott Niedermayer fired a wrist shot from the point that was re-directed past Ottawa netminder Ray Emery to give the home team an all but insurmountable 5-2 lead. The loyal locals knew it too, and what began meekly became a full bore chant: 'We want the Cup! We want the Cup!'

They got their wish.

The seconds dragged like decades for both teams; Ottawa just wanting the buzzer to sound to be released from the agony while Anaheim was anxious to begin their celebration. Just then, the Ducks' Corey Perry leaned into a slapshot that wired past Emery on his stick-side. There was no doubt at that point — the Stanley Cup was going to reside in Orange County. The capacity crowd remained on its feet. With ten seconds left, Chris Pronger carried the puck behind his net.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere looked up at the scoreclock and saw that there were two seconds remaining and threw his stick into the air. As Pronger picked up the historic puck, the Ducks, led by Ryan Getzlaf, mobbed their star goalkeeper to the side of his crease.

Last season, Anaheim was Mighty. This year, the unflappable Ducks are the 2007 Stanley Cup champions!

* * *

Although the Ducks appreciated how strong their opponent had been through the five-game final, there were no tears shed by the Ducks over the Senators' loss. The Stanley Cup final had its dramatic storylines involving players so passionate about the game they play that they reached deep within themselves to find ways to beat their opponents. Scott Niedermayer's leadership -- calm and collected. Chris Pronger's intensity saw him watch Game 4 from the sidelines. Mike Fisher found a gear only he knew he had. Daniel Alfredsson led with his heart and his body.

* * *

Without delay, Scott Niedermayer passed the Stanley Cup onto Brother Rob Niedermayer. For Rob Niedermayer it was his first Stanley Cup in his career.
(Craig Campbell/HHOF)
The Conn Smythe Trophy was presented to Anaheim's captain, Scott Niedermayer, as the most valuable player during the 2007 playoffs by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

Then, Phil Pritchard and Craig Campbell carried the Stanley Cup out onto the ice, down the red carpet, and placed it on a table. Gary Bettman grinned and began, "Hockey's doing pretty well in California, don't you think? The Ducks are the first west coast team to win the Stanley Cup. They did it in only their fourteenth year. That's a tribute to the team and its fans. They have great owners, congratulations to Henry and Susan Samueli, an incomparable general manager in Brian Burke and a great coaching staff, starting with Randy Carlyle. Scott (Niedermayer), come on back up. It's your turn to hoist the Cup!"

The Conn Smythe winner beamed as he accepted hockey's greatest trophy from the NHL's commissioner, and thrust it into the air as though it was weightless. It was the fourth Stanley Cup championship for the thirty-three year old defenseman, who previously won with the New Jersey Devils in 1995, 2000 and 2003. The last time Scott won the Cup, the Devils beat the Ducks, a team that featured his younger brother Rob. Therefore, it was with the greatest of pleasures that this year, Scott turned and handed the Stanley Cup to his brother.

After the Niedermayers, the Cup was handed in turn to each member of the Ducks in a pecking order known only to them: Niedermayers to Chris Pronger, then Teemu Selanne, Todd Marchant, Sean O'Donnell, Brad May and on and on, each living a moment they had dreamed of since they first laced on skates; a moment they'll relive again and again for the remainder of their lives.

The Anaheim Ducks pose for the classic on-ice team photo after capturing the franchises first Stanley Cup. (Craig Campbell/HHOF)
As family flooded out onto the ice surface to congratulate the victors, the players tried to express their emotions of that moment. "It's one of the best days of my life," stated goaltender J-S Giguere. "You need to have a team spirit. We had good team leadership with Scott Niedermayer. He showed us the way and we just followed him!"

The exultation never gets old for Scott Niedermayer, who enjoyed watching the young guys hoist the Cup. But his greatest thrill was reserved for seeing his brother win Lord Stanley's Cup. "You can't even dream of that stuff," he said. "We've really enjoyed playing together."

"To lift that thing over your head is a dream come true," added Corey Perry, who experienced a Memorial Cup championship with the London Knights in 2005. "I'm never going to forget this moment, that's for sure!"

"That was the greatest experience," stated an emotional Brad May. "I'm so thankful to the Anaheim Ducks for trading for me at the deadline!"

Live on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada, Anaheim Ducks General Manager (left) and Hockey Night in Canada's Ron MacLean (right) discuss the Ducks' game 5 Stanley Cup victory.
(Phil Pritchard/HHOF)
Todd Marchant, a 14-year NHL veteran, had never been close to achieving hockey's greatest prize. "Our team really came together," he said. "We were just like a family. There's no other way to describe it."

* * *

The Stanley Cup remained on the ice surface at the Honda Center for almost two hours after the final buzzer sounded. Families and friends of the victors got photographs with the prized trophy. Once all were done, Chris Pronger carried the Cup into the dressing room, which was already in full celebration mode, jammed to the rafters with players and team officials, along with their families, friends, media and other invited guests. A limited edition champagne was equally consumed and sprayed around the room. Scott Niedermayer was there with his wife and children, brother Rob with his fiancée and their proud mother enjoying every moment along with her sons. Teemu Selanne huddled with friends from Finland who had arrived to witness the Stanley Cup Final.

* * *

Teemu Selanne "The Finnish Flash" celebrates in the Ducks' dressing room. Prior to the Cup victory, Selanne had dreamed of winning the Stanley Cup throughout his 15-year career.
(Craig Campbell/HHOF)
Thirty NHL teams compete through 82 regular season games for the opportunity to compete for the Stanley Cup. Sixteen teams make the playoffs, and then, through an intense eight weeks, the teams filter down until just two wage a battle for the right to be called Stanley Cup champions. Winning sixteen games in the post season earns a team the right to claim the Stanley Cup, the most difficult trophy to win and the most celebrated trophy in sports.

With the Cup now in possession of the Ducks, Lord Stanley's treasure, as well as the Conn Smythe Trophy, spent Wednesday night at the home of captain Scott Niedermayer, who planned to take the trophies to his children's school for a very special 'show and tell' session today. Tonight (Thursday), the Stanley Cup visits Jay Leno on the set of 'The Tonight Show.' Subsequent plans include a team dinner Friday night, the official Stanley Cup championship team photo on Saturday and a celebration parade Saturday evening.

Through the summer, each member of the team, as well as owners, coaching and training staff, has earned the opportunity to spend a day with the cherished Stanley Cup. Our travels will take us all over the globe, with adventures that will thoroughly entertain. Join us here at the Stanley Cup Journal every Tuesday and Friday through the summer until the banner raising ceremony in October for an exclusive look at the how the Anaheim Ducks celebrate with the Stanley Cup.

On Tuesday, you'll discover how the Stanley Cup spent its first few nights as the prize of the Anaheim Ducks.

Kevin Shea is the Editor of Publications and On-Line Features at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

All Photographs are property of the Hockey Hall of Fame and may not be reproduced without prior written consent. For more information regarding use of our photographs please contact us.

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