Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 07

Following the NHL Awards, the Stanley Cup returned to Detroit for a celebration of a different kind.

Prior to Fathers Day, the Stanley Cup made its way over to Comerica Park where members of the Detroit Red Wings took in a game. (Bill Wellman/HHOF)
In 1968, Mike and Marian Ilitch used their pizza business to begin sponsoring minor hockey. The sponsorship quickly grew to the point that today, the Little Caesar's Amateur Hockey League is the largest of its kind in the U.S., and Little Caesar's AAA Hockey Club has fourteen teams in twelve different age groups, comprised of nine boys' teams and five teams for girls.

Six of the Little Caesar's AAA clubs won State Championships in 2007-08, while three of those also went on to capture National Championships. Those three are the Little Caesar's Bantam Majors, the Little Caesar's Minor Midgets and the Little Caesar's Women's Senior 'A' team.

One of the familiar names on the roster of the Women's Senior 'A' team is Manon Rheaume. Although today, the mother of two is a forward, Manon cinched her legacy as a goaltender, the first woman to play in an NHL contest. In 1992, she was signed by the Tampa Bay Lightning and on September 23, 1992, played in a pre-season exhibition contest against the St. Louis Blues. The following year, Manon backstopped the Lightning again in an exhibition game against the Boston Bruins. Manon was also part of Canada's silver medal-winning Olympic hockey team at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano.

At a special gathering on Saturday, June 14, the championship team members received rings signifying their achievement. Then, astonished players and coaches looked on as Kris Draper walked in with the Stanley Cup, showing the young champions hockey's ultimate prize and reinforcing that dreams really can come true.

No one attending will forget that moment!

Kris Draper raises the Cup for local Tiger fans to touch at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Bill Wellman/HHOF)
On Father's Day, the Stanley Cup trekked over to Comerica Park to watch the American League Detroit Tigers host the Los Angeles Dodgers of the National League in the Ilitch suite overlooking homeplate. This was the Stanley Cup's second visit to a Tigers' game since the Red Wings won the championship on June 4.

With much of his family surrounding him in the box, Mike Ilitch had the Stanley Cup seated right beside him on a matching chair, almost like two old friends hanging out at the ballpark (of course, with this being Detroit's fourth Stanley Cup championship since the Ilitches purchased the team, they really ARE old friends!). Mike clapped excitedly in the sixth inning as Marcus Thames and Brandon Inge hit back-to-back homers for the Tigers. The game ended in a 5-4 win for the Tigers over the Dodgers.

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On Friday, we'll take you on a trip to Hollywood, as the Stanley Cup visited the sets of some of your favourite TV shows, and we'll divulge a prank pulled on one of the music industry's biggest stars. Can't wait to hook up with you then!

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

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