Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 17

Who knew? While digging for gold in the Le Roi
Gold Mine, Dallas Drake uncovers the precious silver Stanley Cup! (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
No hockey player looks forward to announcing his retirement, but exits don't come much more spectacular than that of Dallas Drake.

On Tuesday, July 15, Drake announced his retirement from the National Hockey. "I played a long time and had a lot of fun," he said on a conference call. "After winning the Stanley Cup, there's not a better way to go out!"

That same evening, the Stanley Cup was visiting his home, a reward for being part of Detroit's Stanley Cup championship.

Dallas Drake was born in Trail, British Columbia, but lived with his family in Rossland, a town of 3,500 just north of the U.S. border midway between Vancouver and Calgary in the West Kootenay Mountains. For three seasons, he starred with the Rossland Junior Warriors, including leading the league in goals, assists and points in 1986-87, his final season there. While playing four years with the Wildcats at Northern Michigan University, Dallas tore up the icelanes, and in 1991-92, led the league in goals and points and was named to the NCAA West First All-Star Team.


With the best seat in town, Dallas Drake and the Stanley Cup enjoy a ride atop a heritage firetruck driven by his father, who is a volunteer firefighter. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
Drafted late in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft, Drake became a member of the Detroit Red Wings, where he made his NHL debut in 1992-93. Through 1,009 regular season NHL games, Dallas's career came full circle, beginning and ending in Detroit with stints in Winnipeg, Phoenix and St. Louis in between.

After the Blues placed Dallas on waivers in June 2007, he pondered retirement, but with the dream of one day hoisting the Stanley Cup still a career pursuit, Drake signed a one-year deal with the Red Wings, where he believed he had his best shot at glory.

And Detroit didn't let him down. Nor did Dallas let down Detroit. As NHL commissioner Gary Bettman handed the Stanley Cup to Nicklas Lidstrom on June 4th, the captain lifted the Cup over his head in triumph, and then looked for the trophy's next recipient — Dallas Drake.

On the day of his retirement announcement, Dallas and his wife Amy met the Stanley Cup at the airport, ready for a romp in Rossland.

Jim and Anne Drake, parents of the Stanley Cup champion, own a massive dairy farm in Rossland, and that became the first stop on the Dallas Drake Cup carousal. That first evening was rather quiet, all in all, with deep thoughts and special friends and family. But the Stanley Cup had company — the Doukhabour Cup showed up! This trophy is the championship award for a local beer league, whose motto is 'Peace, Brotherhood and Every Man For Himself.' Showing great respect for the Doukhabour Cup, Dallas laughingly donned the white gloves worn by the Stanley Cup's Keepers, gently picked up the Doukhabour Cup and placed it in the specially-designed travel case that usually holds the Stanley Cup. Respect!

Dallas Drake reflects on his 15-season NHL career and celebrates his retirement while surrounded by his wonderful family. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
While sitting with his family and friends, Drake reflected on his 15-season NHL career and his newly-announced retirement. "Mentally, I still want to play. I love the game as much as I ever have," he admitted, but added, "The years have worn me out. My body's not recovering as well. But what a way to go — going out on top!"

The next morning (Wednesday, July 16), the day began with Dallas eating Shreddies out of the bowl of the Cup. "You can't get Shreddies in the States, you know," explained Dallas, making his Stanley Cup meal that much more special.

Once the bowl had been rinsed spotlessly clean, the Drakes took the Stanley Cup on a tour of the LeRoi Goldmine. Rossland was part of the wild Gold Rush of the Gay-90's. Two prospectors discovered a vein of gold in the area in 1890, and then sold their rights to a local gentleman for the cost of the recording fee, which was $12.50 at that time. The town of Rossland sprang up to accommodate the many miners who flocked into the area like bees on pollen. Eight years later, the mine was sold for an astronomical $3 million! Due to the influx of prospectors (and associated industries *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*), Rossland became one of the largest centres in western Canada. And a smelter constructed nearby gave birth to the town of Trail, later to be known for its hockey team, the Smoke Eaters (named after the Cominco smelter that belched smoke from its stacks for many decades).

So, at almost the same time that the town of Rossland was being born, the Stanley Cup was being created halfway around the world. And now, the two were meeting for the first time. Dallas, his party and the Stanley Cup took the elevator shaft deep below the earth's surface to explore the tunnels that at one time exposed rich gold ore in the earth's core.

After exploring the depths of the earth, Drake and the Stanley Cup visited the older adults at Esling Park Lodge and then Golden City Manors, much to the delight of the residents, who had their own Stanley Cup memories from years gone by.

He then took the Stanley Cup to scenic spots around the city, starting with the old firehall and then on to City Hall. Afterwards, there was a parade down Columbia Avenue, led by local minor hockey players, with Dallas following behind seated atop a heritage firetruck driven by his father, who is a volunteer firefighter. For a town of 3,500, certainly there were that many just watching the parade from the sidelines along the streets, and each person cheered for the local boy made very good who had brought the Stanley Cup to Rossland.

Talk about a silver spoon! Dallas Drake uses the Stanley Cup to feed a hungry horse at a family dairy farm.
(Mike Bolt/HHOF)
The parade concluded at Pioneer Park, where Mayor Gordon Smith presented Dallas with a plaque on behalf of the City of Rossland.

Once the parade and reception had concluded, the Drakes, their family and friends, returned to the family farm for a party. Eighty people enjoyed good food and the opportunity to drink from the Stanley Cup. The party was organized by Dallas's sister Kim and her kids, Carson and Ethan.

The farm is famous for more than being the home of a Stanley Cup champion. In 2003, several scenes from the film 'Miracle' were shot at the farm. 'Miracle', the story of the U.S. Olympic hockey team that astonished the world by capturing the Olympic gold medal, was released in February 2004 and starred Kurt Russell as coach Herb Brooks.

While the party was continuing, it was 'crashed' by two young men, Michael Costigan and Steve Mitchell, who were bicycling across the province and happened upon the Stanley Cup party.

While standing in a daisy field, Dallas plucked a flower and started the old 'she loves me, she loves me not' routine. But shocked onlookers weren't certain what to think when he started, "I will retire, I will come back. I will retire…." Drake just laughed and made certain he ended on, "I will retire."

Darkness suddenly descended upon the Drake's Rossland dairy farm. While his friend Phil played his guitar and sang by the blazing campfire, Dallas Drake put his arm around the Stanley Cup, which was silhouetted against a backdrop of the incredible Rocky Mountain skyline. Without saying a word, everyone there knew that the champion had found his peace.

* * *

Up next, it's Coach Mike Babcock's visit to Saskatoon with the Stanley Cup and a great story about a missing bagpiper. We'll see you back here Friday for another edition of the Stanley Cup Journal.

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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