Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 2009, 13

Mathieu Garon and his family take the Stanley Cup for a ride around the lovely Lac Beauport.
(Mike Bolt/HHOF)
You would never guess that Mathieu Garon's oasis on Lac Beauport was but 15 minutes away from Quebec City. Nestled in the bosom of the Jacques Cartier valley, the beautiful, quiet setting, right on the lake, is where the netminder gets away from the world. Seems to be a common theme — his next door neighbour is Patrick Roy. "I've lived here two years now, but I've only seen Patrick once," smiles Garon, although he knows the boys make good use of the home.

The Stanley Cup arrived at Lac Beauport at 8:30 on the morning of Monday, August 3. Mathieu, his wife Marie, his brothers and friends eagerly greeted Lord Stanley's legacy by taking the historic trophy down to the lake for some picturesque photos.

Garon and Penguins teammate Philippe Boucher pose with their hard-earned prize.
(Mike Bolt/HHOF)
Mathieu climbed into his car, strapped the Stanley Cup in good and tight, and drove into Quebec City so he could say hello to his trainer at the gym they work out at at the University of Laval. It's a great spot to keep in shape, as many hockey players know. Garon regularly works out with Antoine Vermette, but on this day, the facility was packed with junior players. Mathieu filled the bowl of the Stanley Cup with champagne, and he and his trainer toasted to a championship season.

In 1988, Manoir Ronald McDonald opened in Quebec City on property provided by the Centre Hospitalier de l'Universite Laval. With 19 bedrooms, it provides a wonderful and welcomed temporary home for the families of children being treated at the hospital. While Garon was there with the Stanley Cup, he ran into Mathieu Dandenault's wife, who was filming her decorating show from there.

Garon poses at home with his goalie mask inside hockey’s most coveted prize.
(Mike Bolt/HHOF)
Back at the lakefront home, Mathieu decided he wanted to take the Stanley Cup out for a ride around the lake in the boat, but had to be back by 1:00, as the Cup was going to be a special guest at the fifth birthday party of his son, Charles.

After a refreshing cruise, waving to friends (known and unknown) along the shorefront, Garon returned for the birthday celebration. Your fifth birthday is extra-special, because you're on the dividing line between pre-school and regular school, but Charles will never forget this party. He and his friends played ball hockey with the Stanley Cup looking on nearby. Slapping at the ball with sticks a little too long for them, the kids were having a blast, but if you thought they'd be tired out from all the running around, you'd be wrong. After they ate birthday cake out of the Stanley Cup, it was time for the NHL piñata. Blindfolded, the youngsters took vicious swings at the swinging piñata, filled with sweet candy treats for the party pack. "Now, be careful how you swing that stick," warned one mother who, moments later, had to duck for cover as one of the stick-wielding kids took a swipe that was a little too close for comfort.

As the kids were grabbing their loot bags and thanking Charles and the Garons for a great party, Mathieu took the Stanley Cup to Lac Beauport's city hall.

A birthday he’ll never forget, Charles Garon, son of Mathieu, enjoys some cake with the Stanley Cup. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
The Stanley Cup party was just beginning to unfold at the house when Mathieu returned at 4:00. The Garon family hosted a catered party for 200. Servers with small replica Stanley Cups on their trays, liberally handed out glasses of champagne while guests, including teammate Philippe Boucher and Eric Belanger of the Minnesota Wild, nibbled on sushi and Thai noodles. A television station from Quebec City did live cut-ins from the party.

There is a long-standing superstition that if you touch the Stanley Cup before you earned the right as part of an NHL championship, you will jinx your future chances of ever winning hockey's greatest prize. But that myth was dispelled by Mathieu as part of a video tribute that was played as part of the party. Following terrific footage of action from this past season was 8-year-old Mathieu, with his hands on the Stanley Cup during the summer that followed the Montreal Canadiens' championship of 1986.

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Marc-Andre Fleury takes the Stanley Cup for a ride on his boat along the St. Lawrence River. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
The Penguins' other goaltender during the 2008-09 season enjoyed his day with the Stanley Cup on Thursday, August 6. Marc-Andre Fleury, one of several heroes for the Pittsburgh Penguins during their unbelievable playoff run, welcomed the Stanley Cup to his home at 8:00AM. There, he and girlfriend Veronique had some photographs taken around the house, located right on the St. Lawrence.

Time for breakfast, and Fleury poured cereal into the bowl of the Cup, added milk and dug in. "Hey, I can still taste champagne," he exclaimed, then laughed.

With the Cup situated on the dock, Marc-Andre jumped in his boat and went for a ride, but five minutes in, the boat conked out on him. A friend back at the house saw Marc-Andre's plight, so stripped down to his underwear, climbed onto a Sea-Doo and was on his way out to tow the Penguins' laughing netminder to shore when it, too, died. The next door neighbour, seeing both men stranded but laughing, pulled his aluminum fishing boat into the water and was on his way out to get the guys when Marc-Andre waved him off. Fleury had discovered that a rope was wound around his propeller, so fixed that and was able to resume his trip. Embarrassingly, most of the invitees to his party had arrived in the meantime, and watched with much hilarity as the boys returned to shore. "Is this one of those 'punked' TV shows," asked one of the guys on the shore? Marc-Andre could only flash that big smile.


Marc-Andre Fleury and his family pose with the Stanley Cup at his parent’s home in Sorel, Quebec. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
In the backyard, muffins and fruit were served along with champagne as friends mingled freely around the Stanley Cup.

Afterwards, Fleury and the Stanley Cup drove along the St. Lawrence for just over an hour to the home of his parents in Sorel. Two hundred family members, friends and neighbours were there to greet him and the Stanley Cup. A tent had been set up in the yard so that guests could get their picture taken with the Cup.

Downstairs, the Fleurys have a miniature hall of fame with all the ribbons, medals and trophies Marc-Andre has won through the years. The best trophy, sadly, was just a temporary visitor to the shrine.

Just then, the sky opened up and a downpour forced friends and family to scatter for refuge under the protection of the tent. It was a party atmosphere, so in spite of the weather, no one's spirits were dampened (if you'll excuse the expression).

The next phase of the celebration was to take place at a friend's house. Marc-Andre and a bunch of his pals climbed aboard a bus and, singing Christmas carols, rode off to another party. There, 300 people were saluting the champion and anxious to get their pictures taken with Marc-Andre and the Stanley Cup. With a band playing in the background, the photographer was just lining up the first shot when the sky opened up again. Marc-Andre didn't want to disappoint any of the revellers, so with friends holding a patio umbrella over him, he gamely continued to smile for photos with friends and the Stanley Cup. It wasn't too long afterwards that the downpour concluded, and everyone resumed the celebration. One of those at the party was Francois Beauchemin, newly acquired by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Over 200 well-wishers joined the Fleury family and the Stanley Cup for the celebration in Sorel.
(Mike Bolt/HHOF)
With police and fire trucks escorting him, Marc-Andre took the Stanley Cup and met Mayor Marcel Robert and 10,000 of his closest friends down by the water. On the stage in front of the crowd, Mayor Robert presented flowers to Marc-Andre's mother, sister and girlfriend, and congratulated the Sorel native on his substantial accomplishment. Also there to salute the champion were Beauchemin and former Stanley Cup champions Pierre Mondou (won in 1977, 1978 and 1979 with Montreal) and Eric Messier (a member of Colorado's championship squad in 2001).

During the speeches, the fans cheered wildly, showing Fleury's popularity in the area. He signed autographs for three hours, but that barely put a dent in the crowd looking on, so with the fans divided on either side of the stage, Marc-Andre walked through the middle so pictures could be taken in close proximity to the Stanley Cup.

At 7:30, Marc-Andre then took the Stanley Cup to le Club de Gold Sorel-Tracy 'Les Dunes' for a more private celebration. He and his family were able to relax over a dinner of beef, pasta and Caesar salad. Off to one side, in tribute to his accomplishment, was an ice sculpture depicting the Stanley Cup and his number 29. When you poured your drink in the top, it was chilled to perfection by the time it arrived in your glass at the bottom.

Never once relinquishing his broad smile, Marc-Andre looked on as a band played and dancing began. It had been an exhausting day, but worth every second of the effort it took for Marc-Andre Fleury to share his momentous celebration.

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Wonder how Sidney Crosby celebrated his 22nd birthday? You'll find out when the Stanley Cup Journal turns to a new page on Friday.

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



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