Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 2010, 11

Patrick Sharp looking over the names of past championships engraved on the Stanley Cup
Patrick Sharp looking over the names of past championships engraved on the Stanley Cup. (Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
When you face a team in the Stanley Cup final, emotions run high. 'Hate' is a term not to be used frivolously, but it's a term that fits the series between Chicago and Philadelphia this past spring. And for one guy, it was more than personal.

Patrick Sharp was drafted by the Flyers and made his NHL debut with the team for 3 games during the 2002-03 season. He spent all of the next campaign in the City of Brotherly Love, but during December 2005, Philadelphia shipped Sharp to Chicago. "I understood the situation," Sharp said. "They were a first-place team, pushing for a championship. It was tough to break into that lineup. I was thankful for the Flyers trading me to a great place that gave me the chance to play. Chicago was a team that was developing in all areas, and they gave me the opportunity to play in all situations."

Patrick Sharp showing off the Stanley Cup to the kids at the George Jeffrey Children's Centre
Patrick Sharp showing off the Stanley Cup to the kids at the George Jeffrey Children's Centre in Thunder Bay, ON. (Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
While Philadelphia didn't see Patrick being part of their future, the Hawks relished the chance to add Sharp to their line-up, and he certainly didn't disappoint. Patrick developed into the NHL scorer that Chicago had hoped for. In 2006-07, Patrick potted 20 goals, collecting 36 in 2007-08, 26 in 2008-09 and 25 this past season.

Sharp had a dream post-season, too, matching 11 goals with 11 assists in 22 games. When the Stanley Cup was handed to him by Marian Hossa, there was a deep satisfaction. A childhood dream had been realized, and realized against the team that had let him go.

Patrick Sharp took the Cup to the Boys and Girls Club of Thunder Bay
Patrick Sharp took the Cup to the Boys and Girls Club of Thunder Bay. (Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Although born in Winnipeg, Patrick Sharp grew up in Thunder Bay, Ontario, a city quite familiar to the Stanley Cup. Eric Staal brought the Cup home to the Lakehead when he won with Carolina in 2006, and Jordan Staal lugged the Cup to T-Bay after the Penguins won in 2009. Lord Stanley's legacy returned to Thunder Bay with Patrick Sharp on Saturday, June 10.

A limo-bus greeted the Stanley Cup at the airport that morning, and started a whirlwind tour around the city, set up by his pal Tony who did an awesome job of constructing a thoroughly entertaining day in which Patrick could share the Cup with large numbers of people. "Makes it tough knowing you're only going to have it for one day," Sharp said. "You want to make sure everyone gets to see it, but also for your friends and family."

Patrick Sharp and friends enjoying their limo ride with the Stanley Cup
Patrick Sharp and friends enjoying their limo ride with the Stanley Cup. (Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
The first stop was at the George Jeffrey Children's Centre, a place that nurtures the lives of children by meeting their physical, developmental and social needs in a caring, family-oriented environment. Patrick and the Stanley Cup were huge hits with the kids, who got to meet a real, live hockey hero and the actual Stanley Cup.

Sharp then took the Cup over to the Boys and Girls Club of Thunder Bay, an amazing organization that has enriched the lives of kids in Thunder Bay for a century. The kids were fascinated, looking at the names etched on the Cup. "Here's Crosby," shouted one boy excitedly. They wanted to know where Patrick's name was, but that won't be added until September.

Patrick Sharp and his girlfriend sharing a moment with the Stanley Cup
Patrick Sharp and his girlfriend sharing a moment with the Stanley Cup. (Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
The Cup was taken to his house, and all the neighbourhood kids got the chance to get a picture with hockey's biggest prize.

Along the McIntyre River sits George Burke Park, which is a baseball diamond surrounded by 100 acres of magnificent parkland. As Patrick approached the backstop, the game underway came to a quick halt. "The Stanley Cup!" hollered one, and both teams bolted from their benches to see Patrick and the prize. Sharp was even wearing his Port Arthur Nationals uniform, the one he wore when he played ball there as a kid.

A series of scenic shots with the Stanley Cup followed. From the north-west section of the city, one can peer out and see the land formation that resembles a sleeping giant. An Ojibway legend calls the Sleeping Giant 'nanabijou,' and tells the tale of a giant who was turned to stone, lying with his arms folded across his chest, when he revealed the secret location of a silver mine to the 'white man.'

We all have heroes, and Patrick wanted to share the Stanley Cup that was the realization of his dreams with someone else who had a dream. He took the Stanley Cup to the statue of Terry Fox that sits just outside the city limits on a stretch of the TranCanada Highway that overlooks the harbour. Patrick set the Cup down beside the eight-foot statue and began to read the prose carved into the granite base.

"Dreams are made if people only try. I believe in miracles...
I have to... because somewhere the hurting must stop."
Terrance Stanley Fox
July 28, 1958 - June 28, 1981

Patrick Sharp showing off the Stanley Cup with two little league baseball teams
Patrick Sharp showing off the Stanley Cup with two little league baseball teams at George Burke Park.
(Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
The one-legged Fox inspired a nation with his dream — the Marathon of Hope, a cross-Canada run to raise money for cancer research. Terry ran through five provinces, starting in Newfoundland, before he was forced to stop near the site of the statue when his cancer recurred.

Duly humbled, Sharp took the Cup to his parents' home on Lake Superior. His Dad, Ian, and mother, Ruth Ann, as well as his brother Chris, were waiting there for him.

That evening, Patrick visited Marina Park where the Thunder Bay Blues Festival was in the second day of a three-day extravaganza. He went backstage to visit the evening's headliners, Blues Traveller. The Princeton, New Jersey band, best known for their smash, 'Run-Around,' features the charismatic John Popper on vocals and harmonica. The band was thrilled to see the Cup, and asked if they could get pictures with it. Patrick was only too pleased to oblige.

Patrick Sharp and John Popper of the band Blues Traveler sharing a moment with the Cup
Patrick Sharp and John Popper of the band Blues Traveler sharing a moment with the Cup.
(Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Sharp took the Stanley Cup to Thunder Bay's oldest tavern, the On Deck Bar. In the late-1800s, the town boasted one saloon for every 25 residents, and while those days are long gone, this bar, originally called the Western House, has survived.

The night ended with one final stop — at Tony and Adam's, who bill themselves as 'your neighbourhood bistro.'

It had been a packed day, and Patrick Sharp had accomplished what he had set out to do — to share his team's victory with as many people from his hometown as he could, thanking them for their unconditional support through the years.

The summer of 2010 will be one Patrick will never forget — a Stanley Cup celebration and a wedding, both within weeks of each other! Congratulations Patrick and Abby, on both accounts!

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Make sure you're back here on Tuesday so you can find out how the Hawks' captain enjoyed his day with the Cup!

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

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