Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 2010, 16

Andrew Ladd along with family and friends sharing a moment with the Stanley Cup at Cam Neely Arena at Planet Ice. (Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
The Stanley Cup was thoroughly enjoying its extended visit to Canada's west coast, and stayed one more day to celebrate the Stanley Cup championship with Andrew Ladd in Maple Ridge.

Andrew exemplified how winning the Stanley Cup never gets old. He is one of just four principals with the Blackhawks who have tasted champagne from the lip of Lord Stanley's chalice. While team consultant Scotty Bowman has certainly enjoyed several celebrations, only Coach Quenneville (assistant coach with Colorado when they were champions in 1996), Tomas Kopecky (part of Detroit's Cup win in 2008) and John Madden (winner twice before with the Devils) join Ladd as front-liners who have previously enjoyed Stanley Cup victories.

Andrew Ladd sharing a moment with the Stanley Cup at the Port Haney Wharf. (Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
With being a first round draft pick come enormous expectations. Drafted fourth overall by Carolina in 2004, Ladd played part of the 2005-06 regular season with the Hurricanes, and then joined them full-time through their successful run to the Stanley Cup that spring. It was a great welcome to the big time — your name on the Stanley Cup!

During 2007-8, his third season with the Hurricanes, Andrew was traded to Chicago for Tuomo Ruutu. He added size and skill to Chicago's line-up, and in his fifth NHL season, Ladd added another Stanley Cup championship to an already impressive resume.

Like the first time around, Andrew again took the Stanley Cup home to Maple Ridge, British Columbia. About a half hour away from Vancouver, Maple Ridge sits on the gorgeous banks of the Fraser River in a largely rural region that boasts of mountains to the north and the fertile Fraser Valley to the east. Originally known as Port Haney, the heritage community was renamed after pioneer John McIver built his farm on a beautiful maple-lined ridge above the Fraser. Sitting in the shadow of two mountain peaks known as the Golden Ears, peaceful Maple Ridge today is known as the 'horse capital of British Columbia.'

Andrew Ladd pouring champagne into the bowl of the Cup during a house party at the home of family friends. (Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
The Stanley Cup flew into Vancouver on Sunday, July 18, and the RCMP then escorted the Cup to nearby Maple Ridge. Andrew took the prize to the rink they call Cam Neely Arena at Planet Ice, and while hoisting the Stanley Cup over his head in triumph, was greeted up a thunderous roar from 3,000 fans, friends and neighbours. The youngsters from the Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey Association in town got to see their hero up close; a hero who, not that long ago, had been just like them — a kid with dreams in his heart and stars in his eyes.

After the last of the pictures had been taken, the final autograph signed and one last hand clasped, Andrew and the Cup exited for a friend's house, where photographs were taken. Then, Ladd decided to surprise a young neighbour who had recently lost his Mom to cancer and was feeling a little low. Getting a personal visit from Andrew Ladd with the Stanley Cup helped him realize that there is a silver lining to every dark cloud.

Andrew wanted some photos taken with the Cup at the Port Haney Wharf on the beautiful Fraser River, then it was important to make sure his grandfather, Gord, got the chance for a visit. It is hard to imagine that Andrew has any bigger fan than his grandfather, a fit and hearty 92-year old veteran of the Second World War.

Andrew Ladd and the Stanley Cup looking out at the mountains in B.C. (Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
A private party at the home of family friends welcomed the guests of honour — Andrew and Stanley. Tracey and Mel Didyk and their kids, Blake, Brooke and Brett, were most hospitable hosts, but Brett took the greatest interest in the Cup. At 11 years old, he already has a huge passion for the game, and invited Andrew up to see his bedroom. Decorated in the colours of the (ahem) Vancouver Canucks, Brett had the walls decorated in all things hockey, including a photo of Andrew with the Stanley Cup while with the Hurricanes. Pictures were taken with Andrew and the Stanley Cup in Brett's room, and the young man guaranteed that the new photo would be added to the collection on his walls.

Andrew Ladd and the Stanley Cup looking out at the mountains in B.C.
(Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
The party was terrific, and everyone enjoyed themselves immensely as it carried late into the night.

Something very special was planned for the early morning of Monday, July 19. Andrew arranged for a helicopter to take him and the Stanley Cup for photographs of the city and mountains at dawn. The vista was breathtaking, and the resulting shots, superb.

As the city awoke, Andrew and the Cup went to join his grandfather for breakfast. Gord and his pals hold court at the cafeteria in the local Zellers department store, calling themselves the `Maple Ridge Senate.' There is just one requirement — each member of the senate must be over 80 years old!

Back to his Mom's home, Andrew enjoyed a little quiet time, a rare commodity since the Stanley Cup arrived. Then, it was over to his father's place of employment to show the Stanley Cup to the folks at Kruger Products, manufacturers and distributors of paper products. One of the guys told Andrew a secret — several of the boys play ball hockey in the warehouse at lunch, each imagining that they're on the ice competing for that same Stanley Cup!

Andrew Ladd and the Stanley Cup joined his grandfather for breakfast. (Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
For a second time, Andrew Ladd had enjoyed a celebration that so many NHLers strive for throughout their entire careers. His hope now is to earn a third, this time with the Atlanta Thrashers, who traded Ivan Vishnevskiy and a draft pick to Chicago to acquire him on July 1.

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The pages of the Stanley Cup Journal turn next to the entry for Ben Eager, and you'll read about his day with the Stanley Cup on Friday.

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

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