Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 2010, 26

The Stanley Cup arrives at the Kane family home in South Buffalo.
The Stanley Cup arrives at the Kane family home in South Buffalo. (Howie Borrow/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Life is pretty good for any Stanley Cup champion, but when you're 21 and scored the goal that gave your franchise its first championship since 1961, life is even better.

On June 9, 2010, Patrick Kane was seemingly the only person in the rink who saw the puck enter the net, giving Chicago a 4-3 overtime win over Philadelphia. The Flyers had scored a late goal to tie the score at three, forcing Game 6 into overtime. Chicago commanded the ice in the extra frame, and when Brian Campbell corralled a clearing pass at the Flyers' blueline, he found Kane, who tucked the puck between the pads of goaltender Michael Leighton. The puck was nestled in the mesh inside the net, but only Kane seemed to know. While befuddled Flyers and confused Hawks looked on, Patrick threw his stick and gloves into the air in celebration.

He was, of course, correct. The goal placed Patrick Kane's name in the NHL history books for having scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in 2010.

Returning home to Buffalo, New York, Patrick Kane had earned his time with the Stanley Cup.

That time came at 7:30AM on Friday, August 13. The Cup arrived at the Kane family home in South Buffalo where photographs were taken with family and friends.

Patrick Kane and family showing off the Stanley Cup atop the 'HurriKane Deck' in Niagara Falls, NY.
Patrick Kane and family showing off the Stanley Cup atop the "HurriKane Deck" in Niagara Falls, NY.
(Howie Borrow/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Tom English, a local police officer, had helped orchestrate what would be a phenomenal day for Patrick in his hometown.

While Patrick had been to Niagara Falls two or three times in the past, he thought it would be amazing to take an iconic shot of the Stanley Cup at one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, and that was destination number one.

Piled into a white limo bus that escorted Patrick, his family and some close friends through the day, the party drove the 17 miles (27 kms) to Niagara Falls, New York. There, the magnificent Falls straddle the international border between Canada and the United States.

While the area had been controlled for centuries by a confederacy of five First Nations tribes, it wasn't until Europeans began pushing the boundaries to explore the 'new world' that Niagara Falls truly became a renowned spectacle. There may be truth to the fact that Samuel de Champlain, exploring the territory for France, observed the Falls in 1604, but popular consensus lists Father Louis Hennepin as the first European to witness the majesty of the Falls in 1677.

Father Hennepin wrote wonderful journals about his discoveries, and the extraordinary waterfalls we now know as Niagara were part of his writings. Hennepin's diaries were shared far and wide, and excitement over this wonderful phenomenon took hold throughout Europe.

Patrick Kane and the Stanley Cup visit the Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
Patrick Kane and the Stanley Cup visited the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. (Howie Borrow/Hockey Hall of Fame)
As the industrial revolution took hold of North America, industry sought ways to harness the fury of the falling water. Not long afterwards, railways began to populate North America by the mid-1800s, and interest in Niagara Falls grew exponentially. In their wisdom, both sides of the border legislated preservation movements to ensure the pristine nature of Niagara Falls, free from the over-burdened encumbrances of industry.

Tourism became a prominent factor in the popularity of Niagara Falls, embellished further by the arrival of automobiles in the early 1900s. Tourism at Niagara Falls skyrocketed after the First World war, and has never truly waned, as visitors continue to marvel at the extraordinary site.

Niagara Falls is, in fact, two major waterfalls separated by Goat Island. The Canadian side has Horseshoe Falls while the U.S. side has the American Falls as well as smaller Bridal Veil Falls, which is separated from its neighbor by Luna Island.

Patrick Kane and the Stanley Cup visit some iron workers from Local 6 in Buffalo, NY.
Patrick Kane and the Stanley Cup visited some iron workers from Local 6 in Buffalo. (Howie Borrow/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Patrick Kane's visit to Niagara Falls was to an attraction called Cave of the Winds, located on the American side. Although there is no longer an actual cave, the original name referred to a cave discovered behind Bridal Veil Falls in 1834, with tours commencing seven years later. Rock falls in 1920 and 1954 obliterated the cave, but the name was retained for a unique experience for visitors to the Falls.

Patrick Kane, his Dad (Pat Sr.) and Mom (Donna), along with three younger sisters and assorted friends, arrived at Niagara Falls ready for their adventure. While the others wore ponchos to protect themselves from the spray from the Falls, Patrick insisted that nothing was going to cover his Blackhawks jersey.

The entourage arrived on Goat Island and descended by elevator some 175 feet (53 metres) deep within the Niagara Gorge. Then, it was a sprightly climb up a series of wooden walkways and decks to what had formerly been called the Hurricane Deck. For this special occasion, the name had been altered to the 'Hurri-Kane Deck,' complete with a wooden sign that had Patrick's image on one side and the Blackhawks logo on the other.

Standing there by the railing, Patrick thrust the Stanley Cup to the heavens, as a torrential spray soaked all in the party. At that point, Patrick and the Cup were but 20 feet (6 metres) from the water plummeting over Bridal Veil Falls.

Patrick Kane and the Stanley Cup hoisted above the city of of Buffalo in the bucket of the Buffalo Fire Department.
Patrick Kane and the Stanley Cup hoisted above the city of of Buffalo in the bucket of the Buffalo Fire Department. (Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Kane enjoyed the moment immensely. "Getting drenched up there really gives you a rush, and it was a really great moment to hold the Cup over my head in front of one of the biggest wonders of the world."

After descending the walkways, Patrick was met by Niagara Falls, New York mayor Paul Dyster, who presented him with the key to the city and the wooden Hurri-Kane Deck sign.

Back in Buffalo, the next stop on Patrick's big adventure was at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the oldest cancer research institute and treatment centre in the United States, having been founded by Dr. Roswell Park in 1898. There, Kane took the Stanley Cup to patients of all ages. "There was one guy, probably 85 or 86 years old, who told me that he only had about a week to live," Kane said. "He told me his dying wish was to see the Stanley Cup." While the elderly patient caressed the Cup, examining the names engraved in the precious metal, his daughter quietly sobbed in the background.

Another patient, a hockey-loving teen, was given Patrick's Blackhawks' jersey by the Stanley Cup hero himself, a moment that will never be erased from his memory bank.

"After coming to a place like Roswell, you realize how lucky you are and how much you can give back by just being a good role model," Kane said. "Sometimes you go through tough days in life and you think the world is falling down on your shoulders, and then you come here and it just makes it unbelievable. It's really hard not to get emotional. I'm really happy I came here."

Patrick Kane hoisting Lord Stanley following his team's floor hockey win at DJ Spinners.
Patrick Kane hoisting Lord Stanley following his team's floor hockey win at DJ Spinners.
(Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Back in the limo bus, the entourage visited the construction site of what will soon be the Global Vascular Institute. Greeted there by Buffalo mayor Byron Brown, Patrick had been told about a unique tribute that had been created following his historic goal.

As Patrick glanced up, there, on a fifth-storey iron beam, he saw 'PATRICK KANE WINS STANLEY CUP.' Iron workers from Local 6 in Buffalo had painted the message on the beam for all around to see. Although he has a real fear of heights, Patrick went up to the fifth floor with the Cup and took photos with the ironworkers.

Mayor Brown commented, "I think it really inspires everybody in the city, especially the youth, to believe that if a guy from their community can achieve the kind of success that Patrick Kane has achieved, that if they work hard they can achieve that kind of greatness as well."

Patrick next visited with police officers and fire officials, along with their families, at the New Era Cap Company. More than 500 were in attendance, and Kane spent better than an hour signing autographs and having his picture taken. The Stanley Cup was placed on a table in a tent and anyone who wanted a photo with the Cup was welcomed to do so.

Patrick Kane and the Stanley Cup posing for a photo with Jimmy Buffett prior to his concert at Toyota Park in Chicago.
Patrick Kane and the Stanley Cup posing for a photo with Jimmy Buffett (2nd on the left) prior to his concert at Toyota Park in Chicago.
(Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
It wouldn't be Friday the Thirteenth without a little bad luck. Patrick was given the opportunity to lift the Stanley Cup skyward overlooking Buffalo when he was hoisted above the city in the bucket of the Buffalo Fire Department's ladder truck. Gazing over a panoramic view of his hometown, Kane was mortified to discover that the motor of the elevating device had malfunctioned, and he was left 70 feet (21.5 metres) above the city for more than 20 minutes – not good news for anyone, but even less for someone who is afraid of heights! Technicians were summoned, and while they worked, Patrick's Dad called his son's cellphone to inform him that he and the Stanley Cup would have to manually climb down the ladder to earth. The terrifying thought was dismissed when, at last, the ladder was again working, and lowered the Hawks' star to the ground. "It was a little crazy," he admitted. "I'm just glad to be out." It's always remarkable when NHL stars go back to their roots, pull out the old nets, an old wood stick and play road hockey. Jonathan arranged for a game with longtime friends at DJ Spinners, a floor hockey rink in his old neighbourhood. The rules included a best-of-seven tournament, with the winning team earning the right to carry the Stanley Cup into a party later that evening. The competitive juices were flowing, and with a 5-3 win in Game Seven, Kane's team was once again winner of the Stanley Cup.

After getting washed up, Patrick retired to his personal party, attended by more than 500 family members and close, personal friends, including teammate Brian Campbell. As Kane entered the Creekside Banquet Hall in Cheektowaga, holding the Stanley Cup above his head, Chicago's victory song, 'Chelsea Dagger' by The Fratellis blared as a soundtrack for his entrance.

It was a wicked party, and all attendees had a blast. But the night was not quite over yet. A few friends, including Campbell, joined Kane at the Soho Rooftop Bar to close down an eventful day. "This day went by so fast, even though it's been a long day," Kane said.

* * *

Patrick Kane and the Stanley Cup making an appearance during the Jimmy Buffett concert at Toyota Park in Chicago.
Patrick Kane and the Stanley Cup making an appearance during the Jimmy Buffett concert at Toyota Park in Chicago.
(Mike Bolt/Hockey Hall of Fame)
The next morning, Saturday, August 14, Patrick visited a local cemetery with the Stanley Cup so he could pay his respects to departed family members. Later that morning, Kane was joined by some friends at Imperial Pizza, where they devoured Buffalo wings out of the Stanley Cup. Buffalo is, after all, the world's chicken wing capital. His final hometown stop was at Leisure Rinks in West Seneca, where he had photos taken with the Cup at the rink in which he had once played.

The boys then flew by private plane to Chicago to continue the Stanley Cup celebration. On arrival, the crew went to Toyota Park, where Jimmy Buffett was performing. During Buffett's song 'Boat Drinks,' Patrick Kane, sporting a Hawaiian shirt, walked out from side stage, a giant Hawks logo was revealed as a backdrop and thousands of Parrotheads went out of their minds seeing three of their favourite things on one stage - Jimmy Buffett, Patrick Kane and the Stanley Cup. Patrick hoisted the Cup, kissing it gently, and then handed it to Buffett, who also raised it in triumph. Kane placed it on the stage, placed a beachball in it and then the band picked up the ending of the song, with Patrick dancing and shaking a tambourine. As the song ended, Patrick made his exit, again, to raucous cheering.

After the show, the Kane gang visited a couple of Chicago establishments to complete the Stanley Cup celebration. They enjoyed visits to Moe's Tavern and Sluggers to complete the evening.

At the end of the night, Patrick sighed, reflecting on the culmination of an extraordinary year. "This year's going to be tough to top," he said. "I played in the Olympics, I got to play in the Stanley Cup final and then obviously winning the Stanley Cup and scoring the goal that won it. I don't know if it gets much better. But there are always other things you can accomplish, and I think one of those things is making yourself a better person. Buffalo is my hometown and although I think Chicago is the greatest city in the world, it was nice to bring the Cup home, back to where I grew up, back to where my real friends and family are. That was important."

Patrick took one long, last look at the Stanley Cup. "I think you really have to enjoy every moment, because might very well be the only day I'll get with it."

* * *

The Stanley Cup next visited Dustin Byfuglien in Minnesota, and you'll find all the details here in the Stanley Cup Journal on Friday.

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

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