Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 2011, 26

Mark Recchi and the Stanley Cup taking a ride on Maxx of the Kamloops Mounted Patrol.
Mark Recchi and the Stanley Cup taking a ride on Maxx of the Kamloops Mounted Patrol.
(Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Imagine, if you will, that you could design your own NHL career. Well, you'd want to play a long time, relatively injury-free, you'd want success at your position, you'd want to win the Stanley Cup and if you had to retire, you wanted to leave on your own terms and conclude your career on a high.

Okay, now let's put the genie back into the bottle. Rub your eyes if you wish, but what you've just imagined is exactly what was realized by Mark Recchi.

Mark Recchi was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins and joined the team in 1988-89. In his third NHL season, Recchi was part of the Penguins' Stanley Cup championship of 1991. After a trade to the Philadelphia Flyers, Mark joined Eric Lindros and Brent Fedyk on the Crazy 8s line, which helped propel him to a career season in 1992-93 when he scored a staggering 53 goals and 70 assists for 123 points, the Flyers' single-season point-scoring record. Mark joined the Montreal Canadiens in 1995, but the Flyers reacquired him in 1998-99. The next season, he finished third in scoring and was a finalist for the Lester B. Pearson Award as regular season MVP.

Mark Recchi and the Stanley Cup visited the Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, BC.
Mark Recchi and the Stanley Cup
visited the Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, BC.
(Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Recchi was traded back to Pittsburgh in 2004 but it was after a trade to Carolina that he won a second Stanley Cup championship when the Hurricanes took the trophy in 2006. In 2007, Mark wore Penguin black and gold for a third time, but was signed on waivers by the Atlanta Thrashers and completed the season in Georgia. That summer (2008), the Tampa Bay Lightning signed Mark for his veteran savvy, but on March 4, 2009, he was picked up by Boston's Bruins. In doing so, and with the retirement of Joe Sakic, Mark became the NHL's assist and points leader among active players.

The eight-time All-Star became the oldest player to score a goal in a Stanley Cup Final when, at 43, he tallied in Game Two of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final against Vancouver Canucks. Then, on June 15, 2011, Mark became a three-time Stanley Cup champion, joining the elite company of Frank Foyston, Jack Walker, Mike Keane and Joe Nieuwendyk as the only players to win the Stanley Cup with three different teams.

At the conclusion of Game Seven, amidst the hoopla of a Bruins' celebration, Recchi announced his retirement.

Mark Recchi and the Stanley Cup posing for photos with family and friends at his home.
Mark Recchi and the Stanley Cup posing for
photos with family and friends at his home.
(Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)
What a way to go out!

Mark took the Stanley Cup to Kamloops, British Columbia on August 13 this summer. In 2000, he had been named Kamloops' Male Athlete of the 20th Century, so he had every reason to be proud to bring the Cup back home once again.

Receiving the Stanley Cup at 10:00AM, Mark's first stop was a visit to the Kamloops Mounted Patrol, where he was made an honorary member. Mark showed no fear climbing aboard the back of Maxx, the horse.

Since 1983, The Royal Inland Hospital Foundation has carried on the tradition of raising funds for crucial patient care equipment, students studying health sciences and other special programs in order to assist Royal Inland Hospital and regional facilities provide the best possible care to patients. Mark is the Campaign Ambassador for The Foundation in raising money for their intensive care unit. From a special fundraising event, Recchi very proudly was able to hand over a cheque for $12,500.

Mark Recchi showing off his Stanley Cup tattoo.
Mark Recchi showing off his Stanley Cup tattoo.
(Walt Neubrand/Hockey Hall of Fame)
While he was at the hospital, Mark took time to visit patients, spending a wonderful amount of time with the children who are patients at RIH.

Back at his house, Mark got the chance to really savour his reward. Ruth and Mel Recchi, Mark's Mom and Dad, were there, as were his three children - Christina, Cameron and Austin. So was a backyard full of family and friends, there to celebrate with Mark, including teammate, Andrew Ference. There, he unveiled a tattoo, his first, located on his lower leg. There, permanently etched, was a tribute to an excellent career. The Stanley Cup was beautifully designed with the logos and years of his three victories - 1991 with Pittsburgh, 2006 with Carolina and, of course, 2011 with Boston.

* * *

We stay in B.C. but visit Milan Lucic when the Stanley Cup Journal returns on Friday.

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

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