Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 34
The Stanley Cup Journal

(August 25, 2003) — "Scott Stevens, we've done this before. Come get the Stanley Cup!" With those words from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on June 9, New Jersey Devils' captain Scott Stevens glided to centre ice and, with a smile that could have lit up the Eastern United States during the blackout, grasped hockey's historic trophy and raised it high over his head in triumph. "It wasn't easy for this team. We worked hard together and we found a way to win," Stevens said at the time. "It's an awesome feeling. To win three Cups in nine years in this era is quite a thing to do!"

When a team wins the Stanley Cup, each of its members is allowed to celebrate with the Cup for a day, and for Scott Stevens, his visit began Sunday, August 17 when the trophy arrived in Kitchener, Ontario to start its odyssey with the captain.

What is now the City of Kitchener has a fascinating history. As the area was being developed in the late 1700's, it became home to large numbers of German-speaking Mennonites who traveled north from Pennsylvania. These Mennonite families bought up large amounts of the land in the area, developing it into a thriving agricultural area. The settlement spawned a further migration of German-speaking Europeans to the area, and in honour of their homeland, the community was named Berlin in 1833. But in 1914, with the outbreak of the First World War, anti-German sentiment was at a fevered pitch and the community faced enormous pressure to change its name. In 1916, the name 'Berlin' was abandoned and the city was renamed 'Kitchener' after British general Horatio Kitchener. Kitchener had won acclaim during the Boer War that ran between 1899 and 1902, and he was subsequently named Britain's Secretary of War during World War I. In June 1916, Lord Kitchener died when the HMS Hampshire sank off the Orkney Islands on its way to a campaign in Russia.

Scott Stevens has created his own history in Kitchener, although his is of the hockey variety. Born and raised in the city, Scott played junior in his hometown with the Kitchener Rangers. He met his wife Donna while he was playing junior. It was only fitting, therefore, that Scott Stevens bring the Stanley Cup to the town where his hockey career took root.

Scott Stevens and his brother Geoff, a Devils' scout (second from left), pose with friends at the home of Scott's parents before heading off to the cottage.
Scott Stevens and his brother Geoff, a Devils' scout (second from right), pose with friends at the home of Scott's parents before heading off to the cottage.
The Stanley Cup arrived at the Kitchener home of Scott's mother-in-law at 10:15AM. Donna's mother had fifty or so friends at the house anxious to the see the Cup. Scott arrived a little later and happily posed for photographs and signed autographs for the group gathered there. Then, the captain took the Cup to the home of his parents; the same house in which Scott and his brothers Geoff and Mike grew up. Geoff, the oldest brother, is a scout for the Devils while Mike, the baby of the three, enjoyed an NHL career that took him from Vancouver to Boston, the Rangers and the Maple Leafs. The Stevens' home is located near the Chicopee Ski Resort in Kitchener, and Scott's family was delighted by the return visit of the Stanley Cup.

Later that same afternoon, three cars were packed for a trek to Scott's cottage. Scott and Donna, their three children Kaitlin, Ryan and Kara plus Bailey and Scout, the family dogs, were in one car. Geoff Stevens and some friends of Scott's from New Jersey were in another while Scott's mother and father and the Stanley Cup were in the third car.

Scott Stevens and his family love outdoor life.
Scott Stevens and his family love outdoor life. That's Ryan at the top, then clockwise, Kara, Scott, Scout, Kaitlin, Bailey and Donna.
The Cup convoy pulled onto the 401, a highway that dissects the province of Ontario, and began the three-hour trip north to Lake Catchacoma where Scott and his family spend much of their summer. The lake is part of seven inter-connecting lakes in the Kawartha Highlands area of central Ontario, an outstanding place to relax in Ontario's natural beauty surrounded by rocks, forests and crystal-clear, spring-fed lakes.

Just before arriving at the cottage, Scott pulled into Flynn's Shell Station, a gas station in the town of Buckhorn. This landmark, about ten minutes from the cottage, was anticipating the visit and a hundred people were waiting for Scott's arrival with the Stanley Cup. Stevens obliged the fans with photographs and signed autographs for each, then proceeded to his cottage.

Scott Stevens loves the outdoors and clearly relishes any opportunity to get away to Lake Catchacoma. There, he can eliminate the pressures of hockey and take in all the beauty that the area has to offer. It was dusk, and the moment that the doors of the cars opened and the passengers spilled out, the dogs bolted and could frolic without fear of running away. Scott took a deep breath and as he exhaled, commented to no one in particular, "This is the life!"

An hour or so later, the group sat back and watched the Northern Lights dance high above the trees. Scott talked about his love of hunting and the group shared some jokes and stories before they realized it was two in the morning. "Sleep well. We'll see you in the morning," Scott said as he and Donna headed inside the cottage.

The patina of the Stanley Cup glistened in the sun of a Lake Catchacoma morning.
The patina of the Stanley Cup glistened in the sun of a Lake Catchacoma morning.
Monday morning broke with brilliant, warm sunshine over Lake Catchacoma. The group had pictures taken on the patio alongside the Stanley Cup. Even Bailey and Scout seemed to smile. It was a leisurely day; the early part spent soaking up the sun and tranquility at the Stevens' cottage. In the afternoon, some friends from around the lake dropped by to visit the Stanley Cup, including former NHL goaltender Greg Millen who is now a television broadcaster. Millen and his wife live a few cottages down from Scott and his family. At six, Scott took a number of his guests for a cruise on his boat. They first stopped at Baldwin Bay Marina to say hi to friends Bob and Bernie Plug. On the way to Catchacoma Landing, one of the larger marinas on the area's lake system, Scott's boat passed some kids playing cards on a dock. The kids saw the Stanley Cup and waved frantically, "Oh my God, there's the Stanley Cup!" Scott waved back, but the kids barely saw him - they were already scrambling down the rocks from the dock to a boat, anxious to follow the Devils' captain. The motor on their boat started but then sputtered to a complete halt. While Scott was visiting Dave and Wendy Krajc at Catchacoma Landing, he turned around only to see a handful of kids, panting, hustling into the marina. "Man, we didn't think we'd catch you." Scott recognized them as the kids from the card game on the dock. "We had to paddle like crazy to get here," they said, their eyes as big as saucers. "Can we get a picture of you with the Stanley Cup?" Scott chuckled, "After all that, sure!" The kids smiled like the butcher's dog as they got their picture taken with the hockey hero. "Sweet! Wait'll we tell my Dad," shouted one boy as the group ran back to the boat. They began to paddle back to their cottage, but their pace was drastically less in returning than it was on their way chasing Scott Stevens.

The 'Raiders of the Lost Refreshment' pose with the Stanley Cup after a victorious discovery.
The 'Raiders of the Lost Refreshment' pose with the Stanley Cup after a victorious discovery. Scott and Donna Stevens are joined by beverage pirates Greg Millen and his wife (right side of Stanley Cup) and Scott's Dad, Larry (far right).
One of the group asked, "Where does a guy get a drink around here?" Greg Millen had an answer: "Let's head over to my in-laws' place. It's just around the corner!" The group followed Millen's suggestion and enjoyed some refreshments courtesy of Greg's father-in-law, who wasn't there at the time. "Hey, let's visit Stillman," suggested Scott. Stevens works out with Cory Stillman, who had a career season with the St. Louis Blues last season but was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning this summer. The group brought the Cup to show Cory but he wasn't at his cottage, although his father-in-law was. Cory's father-in-law is Bud Stefanski, who is head coach of the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League. Bud had a cup of coffee in the NHL himself, playing a single game with the Rangers during the 1977-78 season. "Hey Bud," teased Scott, "Tell Cory we stopped by to show him the Cup. It may be the closest he'll get to it for awhile!"

Two of the best trophies Scott Stevens has ever bagged.
Two of the best trophies Scott Stevens has ever bagged -- a prized deer and the Stanley Cup!
Scott and his posse made their final marina stop, dropping by Little Gull Marina, then returned back to their cottage. "Man, I am starved," exclaimed Scott. No wonder - it was 1AM. The group sat down to a dinner of beef, chicken and white corn. "Hey Scott," started one of his pals. "I want to get a picture of the moose drinking out of the Stanley Cup." "Nah, it's late," responded Scott, but before long, the coaxing had Scott take the moose head he has hanging on his cottage wall out into the forest surrounding his home. "Yeah, that's it," continued the group. "Now, have the head peering out from between the branches so it looks like it has come out of the woods to drink out of the Stanley Cup." Scott hesitatingly obliged, and the group snapped off a number of photos of Lake Catchacoma's wildlife supposedly lapping up a drink from Lord Stanley's donated bowl. At four early Tuesday morning, Scott and his guests finally went to bed.

The Kawarthas are emblematic of nature at its most beautiful. The first native settlers named the area 'kawartha,' which means 'bright water; happy lands.' With Scott Stevens and his visit with the Stanley Cup, the area couldn't have been more aptly named!

Come back on Wednesday to discover how Grant Marshall spent his day with the Stanley Cup and the extra special celebrity who dropped by to help celebrate. You won't want to miss this edition of the Stanley Cup Journal!

A relaxing day at the cottage should always be shared with good friends.
A relaxing day at the cottage should always be shared with good friends.

Kevin Shea writes about hockey and its rich heritage from his Toronto home.

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