Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 38
The Stanley Cup Journal

North Battleford was buzzing with the triumphant return of Corey Schwab, the Stanley Cup and a whirlwind schedule.
(September 3, 2003) — Corey Schwab knows his role and accepts it readily. Backing All-Star netminder Martin Brodeur means infrequent starts, but when he was tapped on the shoulder by coach Pat Burns, Schwab had to be ready. And he certainly was. In 11 regular season games, Corey allowed just 15 goals, and scored a shutout as well. Role players are an integral part of any hockey team, but none more so than the Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils in 2002-03.

When the Stanley Cup arrived in North Battleford, Saskatchewan last Friday, August 29 at 8AM, Corey Schwab was listening to a 'Battle of the Sexes' contest on CJNB radio. His buddy, Teddy, was answering 'female-oriented' questions, while a young lady was answering 'male-oriented' questions. The female contestant on the phone was great and easily answered all the hockey questions she was asked. Teddy struggled with questions about removing ketchup stains from linen. "Ha, ha," howled Schwab. "Teddy got his ass kicked!"

The first order of business was photographs with the family. "Okay, check this out," Corey explained. "I have the entire itinerary printed here, minute by minute including travel times." The Schwabs gathered around to see an itinerary that would take Corey and the Cup to more than fifteen stops in his day in North Battleford.

Corey visited his brother Dallen at John Paul II Collegiate. Here, the two Schwab boys are seemingly being blessed by the Pope, who is more intent on discovering whether that truly is Holy Water in the Stanley Cup.
And Corey Schwab knocked down each visit systematically. 8:10 -- Steacy Ford, who loaned Corey vehicles used through the day. 8:20 - NAC Insurance. 8:40 - friends. 9:00 - Phoenix Sports. 9:20 - Co-op Sports. 9:40 - Factory Sports….

At ten o'clock, Corey wheeled into the parking lot of CJNB, North Battleford's popular radio station. The station was ecstatic to be able to talk on-air with the Devils' netminder, with the Stanley Cup sitting nearby all the while.

Corey proceeded to execute his meticulous itinerary, stopping at each and getting photos with staff. At 11, Schwab visited Home Hardware, and was shown a banner commemorating Schwab's Stanley Cup victory that will permanently hang in the North Battleford Civic Centre. A quick visit to Craig and Company brought out Corey's friend Blair Atcheynum, who enjoyed an NHL career himself, stopping in Ottawa, St. Louis and Chicago.

Finally, at 11:30, Corey took a break. "How about lunch, guys? I know a great place called Venice House. They've got the best lemon chicken." Even the Stanley Cup was tired by this point, and all were appreciative of the break and good food.

Corey Schwab's goaler pads are in the North Battleford Sports Museum for fans who wanna see 'em.
After lunch, Corey and the Cup stopped into a photography studio, then drifted over to the North Battleford Sports Museum. The pads Corey wore when he first turned pro were at the museum. "In some neighbourhoods, it's the smallest kid who gets shoved in net, but our neighbourhood was different," explained Schwab. "Everybody wanted to play goal. I guess I was just the guy who stuck with it." Next up was a stop at Battleford Furniture, which opened in 1979 and is housed in a former arena, and one in which Corey played when he was young.

The next visit was a bit more restful - a stop at the home of Corey's brother, Dallen. The brothers kicked back and drank champagne out of the Stanley Cup while sharing stories of childhood pranks.

After a couple of hours with his brother, Corey's next visit was at the North Battleford Civic Centre. He arrived at five, and a half hour later, was the guest of honour at a public ceremony. An amazing video montage chronicled Corey's career from childhood right through to his NHL debut as a Devil in 1995-96, and his subsequent stops in Tampa Bay, Vancouver, Toronto, then back again to the New Jersey Devils.

Playing forward and wearing the sweater of teammate Joe Nieuwendyk, Corey Schwab turned into a goal-scoring machine, potting a goal and assisting on the winning tally. Deservedly, Corey cradles the Cup.
Master of ceremonies Martin Smith walked guests through the highlights of Schwab's career. Flanking the guest of honour were Royal Canadian Mountain Police constables Eldon Chillog and Shawn Irwin, dressed in their crimson tunics. For the next three hours, Corey Schwab had his photograph taken with fans, with the Stanley Cup prominent in each picture.

At nine o'clock, North Battleford came out for a celebrity hockey game. All participants wore Devils' sweaters, although one team wore the white (Corey's team) and the others, the red. Every player had the name of a current Devil on his back. For example, Corey wore 'Nieuwendyk' while Blair Atcheynum wore 'Brodeur.' Dallen Schwab wore his brother's sweater. It was a great game; very competitive. Corey played forward and powered his team with a goal plus an assist on the winning goal, scored by emcee Martin Smith, who happened to be wearing the sweater of 'Elias.' The game ended 7-6 for Corey's squad. Corey's white team skated around the perimeter of the ice with the Stanley Cup, then both teams huddled around the storied mug for a commemorative photograph. "Hey, we won, so we're up front," Corey laughed. The red team didn't mind. It was great just to have their pictures taken with Corey and the Stanley Cup!

After the game, the players and guests went upstairs to a private party that lasted from 11PM until 3 in the morning. Corey had likely broken some unofficial record for most places visited with the Stanley Cup, but after all, his occupation is known for making frequent stops.

The Stanley Cup traveled to Cranbrook next, where the morale of firefighters was buoyed by the visit by Scott Niedermayer, and you'll read about it Friday in Stanley Cup Journal.

Kevin Shea writes about hockey history from his Toronto home.

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