Mike Bolt’s best friend is the most coveted trophy in all of sports.
It’s silver, 35.5 inches and 34.5 pounds, features the engraved names of 2,163 people and will be hoisted by either the Vancouver Canucks or Boston Bruins any day now.
Bolt is a Keeper of the Cup, also known as one of four individuals in charge of the safety and well being of the Stanley Cup. Of the four Keepers, Bolt spends the most time with the Holy Grail, roughly 250 days a year, each year, for the last 12 years.
When a Stanley Cup champion is crowned for 2011, they’ll get approximately 100 days with Lord Stanley's Mug and Bolt will be there for all of it. It’s a packaged deal, win the Cup, win Bolt.
In the 42-year-old’s words, he “rides the Stanley Cup’s coattails all over the world,” which has led to some extraordinary experiences over the years.
Bolt only hangs with winners and before long he’ll have white gloves on preparing the Stanley Cup to be presented to the best team in hockey.
Here are six things you should know about Mike Bolt and the Stanley Cup.
“I wasn’t a very good hockey player, but anyone who plays this game dreams of going to the National Hockey League and winning the Stanley Cup and now I tell people that if you can’t play for it, you might as well look after it. I don’t have to go to the corner, I don’t have to get my face busted up, I don’t have to pull my groin and I get to spend more time with it than any winner does. Again, that’s kind of the funny part of it, but all kidding aside, I have a great job, I’m honored and thrilled to do it.”
JOB IN A NUTSHELL
“Basically I’m getting the Cup from A to B as it travels all over the world. I make sure the Cup stays safe and it’s respected and that the guys have a fun, respectful time with it. We do a lot of corporate events with it throughout the year too; I also do marketing PR for it and am a spokesperson and historian for it. It’s a great job; to watch these guys bring it to their home towns, share it with their friends, share it with mom and dad and the family that supported them since they put on a pair of skates, is pretty amazing. That’s the part of my job that brings me the most joy."
THE PLAYERS WIN IT, NOT ME
“No, it doesn’t feel like I win it. Not a chance. Not even close. I don’t drink out of it, I don’t lift it over my head and I don’t run around and act like I won it. Not everybody gets to lift it over their head and I just won’t do it; I’m in my hotel room with it right now and I could have it over my head and I won’t do it. I can’t really put into words what I feel or what I get to be a part of, but I definitely don’t feel like I win it, I’m a guy that just happens to be a fly on the wall with the winners.”
ON TOP OF THE WORLD
“I get asked what my favorite memory is a lot and it is a tough answer because there are so many good stories. Some players eat cereal out of it in the morning, others make a big ice cream sundae in the Cup, it’s a huge bowl, it makes for a great sundae or whatever it may be. Guys take it out for quiet moments on the boat, just cruising on the lake, all sorts of different things, I've even been snowmobiling with it. One of my favorite photos ever taken was last summer with Andrew Ladd on top of a mountain here in Vancouver. He wanted to be with the Cup at sunrise at 5 a.m.; he was on top of the world literally and then on top of the hockey world. It was a great experience.”
TAKING IT TO THE STREETS
“I remember my first year in 2000, Marty Brodeur playing road hockey with his childhood friends. They played every day after school as kids and they always played for the Stanley Cup and then they actually got to play for the real Stanley Cup, which is pretty cool. It was the exact same teams too, as Marty explained it, 'if you lived on this side of the light post, you were on this team, if you were from the other side, you were on that team.' Marty even played with the same hockey net he played with as a kid. He said the neighbors were always getting mad and telling them to get off the street and the police would come by sometimes and shut it down, then there they were with fans on the street, neighbors there cheering them on and the police were blocking the street for us.”
"If we’re at a restaurant, sometimes guys wants to have their soup or dinner out of it, so sometimes I just have to take it out back and clean it out and get it ready for the next event. If I’m at a player’s home, I’ll just get a garden hose and some soap and wash it down, or throw it in the shower and get it sparkling again. Every day at the end of the day I give it a wash just to be safe. I always make the joke that I’m a professional dishwasher, my mom is so proud. But I get to wash one of the greatest bowls in the world."
NHL LOCKOUT OVER AS MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING SIGNED
THE CANADIAN PRESS
1/12/2013 11:30:11 PM
The long wait for NHL hockey is over.
The long wait for NHL hockey is over.
Skates and sticks will replace suits and briefcases for a Sunday opening of training camps after players voted massively in favour of a new collective bargaining agreement to end the nearly four-month old lockout.
However, it took hours after the players' vote for the two sides to complete a written memorandum of understanding consistent with what the players voted on that had to be completed before the CBA became final. That was finalized late Saturday night.
Camps and other business could not begin until the deal was completed.
The 36-hour electronic voting process for the players ended Saturday morning, reportedly with 98.2 per cent saying yes to the deal and only 12 voting against it.
The league's 30 clubs are eager to get started on a seven-day, hurry-up camp to get ready for a 48-game schedule over only 99 days that begins with 13 games on Jan. 19.
Opening night match-ups include the Los Angeles Kings' Stanley Cup banner-raising as they play host to Chicago, as well as Toronto at Montreal, Ottawa at Winnipeg and Anaheim at Vancouver. Edmonton is at Vancouver and San Jose visits Calgary on Jan. 20.
The teams will play only inside their own conference in the regular season.
Read the full story here
By Rod Perry, CBC Sports
After months of being locked in a labour stalemate, the National Hockey League and its players are finally ready to get back to work.
Early on Sunday morning — day 113 of the lockout — NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirmed from New York the two sides had reached a tentative agreement on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement that will finally spark the beginning of the regular season.
Details of the new CBA were not immediately released, and Bettman cautioned they still needed to be ironed out fully.
The majority of both the NHL's 30-member Board of Governors and NHL players still need to ratify the agreement.
"We have reached an agreement on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement, the details of which need to be put to paper," Bettman told a news conference. "We've got to dot a lot of i's and cross a lot of t's. There's still a lot of work to be done but the basic framework of the deal has been agreed upon."
Read the full story here
Sunday, 16.09.2012 / 9:00 AM /
News Vancouver Canucks
Vancouver, B.C. – As you are aware the NHL and NHLPA were unable to agree on a successor Collective Bargaining Agreement before September 15th. The Vancouver Canucks remain hopeful that a new Collective Bargaining Agreement will be reached as soon as possible.
In the interim, we will continue to focus the efforts and talent of our entire staff and coaches on the values of grassroots hockey in British Columbia. We also will continue with our ongoing community initiatives, including children’s health and wellness through Canucks Autism Network, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice and BC Children’s Hospital -- as well as the support of literacy at the Canucks Family Education Centre.
As always, we appreciate your patience and loyalty. We want to say again how much we appreciate your support and passion for your Canucks. We look forward to returning to the ice at Rogers Arena as soon as possible. Our staff and coaches have worked hard over the summer months to make sure we will be ready to play at a moment’s notice.
NHL officially locks out its players as CBA expires
By Chris Johnson,
The Canadian Press September 15, 2012 9:14 PM
June 17, 2011
Is less than 48 hours enough to ease the pain of losing in the Stanley Cup Final?
Not even close.
The Vancouver Canucks met with the media for the final time this season and the mood was just as somber as you’d expect. Although many players said they’ve put things in perspective following a 4-0 loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Cup Final Wednesday night, it’s going to take more than a few days to get over the disappointment of coming in second.
Alex Burrows was too emotional to talk following the loss, but he and Roberto Luongo were the first to speak outside the Canucks locker room Friday.
“It’s still shocking a little bit, I haven’t really had a lot of time to think about it or reflect on it, but obviously it’s disappointing to be one game short of the ultimate goal that we worked so hard for all season long,” said Burrows.
“We still haven’t gotten to our main goal, I think it’s going to take some time to heal this summer.”
Despite the players having no control over what general manager Mike Gillis decides to do to this team in the off-season in hopes of getting it back to the Stanley Cup Final next season, they all acknowledged that this group likely won’t be together in its entirety come September.
For such a tight-knit unit, that’s a big blow, but it’s part of the business.
“We felt that we had all the ingredients necessary, but that being said, there’s always ways to improve and what those are I don’t know,” said Roberto Luongo.
“We were very happy with our group and this is by far the best team I’ve ever been on and it was the most fun I’ve ever had coming to the rink this season.”
Changes could come as early as next Friday, June 24, when the 2011 NHL Draft takes place in Minnesota. The good news for Vancouver is that the core of the team will remain together for the next few years as players like Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Ryan Kesler, Burrows and Luongo aren’t going anywhere.
Kevin Bieksa becomes an unrestricted free agent come July 1 and while he wants to remain in Vancouver, he sees both sides of the coin.
“We’ll talk soon, we’ll talk in the next little while and I’m pretty optimistic that we can reach an agreement,” said Bieksa, adding that change can be a difficult process.
“We’ve almost earned that opportunity to come back and get another shot, there’s so many things that went right this year and we won a lot hockey games, but at the same time you can always get better. We can always find out what went wrong in the Boston series and address some things, you can’t be complacent, you’ve got to keep trying to get better in this league and I’ll sure they’ll do a good job this summer doing a few tweaks.”
Christian Ehrhoff, Andrew Alberts and Sami Salo are also defensemen slated to become unrestricted free agents, while upfront Chris Higgins, Tanner Glass, Jeff Tambellini and Rick Rypien are facing uncertain futures.
For Salo, a 36-year-old veteran of eight seasons with the Canucks, retirement crossed his mind when he was injured last summer, but now he’s got more fire in his belly than ever before. He’d love to return to Vancouver for another kick at the can.
“It’s been a really good fit here, it’s a top class organization and I’ve been treated well here,” Salo said. “I’ve been long in the league and I’m happy here, so we’ll see obviously in a couple of weeks what’s going to happen.”
Salo said he is motivated like never before after the most successful season he’s ever been a part of, one that saw him battle back from a devastating injury to become a trusted performer on the blueline.
“It felt really good to be in the Western Final, then obviously the Stanley Cup Final, it was a great feeling, very exciting and not just for me, but for my family too. They enjoyed the time and it brings you a lot more hunger for next year and you want to keep playing.”
Of the many things general manager Mike Gillis touched on during his end of season press conference with Alain Vigneault, the list of injuries the Canucks battled through this post-season was eye-opening.
Strap yourself in…
-“Alex Edler has two broken fingers from a slash.”
-“Kevin Bieksa has a bruised MCL from a slash.”
-"Mikael Samuelsson, as you know, had an operation on an abdominal muscle tear.”
-“Manny was a warrior out there, but he was operating at less than 100 per cent, he hadn’t skated in I think six to seven weeks after his injury because of the treatment he had to have.”
-“Chris Higgins had a foot injury that continued to get worse throughout the playoffs.”
-“Christian Ehrhoff had a shoulder injury that didn’t recover from the third round onward. We don’t think he’ll need a procedure, but he’ll need some fairly serious rest and rehab.”
-“Henrik had a back injury from getting cross-checked in the second round.”
“Is that enough for everybody?” Gillis asked.
Yes is the only answer, it was more than enough to make the Canucks a shell of themselves on hockey’s biggest stage.
One of the final things Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said to the media was perhaps the most impactful. It’s something I’ll keep in my back pocket this summer and I suggest you do the same.
“It was difficult, it was a grind and it was fun,” said Vigneault on the 2011 Playoffs. “As much right now as I think we’re all disappointed, Mike and my coaching staff and our players, I think we’re going to come back a more motivated, more focused group than we ever have.
“We know what it takes and I think everybody coming to training camp next year is going to be real fired up about getting back to this place and making it right.”
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