Saturday, 29 May 2010

TBC: Travels With Stanley

With the start of the Stanley Cup Final mere hours away, I thought it would be good to review a few books regarding the Stanley Cup itself, and some of its adventures through the course of its history. Today, Teebz's Book Club is proud to bring to you a great book that shows the many places the Stanley Cup has visited. Travels with Stanley, written by the Keepers of the Cup and published by the Fenn Publishing Company, is a photographic recollection of all the places that the Stanley Cup has visited thanks to the tradition of the winning players having their day with the Stanley Cup. Some of the visuals in this book are amazing due to the locations that the Stanley Cup has been captured on film at, and the stories of who took the Stanley Cup to these places are quite interesting.

Philip Pritchard, Craig Campbell, Mike Bolt, Walt Neubrand, and Bill Wellman are the Keepers of the Cup, and they pass on their stories through this book, along with some of their photos. All five men are employees of the Hockey Hall of Fame, and each have accompanied the Stanley Cup to corners of the Earth. Pritchard has been working for the HHOF since 1988; Campbell since 1991; Bolt since 1995; Neubrand since 1995; and, Wellman since 1993. You will likely see both Pritchard and Campbell on television this year as they are the men in white gloves who are responsible for carrying the Stanley Cup onto the ice for the ceremony, and have been doing so since 1998.

I'll admit this up front: I was quite impressed with Travels with Stanley. I had originally thought it would be a collection of photos from various places that the Stanley Cup had been, but it's quite a bit more than that. The little blurbs that accompany each photo tell you who took the Stanley Cup to each place, and the pictures show that the Stanley Cup would have quite the passport and photo album if it were a person.

Some of the more interesting photos actually had nothing to do with an NHL player or team whatsoever. For example, the Central Hockey League's Memphis River Kings got to spend some time with the Stanley Cup during its tour of those teams' cities. Thanks to efforts of the players and management, the Stanley Cup was photographed at Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley. While Elvis wasn't a hockey fan as far as I can tell, the Stanley Cup visited the site where the King of Rock and Roll lived.

The Stanley Cup has visited some remote locations as well. Thanks to their 2004 Championship, the Tampa Bay Lightning's Dmitry Afanasenkov brought the Stanley Cup to his hometown. That town? Arkhangelsk, Russia. Originally named Novo-Kholmogory, the city changed its name in 1613 in honour of the monastery of the Archangel Michael. The Stanley Cup, in 2004, was photographed in front of a huge statue of Vladimir Lenin in Petrovskiy Park, nearly 400 miles northwest of Saint Petersburg, Russia!

In 2006, the Stanley Cup traveled to Rio Grande, Texas to appear at the Central Hockey League's All-Star Game, and it was photographed straddling the US-Mexico border. It took a while, but 2006 was the first time that the Stanley Cup had entered the country of Mexico!

In 2001, after the Colorado Avalanche had won the Stanley Cup, a few members of the Avalanche decided to take the Stanley Cup to its highest point. The highest peak in the Rockey Mountains is located in Colorado, named Mount Elbert. The Stanley Cup was photographed at the peak of Mount Elbert, an astounding 4400 metres, or 14,433 feet, above sea level!

All in all, there are some excellent stories in Travels with Stanley's 168 pages. The pictures are absolutely fascinating, and it's amazing to see the amount of mileage that the Stanley Cup has piled up. If it were collecting frequent flier miles, it would have a lifetime pass. Much credit goes to the five men responsible for looking after the Stanley Cup for bringing this book to life, and I'm sure they could have written volumes with the places they have visited. Without a doubt, Travels with Stanley deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval! The book is suitable for all ages, and shouldn't be a difficult read for early readers at all.

REMINDER: If you're a part of the HBIC Playoff Pool, you have hours before the Stanley Cup Final begins. Email me here with your picks for the Stanley Cup Final!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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