Thirteen American states, five Canadian provinces and its first-ever visit to Slovenia. The Stanley Cup will soon embark on a busy summer tour with the Los Angeles Kings.
One of the greatest rewards that come with winning the iconic trophy is getting the opportunity to host it for a day.
Rookie defenceman Slava Voynov will have the honour of doing it first July 3 when the Stanley Cup travels more than halfway around the globe to his hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia—a full 13 time zones from Los Angeles. From there, it will make a quick stop outside Moscow with Andrei Loktionov before adding another country to the long list it has visited.
Anze Kopitar's day with the trophy is arguably the most anticipated of the summer. He's the first player from Slovenia to play in the NHL—Detroit's Jan Mursak became the second this year—and a number of their countryman hosted parties in the middle of the night to watch the Kings chase the Stanley Cup.
One can only imagine how enthusiastic the celebration will be when they finally have a chance to touch the trophy July 6.
After leaving Europe, it will eventually find its way to Quebec, where Jonathan Bernier is scheduled to bring it to Laval while Simon Gagne hosts it in Lac Beauport.
Few will get a chance to savour their time with the trophy more than Darryl Sutter. He's scheduled to spend three days with the Stanley Cup in Alberta in late July—a fitting reward after finally winning it in his 28th NHL season as either a player, coach or general manager.
Conn Smythe-winning goalie Jonathan Quick (Stamford, Conn.) and captain Dustin Brown (Ithaca, N.Y.) will bring the trophy to their hometowns on consecutive days before it makes a trek across Canada in August.
After visits with Willie Mitchell and goaltending coach Bill Ranford in British Columbia, the Stanley Cup will travel west to Saskatchewan for stops with Dwight King and Jarret Stoll, make its second visit to Winkler, Man., with Dustin Penner and move into Northern Ontario when Mike Richards brings it in Kenora on Aug. 18.
It is scheduled to spend more than a week in the province, including back-to-back days in London as Drew Doughty and Jeff Carter each get their turn to show it off.
Following two weeks back in Los Angeles in early September, the Cup's journey will end fittingly with a visit to Quebec with Luc Robitaille, the consummate King. He gets it Sept. 19—the last day before the trophy is sent away to be engraved with the names of the newest NHL champions.
The Hockey Hall of Fame will chronicle the Stanley Cup's travels throughout the summer by posting photos and stories to an online journal. It can be found at http://www.hhof.com/htmlstcjournal/exSCJ_2012.shtml.
A look at some notable stops on the Stanley Cup's summer tour:
July 6—Jesenice, Slovenia. Anze Kopitar becomes the first player to bring the trophy to his homeland.
July 20-21—Viking, Alta. Darryl Sutter follows brothers Duane and Brent by bringing the trophy to the farm where six NHLers were raised.
July 28—Ithaca, N.Y. Dustin Brown, the Kings captain, gets another chance to lift the trophy as it pays a rare visit to his hometown.
Aug. 2—Ventnor, N.J. Justin Williams celebrates his second Stanley Cup on the Jersey shore—perhaps a little too close for comfort for fans of the Devils.
Aug. 12—Port McNeill, B.C. Willie Mitchell finally gets a day with the trophy on Vancouver Island. The 35-year-old defenceman endured the longest wait of any Kings player before winning it.
Aug. 16—Neudorf, Sask. Jarret Stoll celebrates in this village of roughly 300 people, likely the smallest place the trophy will spend an entire day this summer.
Aug. 31—Allen, Texas. Alec Martinez brings the trophy to the Lone Star State, somewhere it hasn't spent much time since the Dallas Stars championship in 1999.
Sept. 19—To be determined. Longtime King Luc Robitaille becomes the last member of the organization to host the trophy before it gets engraved with the names of those who helped win it.