MIDDLETON, Mass. — Unlike the rest of his Bruins teammates, save for the newly-retired Mark Recchi, the prized day with the Stanley Cup was not a new experience for Shawn Thornton.
The Bruins tough guy already got to enjoy some special time with the most hallowed trophy in sports when he won the Cup with Anaheim in 2007. That didn't make his second chance to spend a day with it this summer any less special.
Thornton took the Cup on a tour of his native Ontario late last month. Thornton was scheduled to have his day on Tuesday, July 26, but got an extra night with it when the trophy arrived early on Monday night from Finland, where Tuukka Rask had enjoyed his day with it.
"It was awesome," Thornton said Monday, when he was back in the Bay State for his second annual Putts and Punches for Parkinson's charity golf tournament at Ferncroft Country Club. "I was fortunate enough that it got in from Finland at around 8 or 9 o'clock on Monday night, so Mike [Bolt] was only doing my day with the Cup so he ran up and grabbed it at the airport from Phil [Pritchard], brought it down and surprised me. I had like 12 friends for a quiet dinner up atop the CN Tower. We didn't expect it. So we had Monday night and then all day Tuesday."
Bolt and Pritchard are two of the "Keepers of the Cup," employees of the Hockey Hall of Fame who accompany the Cup on its travels around the globe. On his second chance with the Cup, Thornton made sure Bolt and the trophy got to go to a few unfamiliar places.
Thornton took it around Toronto, where the Cup is housed at the Hall of Fame when not traveling. But the Cup doesn't usually get to roam around the city, as the Maple Leafs haven't won it since the NHL was still a six-team league back in 1967.
Thornton also took the trophy to new heights with his dinner atop the CN Tower. Thornton wasn't sure if that was the highest elevation the Cup has been taken too as Stanley has visited several prominent mountain peaks, but he was confident that it was the highest man-made structure the Cup has ever been up.
"That's a good question, are the mountains higher or the CN Tower?" Thornton said. "I'm sure the mountains have to be higher, right? I'm assuming it's got to be [the highest man-made]. It's got to be. Isn't [the CN Tower] the second-highest man-made structure anyways, other than that one over in the Middle East [Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates]?"
The Cup isn't believed to have been to Dubai yet, but Thornton joked that could be on the itinerary if he won it again. "I could. I can take it anywhere I want if I win it a third time," he said.
Thornton kept his second day with a Cup a little more local, as he followed up his tour of Toronto by taking the Cup to his hometown of Oshawa that Tuesday, where a more low-key gathering of friends and family enjoyed some quality time with the trophy.
"It was very, very relaxing," Thornton said. "I kind of just took it all in and tried to enjoy it as much as I could. It was a great day. Everybody had a good time."