Cup Crazy: A Day with Lord Stanley’s Cup

The hockey world was focused on Fenway Park last Wednesday as the NHL made the official announcement that the Bruins would host the Flyers at Fenway Park in the third annual Winter Classic on New Year’s Day 2010. But while the media converged at Fenway, local hockey fans were lining up outside the house of Pittsburgh Penguins scout Jim Madigan in Milton, Mass.

As part of the storied tradition of the Stanley Cup, each player and staff member of the Stanley Cup champions are allowed their time with the greatest trophy in sports, and Madigan, a long time NHL scout and former assistant coach at Northeastern, was given his Wednesday.

Throngs of family, friends, neighbors, and people who heard via word of mouth and through an announcement on WZLX and saw via numerous fly-by’s by local news choppers, descended upon the Madigan residence and got their chance to congratulate him and meet Lord Stanley.

“This was really something special and I guess you don’t realize the magnitude of this trophy and being a part of something like winning the Stanley Cup until you actually go through it,” Madigan told NESN.com. “It is just such a honor to be part of this and to have had the opportunity to work for such a great organization and a man like [GM] Ray Shero.”

For Madigan, who scouted with the Islanders for thirteen seasons, and the Penguins the last three, a day with the cup and being part of a Stanley Cup champion team is a reward for all the miles traveled, the days spent in cold rinks and the time spent away from home and family. To be able to see the 36-pound, silver chalice that is the Stanley Cup sit in their backyard was all of that hard work coming to fruition.

“This is so great for him to be able to do this have the cup here,” said Kim Madigan, Jim’s wife. “He has worked so hard for so many years. But this is his passion. It’s just great that they recognize him and the other scouts as well.”

For Mike Bolt, one of the “Keepers of the Cup” that travels around with the Stanley Cup all summer, seeing people like Madigan get recognized and enjoying a day like this is one of the many reasons he loves his job.

“This is a dream job for sure and it’s great but when you see people behind the scenes like scouts get their due, that’s one of the cooler parts of this job,” Bolt said. “You meet so many people on this job and there’s so many people that contribute to a team winning the Cup and its great to be able to be able to help reward them for their hard work.”

Bolt and the Cup are actually spending plenty of time in New England or visiting those with local connections this summer as the Penguins roster and organization has a distinct New England flavor. Shero and former assistant GM Chuck Fletcher (now the GM of the Wild), both spent time at Harvard. Former Bruins forward, NESN analyst and Billerica, Mass. native Tom Fitzgerald served as an assistant coach this season and is the new assistant GM in Pittsburgh. And Kevin Stevens, a former Bruins and Boston College forward and native of Brockton, Mass., has been a scout with the Penguins since 2005.

Players Hal Gill (Concord, Mass., Providence College), Billy Guerin (Wilbraham, Mass., Boston College), Ryan Whitney (Scituate, Mass., Boston University), Brooks Orpik (Boston College), and Rob Scuderi (Boston College), also have New England connections and have had or will get their time with the Cup.

“This has always been a hockey hot-bed,” said Madigan who frequents plenty of New England rinks throughout the year. “There’s still plenty of talent coming from the area.”

Madigan will continue to scout that talent for the Penguins and hopefully help them build an even stronger organization. But for this one day, it was about the scout getting his due and he enjoyed every minute of it.

“This was a special day for sure and I’m grateful to have had this opportunity and shared it with so many people,” he said. “This is what it’s all about!”

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