BOSTON — Dennis Seidenberg lived out the dream of every hockey player when he hoisted the Stanley Cup last spring. But the Bruins defenseman actually grew up in Germany dreaming of raising a different silver cup.
The cup awarded to the men's champion at Wimbledon was the trophy Seidenberg once had his sights set on as an aspiring tennis player.
"I definitely thought about [Wimbledon] a little more," Seidenberg said. "Back then Boris Becker was playing and I was following him closely and watched all the big tournaments. There was definitely a lot more coverage about that than NHL hockey."
Seidenberg, 30, pursued both sports through his teenage years, becoming an accomplished amateur on the court in his homeland.
"I played two satellite tournaments when I was 16, 17," Seidenberg said. "I was [ranked] 16th in my age in Germany when I was 16. That was about it."
In the end, it was the team camaraderie of hockey that helped hockey win out over tennis.
"I just had more fun being around guys and traveling with guys compared to being on your own and playing a sport by yourself," Seidenberg said. "That's what made my choice a little easier."
Seidenberg still wasn't thinking about the NHL or winning the Stanley Cup at that point.
"Not really, I thought about playing in the German Hockey League in the first division, just going that way and I never really thought about actually coming over here until I was maybe 19, 20 and took the step to try my luck over here," Seidenberg said. "The coverage in Germany wasn't too much about the NHL. I knew what was going on, but I never really thought about it too much because I didn't expect to come over here. Once I got drafted I think that's when it hit me really, a possibility for me to come over here and play hockey."
Seidenberg was drafted by Philadelphia 172nd overall in 2001, and came over to North America for the 2002-03 season, which he split between the Flyers and their AHL affiliate. Nine years, and four organizations later, Seidenberg was raising the Cup as a key part of Boston's blue line last spring.
Now, as Seidenberg and the Bruins begin their title defense with Game 1 of their opening-round series with Washington Thursday night at the Garden, the veteran defenseman has no regrets about abandoning his dreams of Wimbledon glory or reaching the pinnacle of German hockey.
He may have won hardware there too, but it wouldn’t have compared to Lord Stanley’s chalice.
"There's no name for it," Seidenberg said of the trophy awarded the German league champion. "You don't get a day with it either."
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