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Stanley Cup culprit? Lightning’s Pat Maroon confesses to dropping it

In an ESPN St. Louis radio interview, Maroon said the rainy weather made him lose his balance and caused both him and the Cup to take a tumble.
Lightning left wing Pat Maroon has a firm grip on the Stanley Cup after Tampa Bay beats Montreal. Monday after the boat parade was another story.
Lightning left wing Pat Maroon has a firm grip on the Stanley Cup after Tampa Bay beats Montreal. Monday after the boat parade was another story. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Jul. 14
Updated Jul. 14

Now we know the real story of how the Stanley Cup sustained an upper-body injury in Monday’s boat parade celebration.

Veteran forward and three-time Cup winner Pat Maroon went on 101 ESPN Sports Talk for St. Louis, his hometown radio station, Wednesday afternoon.

“It was obviously raining and it was wet,” Maroon said. “I went to lift it, and I went backwards with it. I slipped and (Cup keeper) Phil (Pritchard) helped me up and the Cup went back on it’s end.

“People are saying we disrespected the Cup, such BS because if they had half a brain, you know it’s wet outside and you’d think we’d be throwing the Cup around? No. We didn’t disrespect it. It was a complete accident, and we both got hurt. My back has been hurt all day. So, that’s what happened. Nothing crazy.”

Maroon said that Pritchard told him it was okay and not to worry about it.

“I’m sure there’s way worse things that have happened to the Cup besides me falling,” Maroon said. “They said it’s an easy fix. ... It’s (going to be) back in Tampa on Thursday, so a quick fix. It wasn’t even that bad. The picture made it look like it was dented that bad, it wasn’t.”

Maroon and his teammates are still trying to find out who took the photo. Maroon said he dropped it in an area that was family only.

“I don’t know who did it,” he said, “...but we’re going to find them.”

Aside from the incident with the Cup, Maroon said he and the team enjoyed time with the fans at the Lightning’s boat parade celebration. He reiterated what the team — especially coach Jon Cooper — has said all along that the sport is meant to be played in front of fans and celebrations like Monday’s are meant for them, too.

“It was sick (winning at home with fans),” Maroon said. “Having that opportunity to win at home, a packed house, fans there celebrating, and they got to witness history. It was pretty badass to say the least.”

Maroon said it’s important to bring the Cup to the people and that’s what helps make it the best trophy in the world. Maroon recalled watching the Cardinals’ World Series parade growing up and how none of the players got off their floats to celebrate.

“When you win, you want to include the fans,” he said. “You have to include them as much as you can. Go up to them and hug them, high-five them and have them be a part of it, too, because they’re the ones waiting there for six hours waiting for us to come in, so I love making it about the fans. It should be about the fans.”

Pat Maroon chugs a couple beers from a replica of the Stanley Cup during Monday's celebration.
Pat Maroon chugs a couple beers from a replica of the Stanley Cup during Monday's celebration. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]

Maroon said the biggest challenge this year was having a target on the team’s back all season. Without Nikita Kucherov during the regular season, the Lightning worried they wouldn’t make the postseason (then Kucherov ended up leading the league in the playoffs with 32 points).

“Our team grinded through a season that was 56 (games), every other day, but I think people forget that we won two Cups in under a year,” Maroon said. “So it’s pretty remarkable and we haven’t really had an offseason because of COVID so guys were worn out, guys were tired, but it was unbelievable how we came together and worked. I think this one was, for sure, the hardest one to win.”

In addition to celebrating his third Stanley Cup, Maroon and his wife, Francesca, are expecting a baby girl this year. He joked that Francesca has let him have his “freedom” for the past five days.

“We’re excited,” he said. “We got the news this year and we knew it was going to be a special year. ... We’re excited to grow the family, Anthony (Maroon’s son) is pumped, and it’s going to be awesome. ... I heard a girl dad’s the best.”

Contact Mari Faiello at mfaiello@tampabay.com. Follow @faiello_mari.

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