TAMPA — Kevin Shattenkirk and Zach Bogosian helped the Lightning win an NHL title in 2020, so it was only fitting that the ‘21 team helped the defensemen finally get their long-awaited day with the Stanley Cup.
Since the pandemic caused the Cup to stay in Tampa Bay after last season rather than travel around the world as it would in a normal year, players weren’t able to share the moment with hometown family and friends.
But as coronavirus restrictions lifted and the Lightning pursued a second straight Cup earlier this summer, Bogosian saw an opportunity: If Tampa Bay successfully defended its championship, he wondered, would players from the previous season’s squad get to have their day with the Cup?
“We were just like, they’re going to do it again,” said Bogosian, who signed with the Maple Leafs as a free agent less than two weeks after winning the Cup with the Lightning. “... And we were joking that the best-case scenario is they win again and they just have to add on four or five Cup parties.”
Shortly after the Lightning defeated the Canadiens earlier this month to win their second straight Cup, Bogosian and Shattenkirk (who signed with the Ducks as a free agent following the 2020 season), learned that they, too, would get their day with the Cup.
Shattenkirk, 32, greeted the day’s arrival with the excitement and anticipation of a kid on Christmas morning.
“It was weird to be thinking that a year later we were still considering (a Cup day) or talking through this, and then it was about to happen,” he said. “That morning I woke up, I just remember being so excited, and it became real at that point.”
Shattenkirk took the Cup to New Rochelle, N.Y., where he received a key to the city and a proclamation from the mayor, Noam Bramson. He also visited Iona Prep Lower School, where his mother, Barbara, has taught since 1995; as well as his training gym in Connecticut (Prentiss Hockey Performance).
When it was time to eat, Shattenkirk stopped by Spadaro Roman Kitchen, where his family has eaten frequently over the past decade, for a private lunch. And yes, he ate spaghetti out of the Cup.
The daylong celebration ended with a private rooftop party with a group of 100 close friends and family.
It wasn’t just the chance to hoist the Cup again that made the day exciting for Shattenkirk, his wife, Deanna, and his family. It was also seeing his Stanley Cup ring for the first time.
When the Lightning had their ring ceremony at the end of April, former teammates FaceTimed Shattenkirk and others to include them in the festivities. Still, it wasn’t the same as celebrating with his former teammates in person.
“That was tough kind of to see these guys going through that (without you),” Shattenkirk said. “You know that it’s part of it when you’re gone from an organization that wins, you’re not going to be able to share that moment, but I developed a lot of great relationships with guys in Tampa that kept me somewhat included.
“It made me realize that this is a bond that will be hard to break for a long time.”
Bogosian, who got the Cup the day after Shattenkirk, visited the gravesites of his paternal grandparents, Ike and Armen Bogosian, and maternal grandmother, Loraine Leffler. All passed away before they could see their grandson lift the Cup.
“They were huge supporters of myself and my brothers in all sports,” Bogosian said. “My parents couldn’t be at every single game, so they would cart me around to different tournaments and long drives and hotels. ... That was kind of how I wanted to start my day, to just have a moment with them and show my appreciation for what they did for me, my career and my life.”
Bogosian, who re-signed with the Lightning earlier this week, later visited Massena Arena, where he played minor hockey.
He also posed with the Cup at a pier and a golf course before hosting a combined Stanley Cup-birthday party. He turned 31 less than a week before his day with the Cup.
“We had a ball,” Bogosian said. “It’s basically your wedding night over again, but you’re just holding this massive (37-pound) trophy the entire time. They don’t really care about you any more, your arms are tired from holding it, but it’s something I’ll always cherish and remember.”
Bogosian’s ring moment was equally memorable, if far from ceremonial.
Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who Bogosian considers a “brother,” delivered Bogosian’s ring when he flew home to Minnesota after the Lightning’s boat parade earlier this month. The two met at an Esso gas station.
“The classy people that me and him are, he handed me over a box that was about 20 pounds and I opened my Cup ring in the gas station parking lot,” Bogosian said, laughing.
“And I wouldn’t want to do it any other way.”
Other Lightning Cup adventures so far:
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