DENVER (KDVR) – Only a matter of minutes had passed before the legendary trophy of Lord Stanley was unintentionally pile-driven into the ice of Amelia Arena on Sunday, leaving both the Cup and its long-running lore a bit more dented.
“I guess it’s a new record today. Five minutes into the presentation it’s happened. It’s the first time it’s ever happened on the ice,” the Hockey Hall of Fame’s Keeper of the Cup, Philip Pritchard said of the nearly immediate damage the Avs players were able to apply to the trophy.
Pritchard has been tasked with being the Keeper of the Cup for nearly 35 years and he’s witnessed a lot of its history firsthand during that time.
FOX31 spoke with Pritchard Wednesday morning to hear how its first few days in the Colorado capital have gone.
When you look at the job description, what does it say?
“I don’t think it says babysitter of an inanimate object but I think that’d be pretty cool on a business card.”
How did you get into this line of work?
“Well, if my wife was on the phone, she’d tell you I was in the wrong spot at the wrong time because I should’ve been a hockey player, they seem to make more money.
“I went to school for sports administration, kinda did some internships and co-ops and ended up in a junior league in Canada, and kinda climbed the hockey ladder to the Hockey Hall of Fame, which looks after all of hockey history, including the greatest trophy in sport.
“One thing led to another and there I was traveling to the Stanley Cup in 1988, and now 34 years later, which makes me sound really old, I’m still doing it, it’s the third time in Denver with the cup, and in the four days we’ve been here, this has really brought the community together.”
Phil, the dents, let’s talk
“We all saw it because it was on national television and I mean even before the team photo was done it was all across social media and everywhere, It’s so exciting on the ice, the guys get the chance to hoist it over their heads for the first time, they’re skating around the ice and then they do the traditional team photo on the ice and everyone rushed over to get in the best spot on the team photo and [Nicolas Aube-Kubel] was last and he was the guy with the cup and I don’t know what was going through his mind at the time or he was thinking I ve got to get in that photo I don’t want to miss it.
“I think then he realized he had the Stanley Cup, and if anyone has ever skated and you hit an edge, it’s not pretty, as we all saw, no matter how talented you are on ice, if you hit an edge, you’re gonna fall, and he fell into a player which was very fortunate for him he could have really hurt himself.
“We flew back on Monday with everybody on a charter, Mike (the second Keeper of the Cup) and myself we went with all the equipment guys to Ball Arena and connected with a bunch of people that had tools and everything and we went to work. You look at it now, I mean it’s 130 years old, if I look that good when I’m 130 ill be pretty happy.”
So the dent is fixed?
Was the Cup accidentally delivered to the wrong address?
“So, so the other day, we stopped on the road where Gabe lives…we uh…so…to answer your question yes, that’s true.
“We stopped there, we couldn’t really see the number of the house, so I said we’ll just go up and knock, what’s the worst thing, they say, ‘Hi, who are you guys?’ Sure enough, I knock, ‘Hi who are you guys?’
According to Phil, they came outside took pictures of it and pointed to the correct house one door over.
Is it cool to travel around with something that so many admire?
“It does have so many stories, and obviously what happened on the ice the other night adds to the lore of it, stopping at the wrong house adds to the lore of it, but there were fans and they’re fans of the community, and they want to share it with people, people are so excited.
“I think the parade tomorrow will be great, I don’t know the numbers they’re expecting but I remember the last two here were pretty amazing and this one is going to be just as big, or bigger.”
Phil Pritchard concluded his discussion with FOX31 by declaring his intention to get his business card switched to “Babysitter of an inanimate object.”