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Posted On Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 2:28 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Cup win part of special journey for Lombardis

Kings' general manager Dean Lombardi poses for a photo on his day with the Stanley Cup in Ludlow, Mass. (Photo: Tal Pinchevsky/NHL.com)

There have been plenty of locals in Ludlow, Mass., conspicuously wearing Boston Bruins jerseys for Dean Lombardi's day with the Stanley Cup. But with streams of Bruins fans filing into town hall more than two hours after the Cup's arrival, one longtime fan of the Los Angeles Kings general manager made sure to wear her Kings T-shirt.

"I had no idea how much he's loved here," said Wandamae Lombardi, Dean's wife of almost 20 years. "It's amazing. He's had a great year."

Mrs. Lombardi is no stranger to hockey. Her father is Hall of Fame player/coach/GM Bob Pulford, and she met her husband when she was working the San Jose Sharks marketing department. Since that chance meeting, it's been a remarkable journey for the Lombardis, culminating in the Kings' Cup win, which occurred just months before the couple's 20th wedding anniversary, to be celebrated Sept. 5.

"I knew this team had it in them," Wandamae told NHL.com. "They really believed in themselves after they beat Vancouver."

And in a life surrounded by hockey, Mrs. Lombardi can't help but get excited about her husband's Stanley Cup summer.

"It's all come full circle. My father was a player and coach in L.A. Dean hired (former Sharks coach and current Kings coach) Darryl (Sutter)," Wandamae said. "It's very poignant."

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Posted On Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 12:48 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Childhood friends celebrate Cup win with Lombardi

When it came time to receive the Stanley Cup in Ludlow, Mass., Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi knew who he wanted to be with.

Throughout the day, from a visit to local children's hospitals to a public event at the town hall to a private party scheduled for later in the day, Lombardi was flanked by longtime friends and former teammates, some of whom have known him since he was 6 years old.

While Lombardi has enjoyed a nomadic hockey career, a number of his old friends have stayed in the area and were thrilled to welcome their old friend back -- this time with a special guest.

While Lombardi and his friends reminisced at the Polish American Citizens Club, local minor hockey teams posed with the Cup in the background. All in all, it's so far been a memorable day in Ludlow.

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Posted On Thursday, 08.09.2012 / 11:44 AM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Lombardi brings Cup home to Ludlow

Ludlow, Massachusetts welcomes home Kings GM and resident Dean Lombardi on his day with the Stanley Cup. (Photo: Tal Pinchevsky/NHL.com)

Ludlow, Mass., is a short drive from the Basketball Hall of Fame in nearby Springfield. But the discussion today is all hockey, as Los Angeles Kings general manager and Ludlow resident Dean Lombardi enjoys his day with the Stanley Cup.

The Cup last came to this area in 1995, when it was hosted by nearby Wilbraham. On Thursday, residents lined up at least two hours in advance at the Polish American Citizens Club, where Lombardi is expected to bring the Cup by at noon. A local fundraiser is being held with a charity auction, in which locals will have the chance to win autographed Kings jerseys.

Prior to his arrival at the hall, Lombardi took the Cup to nearby hospitals before spending time with his first hockey coach, Tony Costa, who is known locally as the godfather of Ludlow hockey.

Lombardi is scheduled to spend five hours with the Cup at the Citizens Club, so stay tuned for more information at NHL.com.

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Posted On Wednesday, 08.08.2012 / 5:31 PM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Kompon's day with Cup ends his L.A. journey

When former Los Angeles Kings assistant coach Jamie Kompon was asked where he wanted to enjoy his day with the Stanley Cup, he didn't hesitate to say "St. Louis."

It was there he started his NHL career when St. Louis Blues coach Joel Quenneville hired him in 1997. Monday morning, almost exactly 14 years after arriving in the Gateway City, Kompon received the Cup there, ending one remarkable chapter in Los Angeles as another is about to begin.

Kompon left the Blues after being hired as an assistant on Marc Crawford's L.A. staff in 2006, brought in to groom second-year forward Dustin Brown and a rookie center named Anze Kopitar. Six years later, Kopitar and Brown are the only players remaining from that 2006-07 squad, and two big reasons the Kings are Stanley Cup champions.

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Posted On Friday, 08.03.2012 / 11:45 AM

By Tal Pinchevsky -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Stanley Cup goes hunting with Bernie Nicholls

Over the years, the Stanley Cup has traveled thousands of miles, but it may never have visited a smaller town than West Guilford, Ontario, hometown of Los Angeles Kings coaching consultant Bernie Nicholls.

A player for nine seasons in Los Angeles, Nicholls grew up in the town of roughly 100 people on his family's hunting farm, where his father and brothers have been leading hunts for bears, deer and moose for more than 50 years.

So when Nicholls finally had his day with the Cup on Wednesday, it only seemed fair he take it hunting at the Nicholls family camp.

"My dad makes canoes and we have a great picture of me holding the Cup out in the lake in the canoe," Nicholls told NHL.com. "We do a lot of hunting. I had my bow and it [the Cup] stood in the tree stand beside me. My dad has been there since 1961. I remember walking through the bush when I was 5 years old following my dad. I've hunted my whole life. I always had a passion for that."

For residents of the small town, located about 10 miles from Halliburton, Ontario, where Nicholls played junior hockey, it was a remarkable finish to a memorable 12-month run for the former Kings great, who ranks in the top five in team history in goals, assists and points. After staying involved with the club through alumni events, Nicholls spent parts of last summer lobbying L.A. general manager Dean Lombardi for a position with the team. While nothing came of the discussions with Lombardi, Nicholls was honored Dec. 10 on Kings Legends Night. Ten days later, Darryl Sutter replaced Terry Murray as Kings coach and brought Nicholls aboard as a consultant.

"For the last couple of years I've tried to do things with [the Kings]. It just didn't work out," said Nicholls, who was coached by Sutter while playing with the Chicago Blackhawks during the 1994-95 season. "When Darryl took over, I thought if I asked him for an opportunity that he would let me come."

For a player who scored more than 1,200 points with six teams in a 20-year career, the return to the Kings rekindled Nicholls' hopes of bringing the Cup to the family hunting camp.

"When I retired we thought the dream was over," he said. "Playing, you think about it all the time. This year when I went to L.A., with the run they had, it made a dream come true for a community. Not only me and my family."

That remarkable Kings run to the first Stanley Cup in franchise history helped to realize a dream for a small, tight-knit Ontario town. But Nicholls still slightly was dismayed to find that he wasn't the first person to take the Cup hunting. Apparently Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma, another avid outdoorsman, did the same after his team won the Cup in 2009.

"I heard Dan had it in a tree stand too. He had it fishing and everything," Nicholls said. "I may send Dan a picture. He would appreciate it."

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Posted On Thursday, 08.02.2012 / 9:21 AM

By Adam Kimelman -  NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Justin Williams gets his day in the sun

8:50 a.m.: Justin Williams arrived at his offseason home in Ventnor City, N.J., with the Stanley Cup in tow.

It's the second time Williams will spend a day with the Cup, and for this year's celebration, he's got some interesting plans.

The day is starting with some time with family and friends, followed by a pontoon boat ride on the bay.

There also will be a street hockey game with some friends, some time at City Hall, and a party and autograph session at Caesar's in Atlantic City.

Justin Williams' brother-in-law and his girlfriend of six years, Dana, were sipping champagne and orange juice out of the Cup when Pat dropped to one knee, pulled out a ring and proposed. (Photo: NHL.com)

10:10 a.m.: Every marriage proposal is a memorable one, but when you do it with the Stanley Cup as a backdrop, well, that's a tough one to beat.

On a boat ride with family and friends, Justin Williams' brother-in-law and his girlfriend of six years, Dana, were sipping champagne and orange juice out of the Cup when Pat dropped to one knee, pulled out a ring and proposed.

Dana, of course, said yes.

"This is for life," Williams said. "We're a part of the story they're going to tell forever. I'm happy to be a part of it and I'm happy Kelly and I were able to accommodate her brother."

Pat said the plan was months in the making.

"I was thinking the Cup is going to be there, and Justin said, 'OK,' " Pat said.

"I'm just glad she said yes," Williams said.

1:05 p.m.: Playing like a mix of Jacques Plante and Jonathan Quick, Justin Williams backstopped his team to an 8-4 win in a road hockey game on a community tennis court.

Playing without a mask -- shots were kept low, of course -- Williams did his best impersonation of his Conn Smythe-winning teammate.

Williams might not have a future in net, but he impressed his teammates.

"He's got some new bruises, they match his eyes," said longtime friend Nick Bayley. "He didn't wear a mask, so we're going back to the days you didn't have to wear a mask. He just did what he had to do, which was stop the ball."

The only other injury was to Craig Williams, Justin's father, who was cut on the head by an errant stick.

"My team really gave it their all, blocking a lot of shots," Justin said. "My dad got a stick up high, but he stayed after it. My competitive juices come from both my parents, but as you saw he's a competitor."

Like the saying goes, "Because it's the Cup."

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Posted On Tuesday, 07.31.2012 / 4:06 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Favorite son Emerson brings Cup to Waterford

In the lengthy hockey history of Waterford, Ontario -- located about 80 miles south of Toronto -- roughly 12,000 kids have played hockey in the local minor hockey system. Only one of them has played in the NHL. Monday afternoon, that prodigal son returned to Waterford with a very special guest.

Following a 13-year NHL playing career that ended with the Los Angeles Kings, Waterford's Nelson Emerson served as an assistant coach for three seasons before being named the team's director of player development in 2009.

After Emerson received the Cup on Monday from Kings assistant coach John Stevens, who enjoyed his time with the trophy a few miles away in Simcoe, Ontario, the town of Waterford welcomed the Stanley Cup for the first time.

The Cup's afternoon started at the fire department, where Emerson boarded the town's historic antique fire truck for a ride to the local arena. It was there that about 1,200 locals lined up for a moment with the Cup.

The gathering included former member's of Emerson's 1983-84 midget hockey team, which won the International Silver Stick and Ontario Minor Hockey Association titles. At Emerson's request, that iconic Waterford team reunited around the Cup, where they posed for photos and relived old times.

"That's Nelson," team captain Chris Miles told Jacob Robinson of the Simcoe Reformer. "Nelson knows he came from grassroots and he never forgets."

After an hour at the arena, Emerson enjoyed a private party at his cottage nearby, but his hometown certainly enjoyed a day it won't forget anytime soon.

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Posted On Monday, 07.30.2012 / 8:43 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Kompon will celebrate with Cup in St. Louis

Jamie Kompon hasn't worked for the St. Louis Blues for six years.

Yet the assistant coach will take the Stanley Cup to that city after winning it with the Los Angeles Kings.

Hired in July as an assistant for the Chicahgo Blackhawks, Kompon told the team's website his plans for his day with the Cup

"Yes, I was born in Thunder Bay, Ontario, but my parents no longer live there," Kompon said. "When I arrived in St. Louis (1997), I didn’t know a soul. When I left in 2006 for Los Angeles, there was a goodbye party for me and 200 people showed up.

"I didn’t think I had that many friends, but everybody who walked through the door, I knew. So, yes, I have a warm spot for St. Louis and that will be where I have my Stanley Cup day on Aug. 6."

Kompon will be working in Chicago for coach Joel Quenneville, his former boss with the Blues. Mike Kitchen, another former St. Louis coach, is on the Blackhawks staff.

Kompon also has a warm spot for his former California home, though the team did not renew his contract.

"I had a wonderful time in Los Angeles, and what we did this spring really did wonders for the sport out there," Kompon said. " ... My wife, Tina, and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary the day we won it all, June 11. I came home that night and there were purple, black and white streamers on our house. I didn’t even realize our neighbors knew what I did for a living, but it was a terrific run."

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Posted On Saturday, 07.28.2012 / 7:34 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Brown ends trip to Ithaca with rink visit

Dustin Brown's time as a member of the Ithaca High School ice hockey team was brief, yet illustrious. He went to the state championship game twice, losing in the final as a ninth grader in 1999 before winning it all the following season before leaving to play for Guelph of the Ontario Hockey League.

Despite the short stint in Ithaca, located in central New York, Brown played his hockey in two rinks and took the Stanley Cup to both Saturday.

The Los Angeles Kings captain stopped first at the rink he played at as a ninth grader, at Cass Park. It is an outdoor rink shielded from the sun but lacking in ice for Brown's visit. He said the reason Ithaca was able to do so well that season before losing in the state final was the benefit of playing outside. A sign hung congratulating Brown on his Stanley Cup win.

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Posted On Saturday, 07.28.2012 / 6:11 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - Summer with Stanley blog

Brown brings Cup to honor fallen Marine

Dustin Brown's day with the Stanley Cup was filled with plenty of fun stops. The Los Angeles Kings captain spent three hours at Ithaca (N.Y.) High School allowing fans to get a picture with the Cup while signing everything from jerseys to hats to posters. He took the Cup to a waterfall and to the two rinks he called home during his two years at Ithaca High.

Brown allowed the media to tag along just about everywhere for his day with the Cup, but he asked for privacy at one very important stop late Saturday afternoon.

Brown and his family brought the Cup to the gravestone of Christopher Bordoni, his wife Nicole's cousin, a Marine who died in January as a result of injuries suffered in Afghanistan. Bordoni was serving his second tour of duty when he was critically wounded during a suicide attack. He was scheduled to return home in February.

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Quote of the Day

I'm sure [my father] was going crazy up there. I hope all of my friends were celebrating in the crowd. Coming back here and all of my friends and family are here, getting a goal in front of them is special.

— Blues forward Ryan Reaves on scoring the game-winning goal Sunday against the Jets in his hometown of Winnipeg
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