Mike Bolt’s best friend is the most coveted trophy in all of sports.
It’s silver, 35.5 inches and 34.5 pounds, features the engraved names of 2,163 people and will be hoisted by either the Vancouver Canucks or Boston Bruins any day now.
Bolt is a Keeper of the Cup, also known as one of four individuals in charge of the safety and well being of the Stanley Cup. Of the four Keepers, Bolt spends the most time with the Holy Grail, roughly 250 days a year, each year, for the last 12 years.
When a Stanley Cup champion is crowned for 2011, they’ll get approximately 100 days with Lord Stanley's Mug and Bolt will be there for all of it. It’s a packaged deal, win the Cup, win Bolt.
In the 42-year-old’s words, he “rides the Stanley Cup’s coattails all over the world,” which has led to some extraordinary experiences over the years.
Bolt only hangs with winners and before long he’ll have white gloves on preparing the Stanley Cup to be presented to the best team in hockey.
Here are six things you should know about Mike Bolt and the Stanley Cup.
“I wasn’t a very good hockey player, but anyone who plays this game dreams of going to the National Hockey League and winning the Stanley Cup and now I tell people that if you can’t play for it, you might as well look after it. I don’t have to go to the corner, I don’t have to get my face busted up, I don’t have to pull my groin and I get to spend more time with it than any winner does. Again, that’s kind of the funny part of it, but all kidding aside, I have a great job, I’m honored and thrilled to do it.”
JOB, IN A NUTSHELL
“Basically I’m getting the Cup from A to B as it travels all over the world. I make sure the Cup stays safe and it’s respected and that the guys have a fun, respectful time with it. We do a lot of corporate events with it throughout the year too; I also do marketing PR for it and am a spokesperson and historian for it. It’s a great job; to watch these guys bring it to their home towns, share it with their friends, share it with mom and dad and the family that supported them since they put on a pair of skates, is pretty amazing. That’s the part of my job that brings me the most joy."
THE PLAYERS WIN IT, NOT ME
“No, it doesn’t feel like I win it. Not a chance. Not even close. I don’t drink out of it, I don’t lift it over my head and I don’t run around and act like I won it. Not everybody gets to lift it over their head and I just won’t do it; I’m in my hotel room with it right now and I could have it over my head and I won’t do it. I can’t really put into words what I feel or what I get to be a part of, but I definitely don’t feel like I win it, I’m a guy that just happens to be a fly on the wall with the winners.”
ON TOP OF THE WORLD
“I get asked what my favourite memory is a lot and it is a tough answer because there are so many good stories. Some players eat cereal out of it in the morning, others make a big ice cream sundae in the Cup, it’s a huge bowl, it makes for a great sundae or whatever it may be. Guys take it out for quiet moments on the boat, just cruising on the lake, all sorts of different things, I've even been snowmobiling with it. One of my favorite photos ever taken was last summer with Andrew Ladd on top of a mountain here in Vancouver. He wanted to be with the Cup at sunrise at 5 a.m.; he was on top of the world literally and then on top of the hockey world. It was a great experience.”
TAKING IT TO THE STREETS
“I remember my first year in 2000, Marty Brodeur playing road hockey with his childhood friends. They played every day after school as kids and they always played for the Stanley Cup and then they actually got to play for the real Stanley Cup, which is pretty cool. It was the exact same teams too, as Marty explained it, 'if you lived on this side of the light post, you were on this team, if you were from the other side, you were on that team.' Marty even played with the same hockey net he played with as a kid. He said the neighbours were always getting mad and telling them to get off the street and the police would come by sometimes and shut it down, then there they were with fans on the street, neighbours there cheering them on and the police were blocking the street for us.”
"If we’re at a restaurant, sometimes guys wants to have their soup or dinner out of it, so sometimes I just have to take it out back and clean it out and get it ready for the next event. If I’m at a player’s home, I’ll just get a garden hose and some soap and wash it down, or throw it in the shower and get it sparkling again. Every day at the end of the day I give it a wash just to be safe. I always make the joke that I’m a professional dishwasher, my mom is so proud. But I get to wash one of the greatest bowls in the world."