Without a plan for his day with the Stanley Cup in 1995, a tradition the Devils initiated after winning their first championship that year, Randy McKay simply took the world’s most famous trophy to lunch at a local restaurant near his alma mater, Michigan Tech. In a time before cell phones, Twitter and Facebook, the nearly empty eatery filled to capacity within an hour with fans looking for a glimpse of Lord Stanley’s Cup.
“Word of mouth just spread quickly,” McKay recalled.
It’s been 20 years since McKay had the most memorable lunch of his life after winning the first of his two Cups with the Devils, and a lot has changed, starting with hockey itself. “The game’s awful fast these days,” observed McKay, noting that the level of skilled players entering the sport is amazing.
Hesitant to compare the 1994-95 team to a current NHL team, McKay recently spoke about what he saw as his team’s greatest strength—teamwork.
“The way Jacques [Lemaire] had us working…from [our] top scorers to the Crash Line that year,” said McKay. “We won the Stanley Cup as a team… and we were firing on all cylinders, from top to bottom.”
McKay has stayed in contact with his Crash Line mate Mike Peluso, mostly through Facebook, but admits he hasn’t talked with the third member from the famous line, Bobby Holik, in a long time.
“I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing him when I come back to Jersey,” said McKay about the 20th Anniversary celebration of the team March 7-8 at Prudential Center, where he hopes to collect phone numbers and reconnect with old teammates.
Like fellow 1994-95 teammate Tom Chorske, McKay fondly remembers spending time with family and friends in the locker room the night the team won the Cup: “Just sitting around…enjoying the time and enjoying the accomplishment that we were able to pull off.”
“Any time you win the Stanley Cup,” McKay continued, “it’s going to change your life.” More than 10 years since retiring from the game, he’s still introduced by other people with a mention of winning two Stanley Cups, and talks about how having his name on the Cup is something that will never be taken away from him.
Since he left the NHL, McKay has spent time as a coach for the Keweenaw Storm youth hockey club in Michigan and has enjoyed watching the kids develop and grow as a team.
“I coached a group of kids from the time they were mites, about nine years-old…and I coached them for the most part right up until they went to high school.”
He is also the namesake of an annual three-on-three hockey tournament at Michigan Tech. While he’s not involved in the direct operations of the tournament, he is proud to hand out the trophies and interact with the participants when he can.