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Stanley Cup 125th Anniversary

Bryan Trottier relished every second after first Cup

Islanders' championship in 1980 holds special place for Hall of Fame forward

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / Columnist

Editor's note: The Stanley Cup turns 125 years old March 18. To celebrate the historic anniversary, talked to the players and coaches who dedicated their lives to winning the Stanley Cup, some succeeding, some failing, but all with incredible stories about their quest for hockey's ultimate prize.

Bryan Trottier wanted to be Jean Beliveau growing up. He wanted to hoist the Stanley Cup over his head the way he had watched his hero do it on television with the Montreal Canadiens.

"So when it actually happened," Trottier said, "it was like fulfilling that."

It was May 24, 1980. Bobby Nystrom scored in overtime of Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, and the New York Islanders defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4 at Nassau Coliseum and won their first championship.

Amid the celebration, the Stanley Cup sat on a plain white tablecloth on a folding table on the ice. NHL President John Ziegler shook hands with Islanders captain Denis Potvin, who waved over his teammates. The Islanders started to crowd around.


[Related: Bryan Trottier: 100 Greatest NHL Players]


Before Ziegler presented the Cup, Trottier squeezed between him and teammate Bob Bourne. He put his hands on the Cup. He bent down to look at it.

"I wanted to feel the names that were on it," Trottier said. "I wanted to feel those names, and I wanted to read them, and I wanted to study it while they were doing all the other stuff."

Finally, Ziegler's name was announced, the Cup was presented, the Islanders paraded around the ice and Trottier was Beliveau.

"I wanted to see how heavy it was," Trottier said. "I pumped it up over my head and the place went crazy. Long Island went crazy. And they're screaming at me, 'We love you, Bryan!' And I'm saying, 'I love you too.' I can remember it like it was yesterday."

Video: Bryan Trottier was mainstay on six Cup-winning teams

Trottier won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 1975-76. He won the Hart Trophy as most valuable player and the Art Ross Trophy as scoring champion in 1978-79. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP in 1980.

He would go on to win the Cup three more times with the Islanders and then twice more with the Pittsburgh Penguins, finish his career with 1,425 points (524 goals, 901 assists) in 1,279 games, and make the Hockey Hall of Fame and the 100 Greatest NHL Players presented by Molson Canadian.

But nothing compared to winning the Cup for the first time.

"That was my moment," he said. "That was my moment."

Long Island's too.

"We don't do it just for ourselves and just for our teammates," he said. "We do it for our fans and our city and what we represented as hockey players, the community we represented. People don't forget that."

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