Goaltender Jeff Zatkoff, who wrote a blog for NHL.com during the Stanley Cup Final as a member of the eventual champion Pittsburgh Penguins, had his day with the Stanley Cup on Wednesday. He shares his thoughts here.
On July 1, Zatkoff signed a two-year contract with the Los Angeles Kings.
Where do I even start? I feel like I have been in a dream since April and it has yet to end. As a kid, you grow up playing hockey with the goal of winning one thing: the Stanley Cup. Fast forward 20 years, and here I am, a Stanley Cup champion!
After winning the Cup on June 12, things have been a whirlwind. We began the celebrations in San Jose and I used the opportunity to perfect my dance moves with a few of my teammates. MVP of the dance floor was definitely a toss-up between Olli [Maatta] and [Justin] Schultz, but I like to think that I was in the running.
The party continued on the trip back to Pittsburgh and once we arrived. The highlight of the week, though, had to be the parade. More than 400,000 people lined the city streets, making it an experience I will never forget.
I celebrated my day with the Cup in North Carolina. It should be noted that the Cup schedule is based on priority, with the highest getting it first. Based on that, it should come as no surprise that I was awarded my day before Sid [Crosby]. However, being the guy I am, I decided to take it on a Wednesday so he could enjoy it for the long weekend.
I wanted to keep the celebrations casual so I could maximize the time with my family and friends. I started the day with a small golf scramble and my team obviously took the victory. As the host, I was able to strategically build the teams. I somehow ended up with two scratch golfers in my group, which compensated for my golf abilities and greatly increased my chances of winning. What can I say, just riding the momentum from the Cup victory
Following the golf I met my remaining family and friends at the pool. We spent the afternoon eating, drinking and enjoying the Cup. Taking pictures and seeing their faces around the trophy is something I will never forget, and I think my shoulders are going to be sore for the next week; lifting 35 pounds multiple times over the course of the day is tough for a goalie.
The day ended too quickly, as all great experiences do. I was sad to see the Cup leave, but I don't think it could handle any more of the North Carolina humidity.
I have to finish my blogging on a more serious and sentimental note. Winning the Stanley Cup was a lifelong dream, and I still have not fully processed the significance of the achievement. I am forever grateful to the Pittsburgh Penguins organization and the teammates I shared this experience with.
As we all move on in our careers and go our separate ways, we will always have one thing in common: We are Stanley Cup champions!