ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- When Los Angeles Kings assistant coach John Stevens had his day with the Stanley Cup in 2012, he took it home to Ontario. Thursday, he brought it to his other home near the beaches of New Jersey, where he spent almost two decades as a player and coach in the Philadelphia Flyers organization
"I was here for 18 years," Stevens said. "My kids grew up here. We have a home in Sea Isle [City]. We won last time in 2012, we wanted to take it home to my family. It meant a lot to them to see it. I thought if we were ever fortunate enough to win it again we'd bring it here because the kids grew up here. So many friends here that we've known for so many years, we'd love the opportunity to share it with them. That's what we're doing. It means a lot."
Stevens spent 18 seasons as a player and coach in the Flyers organization, including four seasons (2006-10) as head coach, so there were plenty of old friends in the area who wanted to see the Stanley Cup. For Stevens, the opportunity to share it with so many of those people was a wonderful benefit to winning.
His day started with sunrise family photos with the Cup on the Sea Isle City beach. After that, they caravanned with the Cup around town, stopping at the Sea Isle City Beach Patrol and at the city police department and fire station. Then it was back to the beach in Sea Isle City, where thousands of fans waited in line on the sand for their time with Cup.
"They had a Sea Isle boat set up with the Cup in the boat," Stevens said, "and they had several thousand people there that were able to gather around, see the Cup and take pictures with the Cup."
The next stop was Harrah's Atlantic City, where a few hundred additional fans got their chance to take pictures with Stevens and the Cup.
"To me, the greatest thing about winning is sharing it with everyone," Stevens said. "It's so hard to win. It takes a lot to win. It takes a special group to win. The gratification is being able to share it with so many people, especially the ones that are very appreciative. That's what we've been feeling all day."
The night ended with a party at The Deck at Harrah's for family and friends, including Kings forwards Justin Williams and Jeff Carter.
It was a long day, but one Stevens is enjoying now as much as he did two years ago when he had it at home in Ontario.
"We get private time with [the Cup]," Stevens said. "It makes us happy when we can share it with our family and friends and the community we live in. It's been a really good day."