The Stanley Cup is on the road with the Boston Bruins for a two-month celebration unlike any other in sports.
By the time the team gathers for training camp in September, the iconic trophy will have visited almost every member of the organization on a trek that stretches from coast-to-coast in Canada, throughout the United States and to remote locales in Europe.
Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs took the Stanley Cup to Yosemite National Park over the weekend before passing it on to assistant coach Doug Houda, who chose to spend his allotted time with it in Whitefish, Mont., on Tuesday.
The first player to get his day with the Cup is Nathan Horton, who was knocked out of the championship series against Vancouver with a vicious hit from Aaron Rome.
He'll host the trophy in mid-July in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., before sending it off on an adventure in Europe. Tomas Kaberle plans to bring it to his hometown of Kladno, Czech Republic — just as brother Frantisek did in 2006 after helping the Carolina Hurricanes become champions — while captain Zdeno Chara will share it with the people of Trencin, Slovakia.
The Cup will reach its farthest point east with backup goalie Tuukka Rask, who is spending time with it in his hometown of Savonlinna, Finland — not far from the border with Russia.
A return to North America from there will see it make a number of stops around Ontario at the end of July: Oshawa (Shawn Thornton), Welland (Dan Paille), Guelph (Rich Peverley), Tillsonburg (Gregory Campbell), Brampton (Tyler Seguin), Peterborough (Marc Savard) and Ottawa (Chris Kelly).
In August, the Stanley Cup will visit seven other provinces. Patrice Bergeron is scheduled to have it in Quebec City, Mark Recchi (Kamloops) and Milan Lucic (Vancouver) will bring it to B.C., Shane Hnidy is hosting it in Neepawa, Man., and Johnny Boychuk will take it to his hometown of Edmonton before the Maritimers get their day with the Cup.
There will be stops in P.E.I. (Adam McQuaid), Nova Scotia (Brad Marchand) and Newfoundland and Labrador, where Michael Ryder will be just the second player from that province to bring it home following Detroit's Daniel Cleary in 2008.
Other highlights along the way include a visit to Flint, Mich., where Conn Smythe winner Tim Thomas will spend one of his two days with the trophy in the city he was raised.
The time Stanley Cup champions spend with the trophy over the summer helps add to its legacy. Players often get creative with the silver chalice, just as Andrew Ladd did a year ago, when he took a helicopter to the top of a mountain peak outside Vancouver at the crack of dawn and posed for the iconic image of Chicago's 2010 championship.
The Hockey Hall of Fame keeps a diary of the Stanley Cup's travels. It can be found at: http://www.hhof.com/html/exSCJ_2011.shtml