WASHINGTON -- Missouri is nicknamed "The Show-Me State" and members of its congressional delegation eagerly showed off the Stanley Cup won by the St. Louis Blues to fellow lawmakers and staffers on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.
Missouri Republican Senators Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley and U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, a Democrat who represents St. Louis, hosted private viewings of the Cup in their offices, committee rooms and in large Capitol Hill hearing rooms.
"I have never had a championship trophy in my office before," said Clay, who is a member of the Congressional Hockey Caucus. "When you think about it, this Cup was 52 years in the making for us to get this championship after so many years of toil and working."
The Blues won their first Stanley Cup in June by defeating the Boston Bruins in seven games, capping their rise from last place in the NHL on Jan. 3.
"It's great, it's really kind of crazy just to come in and, there it is, sitting in a congressional office," said Tim Nelson, chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Ed Case of Hawaii. "You see it on television, you see the players win and lift it over their heads, or you think about it being in Toronto locked away. But here it is, real life right in front of me, it's just a surreal experience being that close to it."
Clay savored winning a bet on the Stanley Cup Final with U.S. Rep. William Lynch of Massachusetts, who wagered a Boston cream pie, a case of Massachusetts-brewed Harpoon beer and a half dozen live lobsters.
"We had quite a feast," Clay said. "I grilled the lobsters and they came out excellent."
Blunt crowed on the Senate floor about the Cup belonging to a Missouri team before he went with Hawley to view it in the Senate Rules and Administration Committee hearing room.
"Today the trophy will be on display here on Capitol Hill so that Blues fans in the area can get a chance to see this legendary trophy in person," Blunt said in his floor speech. "I hope the team will once again have the opportunity to visit the White House next year and this will just be the first year of many years where those of us in the Missouri delegation will get to host the Stanley Cup here."
Even Blunt's dog, Max, spent quality time with the Cup, happily sitting in the bowl as photographers snapped away.
Hawley inspected the names of the Blues players etched on the Cup and jokingly concluded that they "should be bigger."
"This is really significant for St. Louis, the story of the Blues season is incredible," Hawley said. "It's a tremendous source of pride in the state in the way the Blues won, being completely counted out and coming all the way back, that's how we like to see ourselves in the state of Missouri, that kind of pride, that kind of grit."
Blunt and Hawley did a victory lap of sorts with the Cup, walking it down the hall with white-gloved Cup keeper Howie Borrow holding it, to an ornate hearing room where people lined up to take pictures with it.
"It's very fitting to have it here," Jon M. Lauder, director of the U.S. Marine Corps Senate Liaison Office who came to the Blunt/Hawley Cup viewing clad in a white Blues jersey. "This is a trophy about teamwork. And this is a place where teamwork has to exist at the strategic level for our nation. Maybe this will stimulate some good teamwork for Congress as we go forward here."