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Stanley Cup Journal - Philippe Boucher

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins
Philippe Boucher

Lac St-Joseph, Quebec

Join hockey's most prized trophy as it parties throughout the summer of 2009. As each member of the Pittsburgh Penguins assumes
possession of the Stanley Cup for one day, get an insider's view through exclusive stories, videos, and photographs via the Hockey Hall of Fame's Stanley Cup chaperone (aka "White Gloves") - no one gets closer! The Stanley Cup Journal is presented by Trib Total Media and content is provided by the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The Stanley Cup arrived in Quebec City at 6:00PM on Saturday, July 4, ready to spend a day with Philippe Boucher, the Penguins’ steady, veteran blueliner. Met by Boucher’s brother-in-law as well as a family friend, the Stanley Cup was driven through a grey, drizzly day towards Lac St-Joseph, where Philippe and his family own a cottage. But as if by Divine Intervention, as the Cup was nearing its destination, the skies cleared and the rain stopped.

The party of 200 was already in full swing when the Stanley Cup arrived. Philippe hurried the trophy into the cottage so he could get family pictures taken. Philippe, wife Lucie and children Mathieu and Vanessa posed with the glorious championship silverware, then enjoyed a drink out of the Cup.

Philippe descended the stairs with the Stanley Cup held aloft as the revellers greeted the champion and his reward. Speaking in French, Boucher thanked everyone present for their ongoing support, then everyone dug into delicious smoked meat sandwiches and cheesecake.
Several NHL players were among the invited guests at Philippe’s party. Penguins’ netminder Mathieu Garon was there to share the celebration with his teammate. Eric Belanger, who spent last season with the Minnesota Wild, was at the party. He had played with Philippe in Los Angeles with the Kings. Stephane Robidas and Junior Lessard, both teammates of Boucher’s with the Dallas Stars, were there, too. Also there was Marc Chouinard, who spent last season playing in Germany.

Hockey players are extraordinarily superstitious, and the long-held belief that players not touch the Stanley Cup until they’ve actually won it is widely kept as virtual law. But Eric Belanger was particularly amusing. Although he refused to touch the Cup, he teased over and over again, putting his fingers close and then drawing them back quickly. Even when he was having his photo taken with the Cup, he put his arms around the Cup making it appear that he was touching the trophy but made certain he maintained a minute distance between him and the Cup.

Stephane Robidas inadvertently touched the Cup and thought, to hell with it and fully grasped it. "Ah, this feels really good. I could learn to like this when Dallas wins the Cup this year," he said to derisive taunts from the Penguins’ fans in attendance.

Philippe and some of the boys decided to take the Stanley Cup for a boat ride. Piling into one of two vessels — a motor boat and a pontoon boat — they floated out into the middle of the lake, where they anchored and traded hockey stories.

Philippe earlier had been asked if he would bring the Cup to a local reception, but politely declined as he had already made his own plans. But sound travels amazingly well on a lake, and when he heard a party in progress around 1:30 that morning, thought it was likely the party he had been asked to attend so decided he’d drop in with the Stanley Cup. When the boys arrived, they discovered that the party was, in fact, a wedding reception. "I feel like that movie ‘Wedding Crashers,’" he laughed. Boucher, the Cup and the newly-wed bride and groom posed for photos that will assuredly be the highlight of the couple’s wedding album.

The boys took the boats back to the cottage where they celebrated until 4:00 in the morning. Eleven-year-old Mathieu stayed up with his Dad and friends right until the end. "I am so proud of him," smiled Philippe.

To read the rest of this journal please visit the Hockey Hall Of Fame website.

Boucher proudly hoisting the Cup during the parade held in his hometown of St-Apollinaire, QC. (Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
Prior to taking the helicopter from Lac St. Joseph across the river to Levis Boucher and his wife Lucie along with their children Mathieu and Vanessa gather for a family picture. (Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
Boucher's daughter Vanessa enjoying some Fruit Loops for breakfast. (Walt Neubrand/HHOF)
Boucher sharing a moment with the Cup on his boat. (Walt Neubrand/HHOF)

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