During my 15 year NHL career I had the privilege of participating in two Stanley Cup finals, winning one in 1986, and losing to Calgary in 1989. The feeling on the ice with the Cup was surreal. Someone later asked if I had ever experienced that feeling before; I laughed as I thought about it. Yes, hundreds of times as a kid, scoring the Stanley Cup-winning goal while playing ball hockey in the driveway!

In 1986, as our Montreal Canadiens team moved into the dressing room with the actual Stanley Cup, I did something momentous. I ran across the cement in my skates, knowing I would not be needing them for a while, and pulled my family out of the line behind the guard stationed near our dressing room. I signaled to the guard to let my family in and we congregated in a little corner of the dressing room. A number of players on our team were being interviewed on Hockey Night in Canada and near the end, Rick Green and I had our turn with Ron McLean.

The cup was slowly passed around the room from Bobby Smith to Chris Chelios to Bob Gainey, and finally, to me. When the Stanley Cup came to me, it came to us! I am so thankful to have been able to share that moment with my family. In reality, it was their cup. My parents and siblings had sacrificed huge amounts of their time and energy to allow me to pursue my dream.

Let’s be mindful of this concept as we enjoy the most wonderful time of the year. When we receive our Stanley Cups, let’s make sure they always come to all of us! Even in individual sports like tennis or golf, winning only happens because of the support of countless people. In a larger sense, the victories in our lives are always plural. When this world works well, it works together. During this holiday season, spend some time being thankful for your family, for your friends, for the people around you… for the people who help you WIN!

About The Author

Ryan Walter — Abbotsford Heat President, Stanley Cup Champion, Coach, Speaker, Author
Ryan Walter played more than 1000 games over 15 NHL seasons. Drafted second overall by the Washington Capitals (where he became the NHL’s youngest captain), Ryan won a Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens before finishing his playing career as a Vancouver Canuck...CONTINUE.

Leave a Comment