“We can drink from the cup a little easier”
Yesterday my younger brother Sean, a junior at Washington State University, a school only an hour from Spokane, Wash., sent me a text at work telling me to check out the newest YouTube video everyone would be talking about. He said the Spokane Chiefs, the minor league hockey team we watched when I was in college in Spokane at Gonzaga University, had finally made the national spotlight, only not for what we had all hoped was the reason.
The Chiefs defeated the Kitchener Rangers, 4-1, to win the 90th Memorial Cup on May 25. While their championship win should have been the news we all heard, it was the celebration that made the highlights.
Chris Bruton, the team’s center, hoisted the Memorial Cup after winning Canada’s Junior Hockey Championship, only when he went to hand it to his teammate on the ice, it fell out of his hands and to the ground, where it broke into two pieces. The crowd booed and the players laughed, picking up both pieces and raising them in celebration again.
What’s so classic about the clip, which can be found easily on YouTube or Yahoo, isn’t the crowd’s reaction – which went from jubilation to disappointment in a heartbeat – but Bruton’s. After dropping it, he stood there dumbfounded, confused at what had just happened and unable to decide what to do next. Championship hat on head and now broken trophy on ice, he looked around for help from the guy who handed him the trophy, then to the crowd before finally trying to actually put it back together.
The cup was broken clean off, there was no Velcro to reconnect and no Lego holes to snap back into place, but in front of a shocked crowd of thousands, he tried for several seconds before finally balancing the cup back on the base and lifting them both back up together. As soon as he handed it to his teammate, the cup fell back off.
Only hockey players find an easy solution to a situation like this:
“It just kind of crumbled in my hands and I’m sure I’ll be all over YouTube and I’ll get e-mails for the rest of my life over that, but I don’t care because we won the cup and that’s all that matters,” Bruton said later. “It’s just as beautiful and maybe more beautiful that we have that top off and we can drink from the cup a little easier.”
No worries, sports fans. The cup was a replica. The real trophy is in the Hockey Hall of Fame.