MANCHESTER — Just 17 days after being claimed by the Los Angeles Kings, the Stanley Cup victory tour was under way. One of the first stops? The Granite State.
As part of the Kings organization, Manchester Monarchs director of hockey operations Hubie McDonough got his day with the Cup on Monday and shared it with local hockey fans by bringing the 121-year-old trophy to his alma mater, St. Anselm College.
“We had it for four or five hours and I said ‘where can I bring it where people can come?’ I obviously have a connection here and they were more than happy to accommodate us,” McDonough said. “I took it to my parents’ house in the morning and we took it to my old house where we grew up playing street hockey and then we came here. It’s important to bring it back here. I like to give back to the school. I played college hockey here, so it obviously helped me on my way.”
McDonough won the small college version of the Hobey Baker Award (and was a finalist for the regular Hobey as well) in 1986 after three standout seasons at St. Anselm. He went on to play in 195 NHL games.
In those four season, McDonough was never able to raise the Cup as a player. But there’s still plenty of pride to be found in helping others do so. A dozen former Manchester Monarchs played for L.A. in the Stanley Cup Final, helping the team win its second Cup in three years.
“Once you retire, there’s no winning it as a player and it’s hard to do as a player anyway,” McDonough said. “To be a part of an organization that has tremendous people to work with and to celebrate the Cup is special.”
And St. Anselm was more than happy to host the celebration as just the second stop on the Cup’s championship journey around the Kings organization — and the world. It was on its way to Montreal on Monday night.
“Not only to have an alumnus of his stature, but to select the college for Hubie to bring the Cup to was a huge honor,” said Jim Flanagan, St. Anselm vice president for college advancement. “We were able to invite people from the community as well as administration, staff and students on campus.”
Monarchs president Darren Abbott was on hand with a large portion of his staff to join in the fun. Abbott said he believed the Cup would return to Manchester for a game during the Monarchs season.
“It’s a thrill. It’s great to see the reaction. Just to see Hubie’s family getting to enjoy it for a day is pretty exciting,” Abbott said. “It’s important for him to bring it back to his school and I think that’s a thrill everyone would like to have some day. We’re happy for him.”
The Kings are expected to name a new head coach sometime this week. Abbott confirmed a rumor that former Monarchs assistant Scott Pellerin, who was head coach at Bridgeport of the AHL for the past two seasons, was a candidate but did not make the final cut.
McDonough said that the Monarchs would also likely have their new assistant coach in place this week so that both new coaches can attend next week’s Los Angeles Kings development camp together.
But for Monday, the Cup took center stage.
“It never gets old,” McDonough said. “To share it with people, that’s as much fun as winning it.”