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Arts & EventsCup Crazy Concert

Cup Crazy Concert

Cup Crazy Concert

Photos by Kamara Morozuk

For many hot blooded Canadian kids who lace up a pair of skates on a cold winter morning and head out to the old town pond the dream is as bright as the sun glistening off the snow banks: stepping over the boards in the NHL. Those who get that far trade one dream in for another: hoisting the biggest prize in the game high over their heads for just one victory lap around the ice. Of course, less hot blooded Canadian kids dream of one day playing a concert in front of said prize but last night Kevin Bazinet, Bobby Bazini, The Sheepdogs and Metric got to perform before the shimmering spectator and nobody was bothered by being upstaged by the silver ware.

This, after all, was a show all about the Stanley Cup.

Celebrating 125 years since Lord Stanley of Preston had it commissioned, the cup sat in the spotlight glow in the centre of Canada Tire Centre, it’s glimmer hard to miss as it was the brightest thing in the arena. The cup’s anniversary is just one of three milestones celebrated in hockey this year with 2017 also being the centennial of the NHL and the hometown Sen’s 25th season.

The evening’s tribute concert was just one of the events over 5 days of celebration that was kicked off by the announcement Friday morning that Ottawa will host a Heritage Classic game between the Senators and Montreal Canadians. Today, steps away from the birthplace of the game’s Grail, ground will be broken on Sparks Street, the site of the future landmark to the cup.

Hosted by sports anchor Chantal Machabée and NHL historian Liam Maguire, the show included intermittent breaks between performances where video compilations were played of the cup’s history and stories were shared by those who’ve held it. Hockey greats Guy LaFleur, Mike Bossy, Bernie Parent, Dave Keon, Frank Mahovlich and Bryan Trottier each made their way through the crowd to relive past glory. Between them they have won 27 cups.

“It’s something that we can share with the hockey fans who cheered for us, obviously hockey fans across Canada,” Trottier, who won two cups with the New York Islanders and two with the Pittsburgh Penguins, said eyeing the trophy next to him.

“There’s an appreciation for wonderful achievements like that. We look back now. At the time we didn’t reflect much because we were living it but the older we get the more we like to reminisce so bring it on!”

“It was just an emotional moment when we finally won that game,” reflected Keon who was part of the Toronto Maple Leaf’s dominating run in the 1960s that saw them win 4 cups.

Clips of some of the best moments in the history of the cup showed names now etched into the trophy. Howe, Orr, Richard, Hull, Lemieux  and Gretzky brought the most applause from those gathered with number 99 getting a standing ovation even if he The Great One wasn’t actually in attendance. The videos also showed that old rivalries never die with fans of both the Habs and Leafs taking turns cheering and jeering each other’s respective clips.

La Voix winner Kevin Bazinet started off the music portion of the evening with his older brother Bobby Bazini picking up where his younger sibling left off. Pausing only for a moment in his short set to say how fantastic it was performing in front of the cup, Bazini hit all the right notes with the crowd by breaking into singles like “Blood’s Thicker Than Water” and “C’est la vie”.  

For Ottawa’s hockey fans, this may not have been the most preferred way to bring the cup to the city but, that night, they took what they could get. Canadian Tire Centre security had their work cut out for them during the music sets as devoted fans eager to get a selfie with the cup causally strolled up the steps to the mini-stage in the centre of the arena for a few quick poses before being ushered off the stage. Well, at least nobody was kicking the thing into the canal!

Glow sticks that flashed around the arena all night quickly turned to drum sticks as the first unsigned band to make the cover of Rolling Stone took the stage. If 70’s guitar rock ever died, it was reincarnated as The Sheepdogs!

Before Metric closed off the evening, the Saskatchewan guitar rockers cut through the arena with a chainsaw whir of power chords and beautiful feedback opening with “Feeling Good” and closing with “I Don’t know”. The band only eased off their rock and roll onslaught for frontman Ewan Currie to show his appreciation for the guest of honor:

“It’s good to be in the same room as the Stanley Cup, baby! We’re from Saskatchewan so we don’t have any hockey teams.”

For 125 years old, Lord Stanley’s Cup never looked better!

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