The Spokane Chiefs’ run as Memorial Cup champion couldn’t have been any more definitive – the WHL representative made the longest trip to Kitchener, beat all three teams they faced (including two from the home province) and then knocked off the host team in the final once again today.
Goaltender Dustin Tokarski stopped 53 of 54 shots in the 4-1 win, giving a U.S. team the title for the first time in a decade, when the now-woeful Portland Winterhawks were led by Brenden Morrow and Marian Hossa. The Chiefs last won it in 1991, shortly after George and Bobby Brett (yes, that George Brett) purchased the team.
Holy shit! (to quote the man himself): Chiefs captain Chris Bruton just dropped the Cup! And it totally snapped off of the base! How many years will the Chiefs have to go without another win before it’s called a curse?
Oh well, at least two players get to raise it simultaneously. Their enthusiasm certainly has not been dampened.
Update: Maybe not entirely his fault.
Captain Chris Bruton lifted the trophy over his head twice and kissed it and then as he was about to hand it to teammate Trevor Glass, the cup became separated from its heavy base, which fell to the ice.
While that prompted boos from spectators at Memorial Auditorium already disappointed that their home team lost, the good news is that it’s a replica trophy.
The one that has been handed out to the junior hockey champion since 1919 is in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
“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,” said Bruton.
“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.”