By Chris Langrill
The Idaho Statesman
BOISE, Idaho – In the days after the Idaho Steelheads won the ECHL championship, the Kelly Cup went everywhere with the hockey players.
The Steelheads defeated the Dayton Bombers in five games May 31, and days later fans spotted the Kelly Cup at a Subway sandwich shop while the players were eating lunch. The Cup also tagged along as a few Steelheads went shopping for groceries at Albertsons.
At nighttime, the Cup frequented several nightspots along Main Street and fans lined up to drink from the Holy Grail of the ECHL.
“It got filled up a lot, and emptied a lot,” captain Marty Flichel said.
Defenseman Blake Forsyth said he got a kick out of watching the fans enjoying the Cup.
“The whole town lined up to drink out of it,” he said.
Eventually, the grind of it all took its toll on the Cup. Just like a hockey player in midseason, it started to incur some bumps and bruises.
“It was in need of a little repair,” veteran Scott Burt said.
“It was feeling a little ill,” coach Derek Laxdal said. “It was like it had a cold, and it needed a little time to rest.”
When it comes to talking about hockey, the Steelheads are usually very forthright. When it comes to talking about what exactly happened to the Kelly Cup, they might as well be reading from a CIA script.
“No comment,” Laxdal said.
“It was just hanging out with the boys,” Burt said. “It might have fallen down.”
Burt then tried to play down the extent of the Cup’s woes.
“To be honest, I think there was a little more damage the first time,” he said of Idaho’s Kelly Cup win in 2004.
Details are sketchy, but unconfirmed reports indicate that it may have taken a dip in a swimming pool.
“It doesn’t swim well, nor does it fly well. That’s what I heard from an unnamed source,” Forsyth said.
Eventually, the Cup was sent back to the ECHL and it got some TLC. It was returned to the Steelheads last week as good as new — with all the players’ names engraved on it.
“It looks like it did when we got it,” Flichel said. “Except now our names are on it.”
Flichel and Forsyth took the Cup to a promotional appearance Saturday, and Flichel said he was still getting used to seeing his name on the Cup.
“It’s an honor,” he said. “Seeing my name on there, it started to hit home that it all actually happened.”