Winning the Stanley Cup was a family affair for the Florida Panthers


Moments after Florida Panthers coach Paul Maurice finally won his first Stanley Cup after three decades of coaching, he wasn’t thinking about himself.

His mind went straight to his parents Denis and Dolores, who were watching from home in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

“Hey Dad, your name is going to go up with your heroes,” Maurice said on SportsNet. “Beliveau, Richard, Howe, Lindsay, Maurice.”

Winning the Stanley Cup was more than just an individual moment of pride for every coach, player, front office member, trainer, clubhouse attendant and every other member of the Panthers franchise.

It was a family affair, an opportunity to reflect, thank and celebrate those who helped them get to the peak of their hockey journeys.

Players brought their spouses and children out to the ice to join in the moment with them — with parents of young children posing for photos with their kids in the cup. Matthew Tkachuk’s family of hockey players — father Keith and brother Brady among them — had a chance to lift the Cup after Matthew became the first in the family to win it.

“It’s crazy,” Matthew Tkachuk said. “It’s unreal. I’m leaving the house and getting walked out by my brother and my dad was the most incredible surreal, full-circle moment of my life.”

Florida Panthers head coach Paul Maurice lifts the Stanley Cup after the Panthers defeated the Edmonton Oilers in Game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Amerant Bank Arena on Monday, June 24, 2024, in Sunrise, Fla.Florida Panthers head coach Paul Maurice lifts the Stanley Cup after the Panthers defeated the Edmonton Oilers in Game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Amerant Bank Arena on Monday, June 24, 2024, in Sunrise, Fla.

Florida Panthers head coach Paul Maurice lifts the Stanley Cup after the Panthers defeated the Edmonton Oilers in Game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Amerant Bank Arena on Monday, June 24, 2024, in Sunrise, Fla.

For the Maurice family, the celebration went both up and down a generation from the Panthers’ coach. While Maurice thanked his parents on national television, his sons Jake and Luke were both at Amerant Bank Arena to be there with their dad after he finally got his win.

“You can see it on his face,” Jake Maurice said. “Winning that Stanley Cup, finally, everything was all worth it right there.”

Both sons knew the importance of this year’s opportunity was for their dad. Before the Stanley Cup Final, they both had a clear message for their dad: Relax and enjoy.

“It was hard to relax, and it was hard to enjoy,” Luke Maurice said, “but at the end of things, they might never not be relaxed again … and they will enjoy this forever.”

And now, Paul Maurice is one step closer to matching the amount of championships one of his sons has. Jake Maurice has been a broadcaster for the ECHL Florida Everblades the past two years. The Everblades won the Kelly Cup both years Jake was with them — meaning Maurice’s son was part of two championship teams before Maurice finally got his first. Maurice joked that Jake would be “unbearable” at the dinner table having that edge on dad.

“Now it’s his turn to be unbearable,” Jake said with a smile. “I can’t do anything anymore. He absolutely deserves it. I just talk about the team. He’s the one doing everything to get it done.”

Luke Maurice added: “You see how hard they work behind the scenes. Everyone’s happy, the game is fun, but the guys put in 23 hours a day out of 24 and sleep for maybe 30 minutes of the hour they have off. They freaking grind so hard. It eats up their lives. When you’ve been doing that for 30 years, wow, it’s nice to freaking win.”

Tkachuk, similar to Maurice, looked at winning the Stanley Cup as more of a family legacy moment than just a personal one. His dad Keith played in the NHL for 18 years and never won it. His brother Brady just finished his sixth season with the Ottawa Senators has hasn’t won it.

Matthew, in his eighth NHL season and second with the Panthers, has now done it.

“This was for them,” Tkachuk said. “Now, the Tkachuk name is on the Stanley Cup. Yeah, this is for them. It was a long time coming, but this was for them and that is the best part of this.”



Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top