How Ron Hainsey felt when Sidney Crosby handed him the Stanley Cup on June 11, he finds difficult to articulate.
The Penguins and Predators were fighting tooth-and-nail in a scoreless Game 6 until Patric Hornqvist finally broke the tie with just 95 seconds remaining in regulation, the champs held on, then it’s all champagne and confetti and gap-toothed grins.
The world’s best hockey player lifted the shiniest of prizes and passed it first to 36-year-old bearded man who’d waited 907 games, six teams, and 14 seasons to even taste the playoffs.
“It does turn into a blur. You’re so excited at that moment that… I don’t know. There wasn’t a whole lot going through my head, to be honest,” Hainsey admits.
“You’re in awe of the moment. Happy. Everybody’s around. Pretty awesome.”
Hainsey savoured a quiet morning at home in late August looking at the Stanley Cup with close friends and family, then took it to the Bolton Ice Palace, the small-town Connecticut rink where he learned to skate 33 years ago. He wanted to share the victory with the community that afternoon, and he did so in barn as unflashy and dependable as his game.
Then Hainsey threw what we can only presume was one helluva party. The details of which “will stay between me and the people who were there,” he says, smiling.