Sports

Sutters celebrate with Stanley 0

Randy Sportak

Darryl Sutter still knows how to party.

He's doing plenty of it this weekend.

The former Calgary Flames GM and head coach got his hands on the Stanley Cup on Friday in Red Deer, which was the perfect time for the Los Angeles Kings head coach to make it the guest of honour at the 17th Annual Sutter Fund Charity Golf Classic.

The festivities included a bagpipper ushering his son, Christopher, and Kings forward Colin Fraser into a banquet hall, with a pair of RCMP officers part of the parade.

"I was lucky to be able to get it for a couple of days, to tie it in with the golf tournament," Sutter said. "Then, it goes to the farm - and that's better."

The big celebration will last all weekend in Viking, Alta.

The pig will start cooking on the spit Saturday and be ready for Sunday, a band is lined up, and the fun will include all the family.

Among that fun will be trips around the area, including to a couple of senior citizen's homes. There is also two cakes prepared by Camrose bakery Goodies, from the Duggan Mall in Camrose, Alta that will be served as part of the celebration. The cakes are in a LA Kings Stanley Cup motif.

"It's neat to take it back there, because besides us, there's other people (whose names) on the Cup from there," Sutter said. "Clem Loughlin won it with Victoria (in 1925), so that will be good for a lot of the old people to see.

"My brothers, Duane and Brent, their kids weren't born when they won it, so they get to put on their (New York) Islanders (garb).

"We'll have a good day going."

It's not the first time Lord Stanley's mug was on-hand for the golf tournament or at the Sutter farm.

But it's the first time they've had so much time with it. When Duane was part of four championship teams with the Islanders - with Brent there for two of them - the Cup was only handed to the players briefly.

"We never, ever got to have the Cup like this," Brent said. "You'd win it, and then you'd have it on the Island for a week after. You shared it and had it at barbecues or whatever, and that was it.

"Nobody wanted to touch it again, because the next year you wanted to win it again.

"We never even talked about it around the family because everyone was playing," Brent continued. "You never showed your Stanley Cup rings to anybody, because that was stuff they wanted to have, too.

"It wasn't something you dared bring up at the kitchen table."

Times have changed, and Darryl gets to relish in leading a Kings team which he took over mid-season, finished eighth in the NHL's Western Conference and then caught fire and ran roughshod over the opposition.

"It felt good - everybody says that - but 95% of the players never get their name on it, and 99% of the coaches don't," Darryl said. "It tells the importance we put on it for our family to have won it seven times."

And it highlights about being in the right place at the right time.

"In Calgary, we could have won it every year, and I might never get the chance again," said Sutter, whose closest chance in Calgary came in 2004 when the Flames played - but lost - Game 7 in the Stanley Cup final to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"To do it in L.A. was important. There was expectations put on the team for whatever reason other than they were a young team, but most of the players had never even won a series."

Seeing the Cup again also gave him a chance to look back on the run.

"The best part for me was watching with a four-goal lead and four minutes left to win the Stanley Cup. It was pretty neat," Sutter said. "I told the players after we've got a bunch of young guys and can only get better. It'll be fun to be a part of it."

It could mean another Stanley Cup win for Sutter's young and talented Kings team next season.

"That's tough to do," Sutter said. "There hasn't been a team to (repeat) in 10 years. There's only two teams that went back-to-back, and they won it and lost it, and it was Pittsburgh and Detroit.

"It's usually somebody different, so that's a good challenge.

"And I like challenges."

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNRandySportak

-with Camrose Canadian files