CEDAR RAPIDS - Add Cedar Rapids to the Stanley Cup's 2012 tour.
The Cup will make an appearance Saturday night during the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders-Green Bay game at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena. Opening faceoff is 7:05.
Tradition allows members and personnel of the NHL champion each season to have a day with the Stanley Cup. Former RoughRiders assistant coach Mark Mullen, who lives in Cedar Rapids, is a scout for the Los Angeles Kings.
Here is a story from www.cbc.ca on some of the Stanley Cup's summer travel, as well as a story The Gazette did mid-summer on Mullen, who didn't think at the time he would get a chance to get the Cup:
CEDAR RAPIDS – Let’s get this out of the way first. The Stanley Cup probably won’t be making a trip to Cedar Rapids.
“I’m low on the totem pole,” Mark Mullen said. “To have them bring it to Cedar Rapids is probably unlikely.”
The Los Angeles Kings scout and former Cedar Rapids RoughRiders assistant coach already has spent a lot of quality time with hockey’s biggest prize. He got to hoist it on the ice a couple of weeks ago after the Kings finished off the New Jersey Devils, and got a picture snapped of him hugging it while pretending to be asleep in a hotel bed last weekend in Pittsburgh.
Quick explanation needed there. The Cup was in the Kings’ suite as the club prepared for the NHL Draft, when someone came up with the idea of that particular photo opp.
“Certainly when you dream about it, you’re winning it as a player,” said Mullen, who lives in Cedar Rapids with his wife, Amber, and four daughters. “Nothing can top that. But this is the closest thing, I guess. It was a dream come true to see, up close and personal, the expressions on the guys’ faces, knowing the sacrifices they all had made.
“To be able to experience their complete joy was awesome.”
Mullen, 31, just finished his third season with the Kings. He played in the USHL for Des Moines, as well as collegiately with Boston University and briefly as a pro and was an assistant coach here from 2007-09.
He was in person for the clinching Game 6 in Los Angeles, the most bone-chilling moment of his sporting life, he said. Keep in mind, he’s a Bostonian who is a diehard fan of the Red Sox and Patriots.
Mullen said he realizes his contributions to the Cup are minimal. He was not personally responsible for signing any of the players on L.A.’s Cup team.
He just tried to sit back and soak in the utter joy of others.
“My boss, Ron Hextall, won the Conn Smythe Trophy (postseason MVP) but never won the Cup,” Mullen said. “Seeing that … I felt a little awkward because I didn’t deserve it as much as a lot of other guys.”
Mullen said he talked briefly to Kings defenseman Alec Martinez during the championship celebration. Martinez played for the RoughRiders on their Clark Cup championship team of 2005. The two had never met.
He’s got lots of photos and videos that will permanently cement the special moment. He got fitted last weekend for a Stanley Cup championship ring as well.
Not bad for a guy from Cedar Rapids.
“In my 31 years of life, I’ve never experienced anything like that,” Mullen said. “You never know if you’ll get to experience it again.”