Stanley Cup, 59, backs Penguins
Sandra Cup would love to be able to send her husband to a hockey playoff game.
She tried, through the box office, but she couldn't get even standing-room-only tickets for the diehard fan to watch his beloved Pittsburgh Penguins. A friend was going to sell her a pair for a recent game, but that deal fell through.
So when the Pens skate onto the ice in the finals against the Detroit Red Wings, Stanley Cup -- that's right, Stanley Joseph Cup, 59, of Saltsburg -- will not be in the building.
"The Penguins are so hot now, it's hard to get tickets because everyone wants them. I think they're going to go all the way," she said, lamenting her husband's misfortune.
"You'd think they'd want the real Stanley Cup there, because he could be a good-luck charm."
Stanley Cup, a steel worker who puts in daily 10-hour shifts at the Akers National Roll mill in Avonmore, doesn't think of himself as a talisman. Nope, he said, he's just a regular guy.
He is the son of a coal miner, Steven Stanley Cup, a man who had a "real good friend" named Stanley but no real interest in hockey. His father, the son of an Austrian dairy farmer, also liked the common ethnic nickname for Stanley -- "Stush."
So Stush, not Stanley, is what his friends call him.
He prefers his quiet life in the country to the hectic pace of any city he's ever visited. He collects hockey pucks but still needs one from the Penguins. His favorite player is Evgeni Malkin. His favorite beer is Miller Light, best enjoyed with his buddies at the Tunnelton Inn.
He doesn't like the limelight but is too polite to shun the attention his name draws, particularly during hockey season. Every couple of years around playoff time, his phone rings with interview requests from reporters across the country, he said.
Usually, it's a snowball effect. When one journalist looking for a new story angle digs up some hockey trivia, others follow the lead.
Sometimes, journalists get his 91-year-old aunt, Helen, because her phone number is listed. She giggles and quizzes reporters about their credentials "to make sure you are who you say you are because you just can't tell these days" before she checks her address book and offers his number.
"I got lots of calls when this first started," she said, telling a reporter that she's no hockey fan, but she's certainly proud of her nephew. "I like it to a certain extent, but not that much, not like him."
Cup said he doesn't mind the attention from local print journalists, but television and radio interviews make him nervous. He talks to reporters only because his wife and daughters, Stephanie and Sabrina, get a kick out of it.
"I'm not much of a talker," Cup said.
Years ago, his name got him some free beers in a Toronto hockey bar. In 2001, a Detroit radio station tried but couldn't convince him to visit the city to bring luck to the Red Wings.
His family persuaded him to step into the spotlight briefly in 2006, when he served as an ambassador for the OLN cable television network for National Hockey League games. He went to New York with his daughter and her husband, where he did some television interviews and met some players.
The network sent him and his son-in-law to the first playoff match between Carolina and Edmonton. He touched the Stanley Cup and had his picture taken with his namesake trophy.
That was a thrill, but three days in New York City was not.
"New York was scary to me. I don't like the city," he said.
Although he'd love to see the Pens in person -- just as he did for seven or eight games last season -- Cup will be with his friends at the bar when the Penguins take on Detroit. It'll be fun, he said.
Tunnelton Inn owners Jan and Kevin Nagg put out free food while their patrons party and watch the games on a big screen TV. They've hung a picture of Cup, holding the Stanley Cup, above their bar.
"I keep teasing him that I'm going to take his picture and make copies of it so he can autograph them for us to sell them," Jan Nagg said.
He takes it all in stride. For a regular guy, a game on TV and beer and buddies is OK.
"That's what we always do," he said. "We'd like to be at the game, but tickets are tough to come by, so we'll just hang out and watch them together."
One goal:Lord Stanley's Cup
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins’ Kessel ‘thrilled’ with chance to play with Crosby, Malkin
- Hurricanes owner rips Rutherford, Penguins
- Penguins sign defensive prospect
- Penguins get their man in making trade with Toronto for Kessel
- Starkey: Rutherford hits jackpot with Kessel
- Penguins notebook: Rutherford proves savvy in deal
- Downie, Ehrhoff lead list of likely Penguins leaving in free agency
- Starkey: Kessel worth Penguins’ inquiry
- Penguins deflect trade inquiries, decide to stand pat during NHL Draft
- Pouliot seeks to improve fitness with grueling workout regimen
- Defenseman Martin’s agent planning meeting with Penguins at draft