Stanley Cup comes to Anchorage, again

Posted: Thursday, July 17, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) The Swarthout brothers are going home to Michigan with a scrapbook's worth of memories from their summer vacation in Alaska.

They crossed the Arctic Circle, they gazed up at the continent's tallest mountain, they cruised the waters of Resurrection Bay alongside humpback whales and sea lions.

It was the kind of trip you can't wait to tell people about, the kind with so many stories you barely know where to start. Except brothers Bill, John and Dave Swarthout know exactly what they'll brag about when they get back to Detroit Wednesday.

''The Stanley Cup!'' they said in unison.

''It's the last thing on the videotape,'' Bill said, ''but it'll be the first thing mentioned.''

The Swarthout brothers spent their last day in Alaska standing in line at the Delaney Park Strip in Anchorage and waiting for their turn to touch, kiss and view the Stanley Cup, one of the most treasured trophies in sports and the oldest professional sports trophy in North America.

They had plenty of company. Police estimated that 7,500 to 8,000 people were at the Park Strip Tuesday afternoon during the trophy's four-hour appearance, which came courtesy of hometown hero Scott Gomez of the NHL champion New Jersey Devils.

The irony of the situation was not lost on the Swarthout brothers. All are avid fans of the Detroit Red Wings, who won the Cup in 1997, 1998 and last season. They've tried to catch glimpses of the Cup during their city's various celebrations, but usually all they see is other people.

''I went to the parade last year and there were 1.2 million people,'' Dave said. Using the zoom lens of his camera, he was able to get a brief, microscopic view of the trophy.

Gomez, 23, is a Stanley Cup champion for the second time in four years, and because he loves his hometown as much as his hometown appears to love him, he shared some of his 24 hours with the Stanley Cup with the whole city. Every member of the championship team gets a day with the Cup.

''What a great time to be in Alaska!'' said Dave Anderson, a teacher from Southern California who grew up in Detroit and remains a Red Wings fan. ''I've seen it three times now in Toronto at the Hockey Hall of Fame, in Detroit when they won it and now. This is by far the best view. This is very, very cool.''

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