The Stanley Cup is a rock star. There's no question about it. Wherever Stanley goes, so do the crowds. Just the mere presence of the silver chalice is enough brighten the day of anyone. So when the Los Angeles Kings were approached by Erin Power and told the story of 9-year old Genny Shepler, it was an easy decision to use the Cup to the brighten the young hockey player's day.
Genny was hiking in Mill Creek Canyon back in July when she fell 30 feet from a cliff, fracturing her skull. She was in a coma for 11 days. When Power learned of Genny's story -- she has a son the same age -- she reached out to the Kings and hoped for a response, according to the LA Times.
They did and it made for a great day.
Now over two months since the accident, Genny is progressing along.
The baby in this five-child blended family basically had to relearn "everything," DeAnne [Genny's mother] said, and she still needs a feeding tube, though that was removed Tuesday so she could come outside to see the Cup perched on an aluminum picnic table beneath cool shade trees. She has trouble standing and her speech is choppy, but she was careful to thank everyone for bringing the Cup and was feisty enough to swat her sister Hanna in the head when Hanna dared block her view of the Cup.
"Her personality is back," said her father, Kevin, a locksmith at Riverside Community College.
"She wants to go to Boston University. She's going to play hockey for them. Before the accident I knew how little chance she had and I know that now, after the accident, she's got less of a chance, but I'm more convinced now that she's going to do it than I was before the accident."
Genny plays for a local team and when she was able to move her hands again after the fall, her mother brought her a hockey stick to hold to further along her recovery.
The Cup's meaning is way beyond a trophy won on the ice every June, as we saw in August when Davis Drewiske brought it to paralyzed Minnesota high school hockey player Jack Jablonski. It not only touches hockey players and an organization, its impact can be felt by anyone who crosses its path... because it's the Cup.
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy