Erik Cagle Bits and Pieces: Printer Hosts Stanley Cup
By Erik CagleApril 2013
Not many inanimate objects can boast of having an entourage and a heavy traveling schedule while receiving white glove treatment wherever it goes. Then again, not many inanimate objects bring on unbridled outbursts of jubilation quite like the Stanley Cup.
The Stanley Cup—awarded each year to the championship team in the National Hockey League (NHL)—is the oldest trophy competed for by team sports in North America. The trophy dates back to 1892, when it was originally commissioned as the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup. Every spring, the NHL goes on a two-month-long playoff saga that culminates with the crowning of a new Stanley Cup champion. Many cuts, bruises, broken bones and chipped teeth have been sacrificed in the name of capturing Lord Stanley's celebrated silver chalice.
Players kiss the trophy, drink champagne (among other beverages) from it and even get to take it home for a while. Retired New York Islanders star Clark Gillies actually allowed his dog to eat out of the Cup. In fact, the championship-winning team is allotted 100 days with the trophy, so it is constantly on the go. Some fans are fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of the Cup when it visits their local team's arena. But, in general, it's more elusive than Waldo.
Just don't tell that to Chromatic Inc. The Glendale, CA-based printer has a working relationship with the Los Angeles Kings, producing game programs, media guides. Chromatic's account executive, Nick Salata, actually worked as the director of public relations withe the Kings back in the 1990s, when the fabled Great One, Wayne Gretzky, was with the team.
When the Kings toppled the New Jersey Devils in six games last season to capture the NHL title, Salata was hoping his business and personal relationships with the team might pave the way for a brief, up-front visit with the Cup at Chromatic. But when Salata initially inquired, the prospects weren't promising.
"The guys in the communications department were in charge of handling the date book for the trophy, and the demand was pretty crazy," Salata recalls. "It's like a human celebrity. The Cup made its rounds (last) June and July (after the Kings won), then it started going around the world to where the players lived. I asked again in August, but they said it would be tough."
The Kings kept Salata on the waiting list with the scores of other firms, VIPs and other entities doing business with the team and the league who wanted to spend a little time with Stanley. Finally, in January—right around the time the NHL and its players resolved a months-long lockout—Salata heard from his friend with the Kings.
"I got an unexpected text from my client/friend, and he asked if I was going to be at work the next day," he recalls. "He said the Cup was available to come to Chromatic at 8:30 a.m."
Salata quickly e-mailed the staff and told them to keep it under wraps for obvious reasons. Several employees brought their children to work. The calendar may have read Jan. 14, but to see their faces, it was as if Santa Claus himself had popped in to greet everyone.
"The idea behind bringing it here was for the employees to see something tangible for all the hard work they do, and boy, it was beyond what I dreamed it would be," Salata says. "Our people really got into it. They were awe struck."
Salata didn't get a chance to hoist the Stanley Cup—that type of activity is frowned upon by the NHL. He was just as caught up in the grandeur and spectacle as everyone else.
"No other sport has respect for the prize like they do," Salata remarks. "When hockey players are on TV, they don't talk about the money; they talk about wanting to win the Cup. It's pretty cool."
Still, few things can swing the arrow on the thrill-o-meter (at least for men) like the thought of lifting the Cup in jubilation. But as the photo attests, the employees of Chromatic were pleased to spend an hour with the Stanley Cup. PI