×

Concord-born Lovejoy celebrates with Cup at alma mater Dartmouth

  • Jamie Denver, of Shawmut Design and Construction, takes video of himself as Ben Lovejoy, of Enfield, climbs the stairs in Baker Tower in Hanover Monday, August 1, 2016. The tower is under construction but Lovejoy, a 2006 Dartmouth College graduate and a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins cup-winning team, was granted access to have his picture taken with the cup on a balcony overlooking campus. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • June Lovejoy, 9 months, daughter of Ben Lovejoy, sits in the Stanley Cup during her father's day with the trophy in Enfield, N.H. Monday, August 1, 2016. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Ben Lovejoy laughs with his mother Cari Lovejoy and daughter June Lovejoy after lunch at his home in Enfield, N.H.with the Stanley Cup as center piece on the picnic table, Monday, August 1, 2016. Lovejoy, who played defense with the Pittsburgh Penguins, took time during the middle of his day with the cup for down time with his family. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Matt Parolin, of the Hockey Hall of Fame, places the Stanley Cup in the truck of Ben Lovejoy, of Enfield, right, before taking the trophy on a tour of the Upper Valley Monday, August 1, 2016. Parolin and Howie Borrow, middle, travel with the cup as it is passed between members of the winning team. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • After being asked how they came into possession of the Stanley Cup by Jack Smyrski, of Lebanon, middle, and his father John, right, Pittsburgh Penguin defender Ben Lovejoy, left, joked that he is just a huge hockey fan, causing Wayne Burwell, second from right, to erupt in laughter in Hanover, N.H. Monday, August 1, 2016. Lovejoy trains at Burwell's gym in Lebanon in the off season. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Ben Lovejoy smiles while bringing the Stanley Cup up Dartmouth’s Baker Tower. Lovejoy spent his day with the Cup at some of his familiar college spots. JAMES M. PATTERSON / Valley News

  • Ben Lovejoy lifts the Stanley Cup at Thompson Arena, in front of a crowd of Dartmouth fans. Lovejoy won the Cup with the Penguins in June. MARK WASHBURN / Dartmouth Athletics



Valley News
Tuesday, August 02, 2016

The road to the Stanley Cup took Ben Lovejoy all over North America last winter. On Monday, it sent him all over the place he still calls home.

Through about a dozen hours, the former Dartmouth College defenseman and Cup winner with the Pittsburgh Penguins hauled the chalice emblematic of NHL excellence around the Upper Valley, starting at his Enfield summer home and visiting many of the places that formed the person he’s become.

Although nearly 10 years removed from his last Big Green season, the Concord-born and Valley-raised Lovejoy remains fond. He can’t truly wind down from the hockey season – certainly not after a championship campaign – until he sees the Mascoma Lake shoreline and the 100-year-old cottage he and his wife, Avery, purchased a half-dozen years ago.

They hosted, as Lovejoy put it Monday morning, “250 of my closest friends,” for a Sunday night shindig once Lord Stanley arrived with an escort from Boston. He held it past dusk on Monday, as a throng in the thousands arrived at Dartmouth’s Thompson Arena to get a gander at 35 pounds of silver, shine and symbolism.

“We have a crazy life,” Lovejoy said over lunch. “It’s awesome; I wouldn’t do it any differently. But we’ve lived in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., we’ve lived in Pittsburgh, Pa., we’ve lived in Newport Beach, Calif., we’ve been back to Pittsburgh, we’re heading to New Jersey, we’ve spent summers in both Philadelphia and at my parents’ house in Orford.

“But we wanted and needed a place to call home. We spend three or four summer months here. This is always our home base.”

Home hit the road on Monday. A gleaming bauble came along for the ride.

8:48 a.m.: The Stanley Cup is best accompanied with a spoon.

As a friend stops by the house on Monday morning, Avery has her daughters – 2-year-old Lila and 9-month-old June – on the dock. They’re eating cereal out of the Cup.

“That’s truly the breakfast of champions,” Carl Lovejoy, Ben’s father, cracks.

Matt Parolin and Howie Borrow, Cup custodians from the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, sit in Adirondack chairs, watching the Lovejoys take more photographs with the trophy. It shines bright silver even on a cloudy morning.

Deliberately so, too. Since the end of Sunday’s party, it’s had some attention.

“I just use a little soap and water to take the lipstick marks off,” said Borrow, who delivered the trophy to Lovejoy on Sunday night from Boston and is part of a crew of “four or five” that accompanies it on its summer journeys.

There are actually three Stanley Cups. The original was detached from the trophy in the 1960s and is preserved in the Hall. A second full-sized version also resides in Toronto. Then there’s the so-called presentation trophy, the one that players and others affiliated with the championship club get for a day in the summer.

Borrow has been doing this for some time; Parolin is “learning the ropes,” Borrow said. They both make sure the trophy is treated with respect, particularly as Lovejoy readies to transport it to all of the places he considers important.

“Just as long as somebody has a hand on it,” Borrow cautions as Lovejoy loads the Cup into the cabin of his pickup truck.

“We can seat belt it,” Lovejoy responds.

And he does.

9:10 a.m.: The Stanley Cup makes for a nice icebreaker.

The Enfield Village School is Lovejoy’s first stop. When Lovejoy asked police Chief Richard Crate if his department would like to see the Cup, Crate said yes – if Lovejoy brought it somewhere else.

So, with a few gawking adults on the side, Lovejoy steps into a gymnasium filled with about three dozen children ages 8-12, part of a summertime after-school program that keeps the kids busy while their parents are at work. Lovejoy explains the circumstances of his championship, as well as the news that he’ll soon become a New Jersey Devil, having signed a three-year contract with the team recently.

“You get to see this up close and personal,” he said to the kids. “Or, if you want to, you can see it at Thompson Arena with 5,000 of your closest friends.”

Next up: a reunion at Canaan’s Cardigan Mountain School, where his family moved from Cape Cod when Ben was in second grade. An 8 p.m. email sent Sunday notified the campus of the Cup’s Monday arrival, and about 30 people wait to greet it.

“This is an unbelievable experience, bringing the Stanley Cup back to Canaan and have it for 24 hours, it’s any hockey player’s dream,” said Josh LeRoy, who played collegiately at St. Lawrence and who coached all three Lovejoy boys – Ben, Nick and Matt – during an earlier stint at the school. “Knowing their family really well, seeing the boys grow up and watching them and following them, I can’t imagine the emotion they’re going through.”

Fear of superstition isn’t one of them. Nick lifts the Cup into a golf cart for a trip to another part of campus, ignoring tradition: You aren’t supposed to hoist the Stanley Cup if you haven’t earned it, because then you will never win it.

Two years out of Dartmouth for a New York banking career, Nick has the perfect rejoinder: “My chances are over.”

10:33 a.m.: The Stanley Cup respects authority.

The morning concludes with stops at the Lebanon Police Department, where Lovejoy shocks at least one unsuspecting officer (“Holy schnikey!”) upon arrival and leaves impressed that 12-year-old Brianna Roberts, of Hartford, is wearing a T-shirt from a hockey camp he once staged at Dartmouth.

“I like that shirt!” he exclaimed.

Nick: “I’m trying to think if any of these guys ever pulled me over.”

Finally, personal trainer Wayne Burwell unloads one of his megawatt smiles at Lovejoy, a longtime offseason client, inside his Wayne’s World gym. A Lovejoy jersey from the Penguins hangs on a wall, looking down on a class in the midst of a workout.

Back at the house, the decision is made to bring the Cup out for lunch. Chicken, sausage, salad, bread and other goodies are spread out for a buffet.

“Are you going to put the Cup on the table?” Avery asks.

“Yep, it’s going to be the centerpiece,” Nick responds. “We’re not animals.”

As lunch winds down, a group of four kayakers catch sight of the trophy and paddle over. One of them, Tom Potter, is a Dartmouth graduate as well.

“That’s something you don’t see every day,” remarks Potter, who splits the year between an Enfield home and one in Scotland. “I thought it was a urn that you pour coffee out of or something.”

2:03 p.m.: The Stanley Cup knows how to be quiet.

After pitstops at Stateline Sports and Campion Rink, it’s off to Dartmouth. Lovejoy’s alma mater is allowing him to take pictures from the Baker Library tower. It’s a double accomplishment: Dartmouth opens the tower only a handful of times a year, and it’s currently undergoing a four-month renovation of its clocks and bells.

Andrea Bartelstein, Baker’s education and outreach librarian, greets the caravan. Even in summer, the main hall is filled with students at work. Very few raise their eyes at the hockey player with the shiny trophy.

“You know you’re at an Ivy League school,” Parolin says, “when no one looks up when you walk by with the Stanley Cup.”

Rest assured, Chuck Clairmont notices. A 39-year-old from Northfield, working for the renovation project’s main contractor, the tattooed, sunglassed, hard-hatted Clairmont turns into a smiling kid as Lovejoy slowly – perspiring all the way – makes his way up the steep ladder that leads to the narrow Baker walkway.

“(At) 7:30, my super told me we’d be having the Stanley Cup on site, and I started giggling,” gushes Clairmont, a job supervisor. “It’s the Stanley Cup! You’ve got the Stanley Cup sitting in my job site right now! It’s amazing. There’s over a century of history here, you know what I mean? Guys literally die to possess that, literally gave up their health, everything. It’s nuts.”

The trip down includes an impromptu photo session with a Dartmouth tour group, additional pictures for Bartelstein (she wants to make her brother jealous) and a few more on a rainy green. On the way to Xi Heorot, Lovejoy’s fraternity, a stranger recognizes the Cup and asks Lovejoy — not knowing who he is — why they have it for the day.

“Because we’re huge fans,” he deadpans.

6:06 p.m.: The Cup visits Dartmouth’s squash courts, where Avery once played for the Big Green. It serves as a gelato bowl for Lila, June and their parents. Now it’s off to the day’s final destination: Thompson Arena and a photograph reception with fans.

Friend and Dartmouth hockey media contact Pat Salvas has arranged the day, with a video screen on the arena floor and a 15-minute chat session with the media. Members of the current hockey team help with set-up. Longtime Big Green Coach Bob Gaudet soaks it in.

“I’ve been around it at the Hockey Hall of Fame, we actually had it at Lake Placid this past spring, but you don’t feel that closeness,” Gaudet said. “To have that personal attachment now with somebody who’s actually getting his name on it is pretty neat.”

“I’ve been planning this day in my head for the last nine years, since I’ve been a professional ice hockey player,” Lovejoy says to the press. “I’ve been dreaming about what I’d do if I had the chance to take it home. I’ve been able to do everything. …

“I technically have the Cup until the crack of dawn tomorrow morning,” he added, still enjoying the moment. “I can’t wait to give it back tonight and go to bed for a while.”

But first, a trip to the Thompson floor with a shiny, 35-pound symbol of hockey supremacy held over his head. Several thousand of his closest friends are there to greet him with a standing ovation.

(Greg Fennell can be reached at gfennell@vnews.com or 727-3226.)