TAMPA ― Assistant coach Derek Lalonde could feel a buzz around the Lightning locker room Friday afternoon after practice. It only made sense with the team’s Stanley Cup ring ceremony that evening.
“Everything we’ve done around the success of winning that Stanley Cup has been first class, so there’s high expectations of what that ring’s going to be about and what it looks like,” Lalonde said. “It’s an accomplishment of a lifetime ... the boys are excited.”
The ring ceremony marked the last major team event celebrating the 2019-20 championship run, and the Stanley Cup also was on-hand.
The 2003-04 Lightning did not have the Cup at their ring ceremony. The Cup’s travels make it difficult for teams to arrange for it to come back. Luckily, the Cup was in town thanks to the morning’s Champions Day celebration that also feted the Super Bowl champion Bucs, ALCS-winning Rays and USL Eastern Conference champion Rowdies.
As expected, the pandemic has slowed the Cup’s travels.
“The fact that it was here for a couple of months was a unique experience in itself,” Lalonde said. “It is rewarding and something you don’t take for granted and to have one more opportunity (Friday) to see it, spend a little time with it, see your name again, see the teammates, the guys that really went to war to win that for us is pretty neat and I’m pretty excited.”
The Stanley Cup ring, designed by Jostens (which made the Lightning’s previous championship bling), has 557 diamonds and 81 sapphires set in 14-karat gold.
Among the design highlights:
The ring’s main face features 27 custom-cut sapphires to represent the years the organization has been around. The Bolts logo includes 30 sapphires with 24 diamonds around the edge.
On the inside of the band, 216:14 is engraved to denote the minutes played in overtime during the postseason. The player’s signature is also engraved on the interior palm side with the team’s postseason record for each round featured on the broader backside of the design.
Gravy Train, the team’s victory song by Yung Gravy that they’d blast in the locker room, is written on the bottom of the band.
The left side of the ring features the player’s last name and jersey number with hockey netting in the background. On the right side, “Distant Thunder” is written on a banner.
Replica rings will be available for fans at www.jostens.com/lightning Saturday morning starting at 10. No prices were available.
Additionally, a limited edition ring — which is close in design to the rings the team received — will be available in short supply. Only 77 were created, in honor of defenseman Victor Hedman, who wears No. 77 and won the Conn Smythe Trophy at the end of the Lightning’s postseason run.
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