One of most recognizable trophies in sports arrived in Central New York today, as Fulton youth hockey player Noah Delaney won Discover's Day With the Cup contest, and the right to be with the NHL's Stanley Cup for the day.
The contest encouraged hockey fans to submit a photo that demonstrated their passion for hockey and a 1,000 character or less desrciption that best answered the quesiton, "I deserve a day with the Stanley Cup because.." For Noah, this contest wasn't just about himself deserving a day with the Cup, but his father as well. In January, Noah's father Rob was deployed for his third tour in Afghanistan, and hockey was something Noah and his father shared and loved together.
Noah wrote about their bond in his entry to the contest, how they were together every weekend, through the rigors of the youth hockey schedule and everything in between. His submission was one of over 850 in the contest that were uploaded to Discover's Facebook page, and his story won by a large amount of votes. Noah, who cried when he won the contest, had his eyes opened to the possibilties in his life.
"You can do anything if you ask for help," he said. "...this means a lot."
Today, Noah's hockey team, the Fulton Red Raider Squirts, scrimmaged at the Cicero Twin Ice Rinks, and after playing for about an hour, (and Noah's four goal effort), a carpet was laid on the ice and the cup was presented to Noah, his family, his team and some members of the military. His mother, Heather Doran, saw how special it was for him.
"He actually slept pretty well last night," Doran said. "This means everything, everything to him. It means a lot because his dad couldn't be here."
His coach, Tim Connolly, has seen Noah progress through these last few months, and knows how much he loves hockey, and how much this game means to him.
"He's on cloud nine," Connolly said. "You have to give it up to him. He wrote a killer essay which got him this day, and he did it for his father, which is really cool."
Noah and his family reiterated that this Day With the Cup wasn't about him, but about him having this experience for his father, something he can tell his dad about for years to come.
After being presented the cup, Noah was at a loss for words, only talking about how everything that happened was awesome, especially because it meant so much to his dad as well.
As a part of winning the contest, Noah was able to bring the Cup back to his house for the day. And, in addition to having the cup, Noah received two tickets to Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals at the end of May. His story will also be told on NBC during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals, which will be broadcast on national television, and played throughout the arena during the game.