Bronze statue of former Huskies player unveiled in Tampa Bay
When former Hamilton Husky Dave Andreychuk hoisted the Stanley Cup as captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning at the end of the 2004 playoffs it was the highlight of his 23 seasons in the National Hockey League.
That moment was forever preserved last Saturday when a nine-foot tall, 600 pound bronze statue of Andreychuk lifting the Stanley Cup over his head was unveiled on Ford Thunder Alley outside the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
“It was awesome,” said Andreychuk. “I don’t think that moment is too far from people’s minds.”
During his final four seasons in the NHL, Andreychuk played in 278 games with the Lightning, scoring 68 goals and adding 61 assists for 129 points.
The former NHL sniper, who is now vice president of community and corporate affairs with the Lightning, noted the statue will remind future hockey fans of the team’s first and so far only Stanley Cup championship.
“They’ll know the championship was won there,” Andreychuk said. “His father will tell him about it, that’s the cool thing.”
Andreychuk said he’s enjoying leaning the business side of professional hockey.
Game days see him working with corporate sponsors, suite holders and event management staff to ensure all the off-ice matters are attended to.
The Lightning are expected to face Montreal in the first round of the playoffs and Andreychuk said his advice to the players who are facing post season action for the first time is to have some fun.
“You’ve got to enjoy the ride,” said Andreychuk, who noted the worst seasons of his career were the three years he missed the playoffs.
Andreychuk said he’s not sure having home ice advantage is all that important and it might be better for the Lightning to experience the pressure cooker of the Bell Centre inMontreal at the beginning of the series.
“Going to Montreal you’re going to get the Full Monty that’s for sure,” he said.
With so many players new to post season action, Andreychuk said any playoff experience will be good for the team.
“We can’t expect a lot because they’ve never been through this before,” he said.
Hamilton is still home for Andreychuk and the former Toronto Maple Leaf and Buffalo Sabre said he makes a point of visiting family and friends here each summer or when business brings him back to southern Ontario.
His cousin Paula is the director of the Dave Andreychuk Foundation that helps children in need, families facing chronic illness and encourages investment in youth and amateur sports.
Among the foundation supporters is the Shell station at 159 Dundurn Street South.
The business will donate $2 from every premium car wash sale to the foundation until May 31 and car wash purchasers can win a number of prizes.
Back to hockey.
With 640 goals and 698 assists for 1,338 points over 1,639 games with six NHL clubs and one Stanley Cup ring in a career that spanned 23 seasons, many hockey fans remain puzzled why Andreychuk is not in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
So is he.
“It’s out of my hands,” Andreychuk said. “I home some day my time comes; it would be a great day for everybody.”