McCauley hoists Cup 0
Los Angeles Kings pro scout Alyn McCauley lifts the Stanley Cup after the team's series-clinching win over the New Jersey Devils Monday. (Howard Berger/bergerbytes.ca)
While Brian Kilrea scored the first goal in Los Angeles Kings history, one of his favourite players when he coached the 67’s played a role in the Stanley Cup going back to California.
Alyn McCauley, a former 67’s captain who is now a 35-year-old finishing up his third season as a pro scout for the Kings, admits to being moved to tears after the Kings claimed the championship with a 4-2 series win over the New Jersey Devils.
“It’s so gratifying and satisfying, it’s just such an emotional time because you put so much effort into that moment,” said McCauley, a Gananoque native who called home to his wife and parents from the Amex Lounge at the Staples Center immediately after the Kings’ Game 6 victory Monday. “Any Canadian kid that’s played hockey or been a fan of hockey, it’s always been the Stanley Cup. And to actually achieve that ... everyone always says the same thing — it’s unbelievable.
“It’s that ultimate feeling of happiness and satisfaction. Any of those words you can think of, ball them up into one. I think I actually had a few tears coming down my face on some of those phone calls home.”
Before that, when the clock was ticking down and there was no chance of the Kings losing their grip on the series, McCauley celebrated with other members of the team’s scouting staff.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “We were standing above the Amex Lounge, right above one of the restaurants they have in the arena. I think even when it was 4-1, guys were still like, you never know. But then once the fifth goal went in, everybody (was) high-fiving and hugging each other — a lot of emotion.”
“The sixth goal (in the 6-1 clincher) wasn’t a goal that was seen by many in our group, as we were jumping around and high-fiving and putting people in bear hugs and stuff.”
From there, they went downstairs to whoop it up with the players and other members of the organization.
“It probably was everything I thought it was going to be, and it just was all bottled up into that one moment where I actually grabbed the Cup and hoisted it over my head,” said McCauley, a fourth-round pick of the Devils in 1995 who went on to record 69 goals and 166 points in a 488-game career shortened by injuries. “I would say the players have the biggest (role) to play in winning the Stanley Cup. But every single person, whether it be coach, player, trainer, PR person ... everyone plays their piece in helping us get to this point.
“I really don’t know if I would have felt any different (winning it) as a player, as far as satisfaction level, or enjoyment level. I was over the moon at taking it all in. I got right in the middle of the dressing room to get sprayed with champagne and all that stuff, because I just really want to, pardon the pun, soak it all in. It was just the absolute pinnacle of what I’ve been trying to get to, or reach.
“It was the best.”
While New Jersey trotted out previous Devils who won the Cup to get the crowd revved up for Game 5, the Kings had nothing to counter with when the series shifted back to L.A. In the final, they did have their former superstar, Wayne Gretzky, drop the puck for Game 3, and they flashed CBC commentator Kelly Hrudey, a former Kings goalie, on the scoreboard. At one point, McCauley wondered if they were going to show a photo of Kilrea.
“Somebody had to get the team started and Killer did score the first goal,” said McCauley, who added that his four seasons in a 67’s jersey (1993-97) helped him succeed in his pro career.
“It all plays a part. My career as a player certainly has a lot to do with my time in an Ottawa 67’s jersey. And then guys I met along the way, in San Jose and Doug Wilson or stuff like that, there’s always some kind of connection ... people who influenced me to be the player I was, and probably the scout that I’ve become.
“I don’t know if I would have gained some of those experiences or strengths that I picked up along the way had I not worn a 67’s jersey.”
McCauley, who bypassed the Kings’ parade to get back home to Kingston, has one more order of business before taking summer holidays — next weekend’s NHL draft in Pittsburgh.
After that, he’s hopeful the rumblings are true and he will get to spend a day with the Cup.
“I’m not sure if it has or hasn’t been to Gananoque before, but I’d be happy to bring it if I’m allowed to,” said McCauley. “There’s lots of people who have helped me along the way. My family has given up a lot of husband- and son-and-father time to allow me to be part of the Kings scouting staff. It would just be right to be able to share that with them because they’ve put in as much an effort as I have.”