We get the same thing every year. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman walks out amidst a chorus of mostly boos, grabs the mic like he’s a principal about to admonish an unruly assembly crowd, and quickly and without much pomp or circumstance, hands over The Cup. Then gets the hell out.
We need something new. Fresh. Exciting. We need the attention-grabbing daring of Lady Gaga. The head turning style of Michael Buble. The “what the hell?” quality of a Kardashian YouTube video.
Here are a few suggestions. 7 cool ways the Commissioner could present the Stanley Cup:
1. Lights dim. The strains of “Phantom Of The Opera” blare. A single spotlight hits an upper corner of the arena. Out of a massive cloud of dry ice, there, in a cape and a half Gerry Cheevers mask, The Commish emerges. With a bellowing, evil laugh (the kind usually reserved for a thwarting of Jim Balsillie), he tucks the Cup under an arm, grabs a rope with the other, and swoops down to centre ice.
2. The players gather at the Zamboni entrance, lined up on either side of it. They drop their sticks, take off their gloves and start clapping in time with the music. That music? “Footloose,” by Kenny Loggins. Out comes Mr. Bettman, in acid washed jeans, white shirt and skinny tie, perfectly mimicking Kevin Bacon’s incredible mid-eighties dance moves. All the way to centre ice. Not necessary, but pretty great, would be to get John Lithgow to stand at the end of the line in minister’s garb, arms folded, shaking his head in disgust.
3. Bettman doesn’t present the Cup at all. Instead, Charlie Sheen, drives a Zamboni out, complete with gaggle of his “goddesses” as passengers. After a short, meandering tour of the ice, the Zamboni slams into the boards, knocking everyone off. They scramble to their feet, and start to stagger toward centre ice, sliding the cup along the ice. Sheen throws up in the Cup, points to the victorious captain and says “winning.”
4. In a nod to the top-of-mind status of Anthony Weiner, the Commish strides to centre wearing flip-flops and a towel. The Cup is there waiting for him. He smiles, devilishly, then sticks it between his legs, takes a picture with his iPhone and immediately posts the shot to Twitter. Then announces: “We have a wiener!” Congratulations Vancouver/Boston!”
5. Dressed like Moses, the Commish slowly, stoically, makes his way toward the players gathered at centre ice. He’s carrying two stone tablets. As the camera zooms in, we see that the tablets have the NHL’s constantly changing headshot rules carved into them. He puts them down, picks up a composite hockey stick from the pile nearby. He waves it slowly, and the players part, the Stanley Cup appearing in the middle of them. Of course, the stick breaks as he does this.
6. Royal Wedding theme. The Cup, in a bridal veil and mini-dress with a long train. The Commish in a Prince William uniform knock-off. Or the other way around, if you prefer. A carriage ride to centre ice. Carrie Underwood as Pippa, following dutifully behind the Cup, carrying the tail end of it’s train. Prince Harry, played by…well..who else but Sean Avery? Peter Mansbridge narrates.
7. Salute to Seal Team 6. The Commish, in full commando gear, is juggled and nose-bounced by a line of 6 actual seals towards a mini compound-like structure at centre ice. Gary kicks in the door, the walls fall down and we see an Osama look-a-like sitting on the floor with the Stanley Cup in his grasp. The Commissioner fires a few paintball rounds into him and secures the Cup, as well as “Osama’s” DVD collection. He announces that the discs are “NHL 2010-2011 highlight DVD’s, now available at NHL.com!”
Honourable mentions as themes: Jersey Shore. Bettman in drag as Snooki, guzzling a margarita from the Cup. Star Wars. Take the base off the Cup, and the Commissioner can wear it, like he’s R2-D2. And “Enchantment Under The Sea.” Of course.