It happened two days after the Stanley Cup: Dale Bollig was talking to his son, Brandon, who had just won the cup with the Chicago Blackhawks. He asked his son, What's the goal now? In high school, it was to get to college. In college, it was to get to training camp. In training camp, it was to make the team. When you made the team, the goal was to win the Stanley Cup—you’ve done that. What is the next goal?
Brandon Bollig is the first St. Louis-area high school kid to have his name on the Stanley Cup. The Francis Howell North graduate is a rugged 26-year-old forward. He is a tough guy but has some skill, scoring 37 goals in three years in the USHL and amassing almost 600 penalty minutes.
Bollig has big plans when he gets the Stanley Cup to town for one day this summer: He’ll bring the sporting world's most treasured trophy to a children's hospital, as well as a public showing where fans can take their picture with the trophy. He will then have a private get-together with friends and family. Just imagine how many kids have grown up playing hockey in our town's history, but there is only one with his name on that trophy.
The hockey dream is a difficult one: The rink times are often before the sun rises, equipment is expensive, and the travel is brutal. And in the end, only a select few ever get a chance to make it to the NHL. Bollig made it. And now, he's a Stanley Cup champion.
We talked after he got some sleep following the celebration:
Describe it when you held the cup that night in Boston.
I didn't think it was real. My hands were getting sweaty, I didn't want to drop it. You see it for all these years, and then, it’s in your hands.
How did you party?
I got to bed about 11:00 a.m. the next day. As soon as we landed, fire trucks started spraying the plane with water. There were huge crowds in the runway. We hopped on a bus and went to Harry Caray's. The scene was insane—hundreds were there. Then we took a bus downtown to a bar. We brought all of our families.
The most emotional moment of the week?
I didn't come close to crying right after the game. But when we were waiting in the tunnel for our families, I saw my mom, Tracy, and my sister, Brittany, who is 23. My mom started hugging me and started crying. It was really tough to hold back then. She and my dad did everything for me. They spent money we didn't have so I could play hockey and travel.
What does it mean to be the only player from the area to have your name on the Stanley Cup?
It means a lot. It hasn't happened for the Blues, but it's a big hockey town. The fans love the game. And I grew up idolizing Brett Hull and Brendan Shanahan.
1. Albert Pujols says he's bitter at the Cardinals front office. Great player, good family man and he does lot for charity. But please, they gave him $100 million and offered another $200 million to stay. The Cardinals did nothing wrong.
2. The most interesting question surrounding in the Cardinals’ upcoming off-season will be the Carlos Beltran dilemma. The assumption has always been Beltran out, Oscar Taveres in. But how do you let the best rightfielder in the game just leave? Many expensive contracts are going off the books, I think you have to make an offer.
3. You must must try: The Village Bar for a cheeseburger, Gioia’s for a salami sandwich, fried chicken at Friendlys, smoked wings at J. Buck's, and a BLT at Crown Candy.
4. Bill McDermott is one of our town's best sportscasters. He knows more about soccer than any sportscaster knows about any sport in St. Louis. You don't have to be a fan of soccer to watch Bill—just enjoy this broadcasting treasure.
5. How come every movie nowadays has to be some wild, computer-generated imagery? I know it's about summer blockbusters, but every one of them is the same—all crazy and far-fetched. Give me some believable dialogue and drama. Give me The Verdict and Absence of Malice. Gosh, I am old.
Frank Cusumano is a 14-time Emmy Award winner on KSDK-TV, and also has been a radio commentator for 20 years.