JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Icemen hosted a Fan Fest Sunday afternoon to kick off the 2022 Warrior/ECHL All-Star Classic. Fans were treated to an array of entertainment, including live music, a locker room tour, a winter wonderland, ice skating, backyard games, Jaguars Cheerleaders, and a Hockey Hall of Fame Exhibition with the Stanley Cup. The exhibition also included the Kelly Cup, Calder Cup, Conn Smythe Trophy, and the Vezina Trophy. Fans lined up in droves to get their pictures taken with the famed Stanley Cup under the watchful eye of Keeper of the Cup Howie Borrow. I asked Borrow how the pandemic had impacted his travels and the players’ celebrations with the cup.
“Covid has wreaked some havoc for our travels,” Borrow said. “We’ve had a lot of events cancelled, and schedules are constantly changing by the week almost. When Tampa won it in 2020, our travel consisted of staying in the city itself. Players weren’t able to have the full cup days – they hung around, saw the cup here and there, and maybe took a few family photos. We never really did anything we normally would, like travelling to their home towns. This year, with them having won back-to-back cups, we were able to travel across North America and into Europe, as we were lucky with how COVID was at the time. Now it’s a little crazier as there are more shutdowns. The timing seemed to work out for Tampa last summer and we were pretty happy to be able to share the cup with the players. They deserve it – it’s a dream of theirs to play for the Stanley Cup as hockey players, and for them to finally have a chance to spend the day with it was fun.”
He has also seen many things inside of the cup.
“I’m not with the cup all the time, but yes, there is a lot of food. I’ve seen pierogies, chicken wings, spaghetti, caviar and things like that. Players have gone fishing and put their catch in the bowl. I’ve been witness to the youngest baby in the bowl. This was in St Louis when they won the cup, and the baby was 20 minutes old. I’ve seen people put urns of their family members ashes, to sit it inside the bowl. This is something that’s a little more personal to those people. The players like to drink out of it, lots of beer & champagne and other stuff. They just have a good time being able to celebrate with family and friends.”
With Tampa Bay winning back-to-back Stanley Cups, Borrow has spent a lot of time in Florida.
“I’m surprised that I haven’t been asked to pay taxes yet, as I’ve been in Florida for so long. There was a suggestion that we all rent a house down here.”
Check out this photo gallery from Field Pass Hockey’s Andrew Fielder for some highlights from the Fan Fest.
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- Newest Bears Getting Acclimated in Washington
- PHOTOS: Michael King’s Best Photos from the 2021-22 Season
- Chicago’s Coach Sheahan Embracing Expectations With New Role
- NHL Prospect Tournament Day One: ECHL Officiating Roundup
- Signings continue as Bulls roster comes together
- Inside The SPHL Podcast Episode #32: Macon Mayhem Head Coach Nick Niedert
- PHOTOS: Hector Urcia’s Best Photos from the 2021-22 Season (Part One)