Hockey Hall of Fame vice-president and curator Phil Pritchard has seen many different things in the Stanley Cup. Last Friday was a first when Baby Yoda, the breakout star of the Star Wars Disney+ television series “The Mandalorian,” took a silver seat.
It should come as no surprise to members of the Lightning, however, that assistant athletic trainer Mike Poirier took the Stanley Cup to a galaxy far, far away.
“This was Mike’s day of Stanley Cup celebration and he’s a massive Star Wars fan, maybe one of the biggest ones I’ve ever seen. It’s unbelievable what he has,” Pritchard said Thursday, back home in Toronto in quarantine for 14 days after having returned from Florida on Wednesday. “Everyone on the Lightning knows that Mike is a big Star Wars guy, so they get him stuff all the time. I think the Storm Trooper belt buckle he was wearing that day was a gift from (Lightning captain) Steven Stamkos.”
A guest arriving at Poirier’s home brought Baby Yoda as a gift, so naturally The Child, as the green creature is properly known, had to sit in hockey’s iconic trophy.
Tampa Bay Lightning assistant athletic trainer Mike Poirier
Pritchard wasn’t certain whether this Baby Yoda was merely a plush toy or the high-end talking animatronic version.
“If this Baby Yoda spoke, the woman who brought it didn’t make it talk,” Pritchard said, joking that the Stanley Cup might have rendered the popular figure speechless.
“She asked Mike if Yoda could sit in the Cup and he was thrilled. I took photos of him beside and inside the Cup, and afterwards carefully sanitized the trophy. We have to be as COVID careful as possible, following all the rules and regulations. Better being safe than sorry.”
Pritchard arrived at Poirier’s home mid-morning and was there until after 11 p.m.
“Because of what’s going on (with the pandemic), they can’t really do a lot with it,” he said. “Mike had family and friends in the house, a very limited number of people, some people on his driveway. The Cup was in his yard, where there was more room.”
And of course, Poirier was dressed in a Star Wars theme for at least part of the day, including a Darth Vader helmet and a Storm Trooper jacket and belt buckle.
Stanley Cup photos courtesy of Phil Pritchard.