Ever since the Union men’s hockey team won the national championship in April, the NCAA trophy has been on the go.
From the victory parade to the New York legislature to the local media outlets to Saratoga Race Course, the trophy has been celebrated and gotten its picture taken hundreds of times.
The trophy stopped by the offices of The Daily Gazette on Wednesday. The employees had a chance to look at the trophy and get their picture taken with it.
In an exclusive interview, the trophy talked about its adventures since coming to Schenectady April 13, the day after the Dutchmen beat Minnesota, 7-4, to win the NCAA title in Philadelphia.
“I have been really busy,” the trophy said. “My quiet time was in the box before the night Union College won it. But ever since then, I’ve been all over the place. I’m not getting any rest.”
Dutchmen fans got their first glimpse of the trophy when the team arrived home from Philadelphia. A few days later, the trophy basked in the sunshine during the parade honoring the champions, and then attended the team banquet.
It has been just about everywhere in the Capital Region. The trophy made an appearance at the Times Union Center when the Albany Devils honored the Dutchmen April 18.
The Tri-City ValleyCats, who won the 2013 New York-Penn League title, had the NCAA trophy at their June 14 game.
The trophy got to visit the State Assembly and State Senate May 7. Six days later, it was at the Schenectady County Legislature.
The trophy also made some visits outside the Capital Region.
“Fenway Park was really cool,” the trophy said. “That was neat, seeing some alums there and taking in a ballgame. I’ve been down to New York City. A lot of folks like to get photos with me, but they don’t like to hold me. They’re afraid something might happen.”
The trophy spent Friday at Saratoga Race Course, where the team was honored by having the third race named after it. The trophy enjoyed the day at the race track, and claimed it didn’t bet on any of the races.
“I don’t have any credit card or funds to bet, so I was just showing off again,” the trophy said. “I feel like a beauty pageant [contestant] where I’m there smiling and everybody enjoying me. But it was very nice of NYRA to have coach [Rick] Bennett there and naming the race after us.”
Unlike the Stanley Cup, players can drink beverages from the NCAA trophy because there is no bowl attached to the maple wood frame. That is fine with the trophy.
“And I don’t float,” said the trophy, referring to times that the Stanley Cup has ended up in a pool when a player has a day with it. “[News anchor] Greg Floyd at CBS 6 said, ‘I noticed you can’t drink out of it.’ And I said, ‘Yes, there is a good reason for that because I am an NCAA trophy.”
The trophy has a few more stops to make before the summer ends. It will be part of the celebration on opening night Oct. 10 against American International, when the NCAA title banner is raised to the Messa Rink rafters. After that, the trophy will be on display at Messa in the trophy case.
Then, it will get to relax.
“At that point, it’s almost like we’re an animal in a zoo,” the trophy said. “We will enjoy our location, and we’ll have a lot of people looking at us for the first time. … I’m really proud to call this my permanent home, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of the attention that I have received.”