Ring bling arrives for trio

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:40 AM ET

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Colin Fraser admired it, then put it away so it would not become a distraction.

Steve Smith gave it to the training staff for safekeeping.

Both of them, along with anyone else who had an opportunity to get a glimpse of their new Stanley Cup championship rings, were impressed by them.

"They have the Hawks' logo with the Cup in the background. It's pretty nice," said Fraser.

"There's lots of diamonds on it and on the side there's another Hawks logo. It's pretty cool.

"We all saw the pictures of what it was going to look like, but in real life it's something special. It's pretty different and it actually looks a lot bigger than it did in the pictures. I don't even know when you can wear it. I'll have to collaborate with past winners and see when they wear theirs."

On Thursday morning both had the rings delivered to them by Chicago Blackhawks senior director Al MacIsaac.

Fraser spent parts of the last four years with the Blackhawks organization before being traded to the Oilers this off-season. Smith served as a scout with the team before joining the Oilers coaching staff.

Minnesota Wild forward John Madden also received a ring from MacIsaac.

"They had a team ceremony before the sea-son started which we were invited to, but we had an exhibition game that day and couldn't go," Fraser said. "It just didn't work out for me personally, but a couple of guys got to fly to Chicago and be a part of the presentation.

Having been forced to move a number of key members of their championship team due to salary cap restrictions, the Blackhawks needed to pay a lot of special deliveries.

"In the salary cap era, it's tough to keep good teams together," Fraser said.

"When you have successful teams and guys are successful they sign big contacts and you can't keep them all. It's the nature of the business, they don't want to break that team up, but obviously they had to."

With the ring in hand, Fraser can bring closure to his championship season.

"It's kind of a weird feeling when you win," he said. "It eventually sinks in and it makes you realize how hard it is to get there. But it makes you hungry for more. You don't want to be satisfied with one, you want to win again, because it's so much fun. It's the best time ever really."

For Smith, the ring is his fourth, the latest coming 20 years after winning the Stanley Cup as a player with the Oilers in 1990.

Incidentally, the last ring he won as a player is the only one he's ever worn out in public.

"Every year on New Year's Eve, I would take my wife out for dinner somewhere and I would wear a tuxedo and I would wear my ring," Smith said.

"I did it for many years and it was the only time I would wear my ring.

"The other ones I haven't seen for 15 years, I have them in a safe deposit box."

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca


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