SUN Hockey Pool

Cup gets smuggled aboard

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:30 PM ET

Jim Peplinski's tale sounds like a Mission: Impossible storyline.

All these years later, not everyone really knows how the Stanley Cup ended up on the Calgary Flames chartered plane when they returned from Montreal to Calgary.

Known by all who were on the flight was the fact the league had mandated the trophy be locked in its case and transported in the hold with the luggage. Also known is assistant trainer Al Murray somehow managed to bring hockey's Holy Grail on board to be part of the celebrations.

"The story I heard was Al wiggled down to get it," Peplinski said.

"He went into the bathroom, through a trap door or something, and brought it back up. Al has a place in Flames history and hockey lore."

Sounds great but not quite true.

Murray said once the representatives of the league left the Cup with him and the baggage handlers, he and a few others put a plan in place.

"I didn't think it was right the most coveted trophy in sports was going to ride in the belly of the plane," he said. "So we made an executive decision, cut all the locks off the trunk and put it on the plane before anyone else boarded."

Naturally that begs the question: Why did it come out of the washroom?

"That's where it was hidden. We waited until we took off before making a move and I went to my dad and said, 'I think I'm in trouble,' " Murray recalled.

"He was so happy to hear the Cup was on board.

"I thought it was only fitting Lanny McDonald do the honours and bring it out, so I asked him to come with me for a surprise and took him to where it was.

"I'll never forget the look on his face. It was pure joy.

"He brought it out to a big eruption and the party was on."

Upon arriving in Calgary, around 6 a.m., the players, team management and their significant others were greeted by a handful of diehard fans at the airport.

However, a few wanted to share the trophy with a few more people, which meant a trip to one of the popular players' hangouts, Honey's Pizza.

Peplinski picks up the story.

"We'd already had too much Molson product and were busy enjoying the spoils of victory. But it was a long flight and, when we got home, we decided to go out for food," he explained.

"We were mustering up the energy to go out and wondering where we'd head when somebody said, 'Hey, let's go for a pizza.' "

The Cup was the guest of honour at a couple of team parties and was part of the Grandstand Show during the Calgary Stampede.


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