Phil Pritchard stumbled into the job of being the Stanley Cup Trophy’s Keeper over 30 years ago. Now, he travels with it as it crisscrosses the globe, hammers out its dents, and–his favorite part of the job–carries it down the red carpet after the Stanley Cup Final is over to present it to its next team.
During his time with the Capitals, Phil didn’t always fade unobtrusively into Stanley’s shadow. Instead, he joined them in the spotlight (and one of their music videos), adding a broad smile and appreciative attitude to their celebrations.
The Stanley Cup is now in Boston and on Wednesday night, Phil and his friend Stan will be walking down another red carpet to hand Stan over to the 2019 Stanley Cup Champions. Before that happens, let’s take a look at the best of Phil Pritchard’s time with the Caps and the Cup.
— Philip Pritchard (@keeperofthecup) June 12, 2019
After all the Game Five Final moments were finished after all the hands had been shaken, and after the Conn Smythe had been accepted [and very quickly set aside], it was time for Pritchard and another Keeper, Craig Campbell, to carry Lord Stanley down the red carpet.
Once the Cup was securely set on its throne, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman called Alex Ovechkin forward to receive the Cup as the Capitals’ captain.
“I’ve obviously seen it before,” said Pritchard in a piece by Adam Kilgore in the Washington Post, “but every year, it’s so special. Every year, you see all the emotions that he had going, from joy to happiness to tears — everything.
“Right before he grabbed the Cup, he turned to the guys and cheered,” Pritchard continued. “That’s Alex Ovechkin. He’s such an emotional player, and so deserving of a Stanley Cup championship.”
Later in the evening, after the party migrated to the club and the champagne was pouring freely, Pritchard said of Ovechkin’s conduct that “He was a captain. Exactly what you hope a captain is, he was. All class.”
RMNB’s own Ian Oland was lucky enough to interview another of Stanley’s Keepers, Mike Bolt, during the Cup’s visit to the Capitol and learned more about what stood out about the Capitals players, their fans, and their celebrations.
Pritchard’s time with the Capitals didn’t end when the players’ Days with the Cup finished and the season began. Instead, he was welcomed into their social media shenanigans. For example, the Capitals included him in their cheesy Valentine’s day cards.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) February 12, 2019
In their video advertising their nonexistent holiday album (that we wish wholeheartedly was real), titled “Wow That’s What I Call Music: Holiday for Real,” Phil not only had a cameo–he sang excerpts from three tracks.
Pritchard also became a fan favorite just by being such a nice, generous guy. Here are just a few of the photos and stories that fans shared on Twitter.
If you took a photo with Phil Pritchard during the Capitals Stanley Cup reign, could you shoot it over in the replies here? Thanks!
— RMNB (@russianmachine) June 11, 2019
The Altman family brought an inflatable Stanley Cup to the parade and Phil (who perhaps appreciated that it didn’t weigh the usual 35lbs) was happy to hold it up.
— WE’RE STILL NOT SUCK (@claire_altman16) June 11, 2019
After a “Tales of the Cup” presentation at Capital One Arena, he stayed to talk with fans.
— Boys & Girls & Babes 🏆🦅⛸️🏒🥅 (@danadaniello) June 11, 2019
Sydney (@sydcenturymodrn) also shared the story behind her experience with Phil and the Cup. “I brought a small piece of paper and a pencil to the photo-op with the cup to see if they would let me do a pencil rubbing of the players’ names.
“The security guard said no but Phil Pritchard thought it was an interesting idea and took my pencil and paper and tried it himself. It didn’t turn out and is now just a small piece of paper with a large smudge on it but it is very important to me.” That’s one heck of a story and a souvenir.
— Sydney (@sydcenturymodrn) June 11, 2019
Phil also made friends at Hershey Bears games, like Capitals PA announcer Wes Johnson.
— Wes Johnson (@WesJohnsonVoice) June 11, 2019
He was so nice to take pics with people in Hershey, always keeping an eye on the Stanley Cup. pic.twitter.com/vV59XIDxYp
— Mike Zupan (@slingload) June 11, 2019
— Mrs Capper (@MrsHandicapper) June 11, 2019
— ♕ Perri ♕ (@HEYwheresPERR1) June 11, 2019
And sometimes he made friends randomly, wandering the streets of DC like a kindly Cup-carrying cryptid.
Walked out of my office on F street in October and ran into Philip just walking down the street with the Cup. Couldn't have been a nicer, more gracious guy. pic.twitter.com/3oo5w6VE9E
— Jeff Goldfarb (@jmgfarb) June 11, 2019
Met him on the steps of the Portrait Gallery pic.twitter.com/HK749DfuJH
— Justin Steele 🏒 🏆 (@Yukstin) June 11, 2019
Phil isn’t the only Keeper! A few RMNB fans (sporting some pretty sweet threads) got pics with Mike Bolt.
How about with Phil’s brother and fellow Keeper of the Cup, Mike? pic.twitter.com/sAlp2hqGyP
— Mark Trude (@mwtrude) June 11, 2019
I got one with Mike though pic.twitter.com/oICGkSwAwz
— Batya Says BYEEE (@bitchwhydntukno) June 11, 2019
And, of course, there was the time that Pritchard let Ian hold the Stanley Cup on the day of the parade. <3
We’ll miss ya, Phil (and Mike and Howie Borrow and Craig Campbell). Until next time: keep those gloves white, the Cup mostly-intact, and don’t let Stanley forget that the invitation for a return trip to DC is always open.
— Adam McKenzie (@A_mac_25) June 11, 2019
— Shelby (@shelby_matyus) June 11, 2019
Here ya go. pic.twitter.com/T60Tv0EWN3
— Dani Caps fan (@VeggieTart) June 11, 2019
— sean (@seanimrie) June 11, 2019
My wife and I met him at Kettler the Monday after the Cup win prior to getting our pictures taken with the Cup. pic.twitter.com/66nBhWQGpa
— Richard B. Rogers (@1995hoo) June 11, 2019
— Sheena (@CAPLDY) June 11, 2019
Headline photo: @jmgfarb
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