Notre Dame’s fotoball team looked years away from any significant hardware during their loss to Stanford on Sunday. But, in fact, one of most famous and revered trophies in the history of sports was only a few yards a way on the Irish sidelines.
The Stanley Cup made its first appearance ever inside Notre Dame Stadium Saturday thanks to Stan Bowman – a 1995 Notre Dame graduate. Bowman took over as General Manager for the Chicago Blackhawks last season and played an integral part in Chicago’s first hockey championship since 1961. Bowman, only 37 years old, was honored by Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick during a TV timeout Saturday for becoming the youngest NHL GM to win a Stanley Cup.
Bowman isn’t just a suit taking credit for the guys in the trenches, either. Chicago was stacked with talent during their playoff run thanks to some tricky maneuvers within the NHL salary cap. The Blackhawks lost of a lot of talent when the season ended, but Bowman knew it was coming. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune during the championship honeymoon, Bowman explained how they manipulated the NHL cap rules to help the team get the talent they needed to succeed in the 2009-1o season.
If the name Bowman sounds familiar it’s because Stan is the son of Scotty Bowman, legendary coach for the Detroit Red Wings and multiple Canadian olympic teams. Bowman said he was excited to be on campus and the see the beginning construction for Notre Dame’s new hockey rink. Irish hockey coach Jeff Jackson has been lobbying to get the ND facilities a much needed facelift since he arrived five years ago. Plans for the stadium have been set and are available for a sneak-peek online. The stadium has already been dubbed the “Cathedral of College Hockey”
“I think it’s gong to make a huge difference,” Bowman said in an interview with WNDU during Saturday’s game. “They’ve done a tremendous job with the facility they have, which frankly, really isn’t the same as some of the competitors that they’re gong against. You have to have the players, recruiting is very important in college hockey. I think the tradition at Notre Dame, coupled with the new facility, is going to be a great thing and I expect great things for many years from the Irish hockey team.”
Notre Dame has been playing in one of the worst rinks in the country, but Jackson, who previously coached for the New York Islanders and has three NCAA national championships under his belt, has still managed to pull in top-tier recruits. Notre Dame has been at the top of national polls for most of Jackson’s tenure and the state-of-the-art new facilities will only help the team get better in the future.