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For a Minute, the Stanley Cup Goes Up in Thin Air

Tuesday, August 24, 2004; Page D02

The Stanley Cup spent Sunday night in luggage limbo.

The fabled trophy disappeared during an Air Canada flight from Vancouver to Fort St. John, B.C., over the weekend when Vancouver airline officials removed it from the plane because of weight restrictions.

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Walter Neubrand, keeper of the Cup, was delivering the trophy to Jake Goertzen, head scout for the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

As the two waited by the baggage claim, it didn't take long for them to realize something was wrong.

"We were waiting for it to come out," Goertzen said. "Everybody's bag was there, except the Cup."

Air Canada agents checked the plane but there was no sign of the Cup or its special travel container.

After a call to Vancouver, they learned the 35-pound Cup was sitting in the Vancouver airport's luggage area 750 miles away. It was too heavy to fly.

Air Canada spokeswoman Laura Cooke said the Cup was held in a secured facility overnight and flown to Fort St. John to be "placed in its rightful hands" early yesterday. Cooke said the airline is reviewing how the mistake occurred.

Goertzen described the situation as a nightmare.

"[Neubrand] told them specifically it was the Stanley Cup," Goertzen said. "He is just so distraught."

Fitness gym owner Brent Lock, who had planned to view the Cup on Sunday night, said he doesn't understand how Air Canada could have left it behind.

"It's not like it's a brown paper bag; it's the holy grail," he said. "It's probably the most important non-religious artifact in Canada."

-- From News Services


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