Chambers: Former DU coach becomes second “Newsy” Lalonde to hoist Stanley Cup

Former University of Denver assistant coach Derek “Newsy” Lalonde, now a Stanley Cup champion at the Tampa Bay Lightning, got his nickname from 1950s Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Édward Lalonde (no relation). Edward became “Newsy” Lalonde at the turn of the 20th century while working in a newsprint factory in Cornwall, Ontario.

The late Newsy (1897-1970) won the Stanley Cup as a star center with the Montreal Canadians in 1916. He nearly won a second cup in 1919 before the Spanish flu outbreak canceled the Stanley Cup final after five games when the NHL Canadians were 2nd. -2-1 against Pacific Coast Hockey Association champion Seattle Metropolitans.

Newsy Lalonde, the namesake, won his second Stanley Cup on September 28 in the Edmonton “bubble” during COVID-19 – the worst global pandemic since the Spanish flu, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Derek Lalonde, who runs the forward for Lightning head coach Jon Cooper, has become a popular hockey figure – especially in Denver. He checked his cell phone in the early hours of September 29 when he returned to Tampa, where he found more than 900 text messages from friends and family. That included a few people from Denver who had made plans to travel to Tampa and join the celebration.

“A lot of people have reached out – a lot of people from Denver,” Lalonde said. “Jay Erickson, one of my best friends (from Denver), comes out and joins me in the Stanley Cup parade. It was so unreal and I am just grateful to be able to coach in this competition. The best job in the world was being an assistant at Denver and now I work in the National Hockey League. I squeeze myself. Hopefully this has only just begun in my career. “

Newsy is important.

Lalonde, 48, was a 1.25-foot-9 goalkeeper from Brasher Falls, NY, where he has preliminary plans to bring the cup for a day on December 23. He was hired in 2006 by then-DU coach George Gwozdecky. a five-year tenure, before becoming head coach for three teams, the last two with the American Hockey League’s Iowa Wild, for the next seven years.

Cooper hired Lalonde at the start of the 2018/19 season, and the Lightning won the President’s Trophy with 62 wins – 12 more than any other team. Then the roof collapsed. Against the No. 8 seeded Columbus Blue Jackets, Tampa Bay became the first President’s Trophy winner to be swept in the first round of the playoffs.

Lalonde said the Lightning felt the weight of the hockey world last season, and that same weight will be felt by the Avalanche and a few other select teams next season. Many predicted the Avs and Bolts would go head to head in the Stanley Cup final, but Colorado lost a Game 7 semi-final series through injuries for the second straight year.

“As I see this off-season, I feel it for certain teams,” Lalonde said of the Stanley Cup window. “I look at a team like the Avalanche and a team like Vegas, everyone has pinned them down like, ‘They’re going to win.’ We’ve been that team for a few years. I think it’s unfair but it’s a reality. It’s one thing to be a good team, it’s another in this day and age with social media to be expected to win the Stanley Cup. to win. “

Lalonde’s advice for the Avs is what the Lightning used for itself.

“We have to stop protecting something we never won,” he said of the Tampa motto. “We fight against this pressure, we fight against ourselves, we try to protect something that we never won. Just go play, attack it.

‘It’s really busy. I appreciate the fact that our group handled it, and handled it right, and got over that bump and did it. It is difficult. If you follow the Avs you will find that it is a different pressure. It will be difficult. “

Goosebumps can help. Lalonde felt them in a team meeting for the Stanley Cup final against the Dallas Stars. The Lightning rolled out a video of superstar Wayne Gretzky and other members of the Edmonton Oilers from 1982-83, who were swept by the New York Islanders in the ’83 finale.

As he walked to the bus outside the Nassau Coliseum, Gretzky looked into the islanders’ locker room, not expecting what he saw for a team that had just won the cup.

Gretzky peeked into the room and said, ‘The islanders were physically exhausted. They had ice packs. They were injured and mentally exhausted, ”said Lalonde. ‘And then he said,’ We didn’t feel like that. ‘

That’s when it gets home, and given where the Avs are, it’s worth Googling. It turned me on. I got goosebumps watching it let alone our boys going to the Stanley Cup final. “

Edmonton won the Stanley Cup in 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990.

It seems that anyone who coached alongside Lalonde is sure to learn from their experience.

Newsy is important.