HANCOCK - Hancock Central High School students have an awesome assembly waiting for them Tuesday morning.
Thursday, HCHS officials said a special visitor named Stanley is coming to town: The Stanley Cup, that is.
However, the trophy, awarded to the Chicago Blackhawks last June for winning the National Hockey League championship, will not be the most honored guest. That goes to Brad Aldrich, the Blackhawks' video coach, who spent most of his childhood in Hancock and will be sharing lessons he's learned on the journey.
"The big thing for us is I've known Brad since he was a little kid and he's always had a passion for hockey. Michigan Tech hockey was something he absolutely loved. He was a number one fan," HCHS principal John Sanregret said.
Tradition dictates that each member of the winning organization is allowed one day to spend with the 108-year-old trophy, one of the most cherished in professional sports.
Sanregret, whose secretary, Sheryl Aldrich, is Aldrich's aunt, said the school knew the Cup coming could happen but that he's more happy to show the students a great example of what they can achieve if they apply themselves like Aldrich did.
"The reason I wanted him to come is we need to hear him speak about the path that he's taken to be part of something so special," he said.
The event is just for HCHS students.
Aldrich graduated from Northern Michigan University in 2005 and has also worked with the Michigan Tech athletic department and as coordinator of hockey operations/video coordinator at the University of Notre Dame.
Aldrich moved out of the Copper Country when his father, Mike, left his position as the equipment manager for Michigan Tech's hockey program for the minor league Kansas City Blades. The family went from there to California, where Mike is the equipment manager for the San Jose Sharks, which the Blackhawks defeated in the Western Conference Finals.
"I've watched Brad kind of grow up around the game of hockey, but also, Brad is very articulate and intelligent kid. We just knew he was going to be successful at whatever he wanted to do," Sanregret said.
Brandon Veale can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.