DENVER — It's tradition for every member of a Stanley Cup-winning team to spend a day with the revered trophy.
But the Cup made an unscheduled stop Monday, the day after the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning to finish the series in six games.
Dmitri Rudenko and his husband, Kit Karbler, were at their home in Denver's Hilltop neighborhood when Rudenko noticed someone pulling into their driveway that evening.
"I was the first one who saw the car being parked in our driveway. I saw the car backing up," Rudenko said.
"The person opens the trunk and I saw the case and I recognized it, because I watched the final [Stanley Cup] games," he said. "Jokingly said, 'Is that the Stanley Cup?' And he says, 'Yes!'"
The keepers of the Stanley Cup told the couple were on their way to team captain Gabe Landeskog's house.
Turns out Landeskog lives in the same neighborhood as Rudenko and Karbler, and his address is very similar. A large tree obscures the couple's address, compounding the confusion.
"They’re only one digit off," Karbler said. "Because of that one digit, it was fortuitous for us!"
The keepers of the Cup were super friendly, the couple said, and they let Rudenko and Karbler spend a few minutes with it. Karbler said he even got the chance to pick it up. He said he felt like he was touching a piece of history.
"They were gentlemen, completely. They were eager to share the experience of the Cup," Karbler said. "I had no idea that I would find it so fascinating, myself."
Rudenko said having the Cup in their driveway was like finding a treasure. He said he felt like he had won something, even if he's not a member of the team.
Karbler said he didn't want to hold up the Cup's handlers any longer, so he didn't take the time to pose for a selfie.
"I was just so happy to have the Stanley Cup in our driveway," he said.
They did manage to snap a quick photo of the trophy in its case. Karbler said the Cup keepers were only at their home for a few minutes before continuing to their real destination.
"We made sure it arrived safe," Rudenko laughed.
"And we showed them where they were supposed to go," Karbler added.
Now, Rudenko and Karbler can tell their friends they were a small part of the Cup's journey through Denver.
"It made our day, and it's something that we'll be able to talk about and laugh about for a long time," Karbler said.
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