A Day With The Cup: Cameron Gaunce

Aug 8, 2014

On Monday, July 14th, Markham, Ontario native and Texas Stars defenseman Cameron Gaunce enjoyed his own day with the Calder Cup trophy in his hometown. We called “Gauncer” and got his take of the special day:

How did you get the Cup?

I met Mike [Hedden] in Oakville, Ontario, just off the highway. We met essentially midway between our houses. It was off the highway, near a construction area, not very populated, it was kind of a shady scene, but I can assure you there was no funny business.

What did you do with the Cup once it was in your possession?

First thing I did was I had to get home, because my parents were leaving that day to drive out east to visit family. So we spent some time at home with it and took some photos before they left. We also read through all the different names on the cup. Then they had to leave. Once they left, my fiancée and I stopped at a couple local rinks, just made some surprise pop-ins to some minor hockey groups like the Markham Waxer Minor Hockey Association. My brother and I both played there and my dad has continued to work with them. That night I had family and friends over.

What was it like for you to share it with the minor hockey group you grew up with?

It was one of those things, similar to the game itself. In the moment I was happy, but looking back it was even more special than I initially registered. It was the significance of playing all those years, where it really was just for fun. You dreamed about getting paid to play. Now you feel a great sense of vindication of what we accomplished. It was really cool looking back on it.

So what did you do that night?

We had a get together where we set up a spot to take photos with the Cup. It was great to just talk with everyone, let them see it, take photos and share it. No player has won a championship on their own. Lots of people played a part in the development of a player. I had my old billet parents there and my old minor hockey coach who is still a good friend. My sister, her son and her fiancée were there. My nephew is not quite two years old and he enjoyed taking a couple photos with the cup, but then quickly went back to playing with a helium balloon. So I guess the Cup lost out to a balloon that night, at least with my nephew.

Did you do anything unique with the Calder Cup?

My close friends and I have a golf tournament every summer. I won it last year. So I took a photo holding both trophies. Then I took another photo with the golf trophy resting inside the Calder Cup and sent it to my buddies to good-naturedly rub it in their faces. We took a couple pictures with my dog sitting in the cup and I ate a bit of Greek yogurt out of it. I thought it would be good, but it was terrible. I’m not sure if it was eating out of silver or what, but it didn’t work well. I should have gone with cereal. Of course, we disinfected and cleaned it first, after the dog photos.

If you had gone with cereal instead, which one would it have been?

No doubt in my mind, Reese’s Puffs. It’s one of the things I have to avoid now that I’m training for next season, but I could eat it dry by the handful. Lots of handfuls!

What was your favorite moment of your Calder Cup day?

Just sharing it with friends and family that night. A lot of them have been hockey fans since as long as they can remember. The fact they all knew the significance of this trophy made it that much better. Some remember watching players on some of the teams that had won it in the past. Everyone at our gathering was very interested and happy to be with this trophy. That makes you feel a lot more proud of winning the Calder Cup, when the people close to you know how significant it is.

What did you do with the Cup after your day ended?

I gave it off to Jamie Oleksiak. We met close to where he lives. He and his dad picked it up from me. Just before I left the house I made sure I lifted it up over my head one last time, then put it in its case and drove to the meeting.

Was spending a day with the Calder Cup a nice way to finish off a championship season?

Yes, it was awesome. It’s a good way to put an exclamation point on it. All year long, you’re trying to live in the moment, not look back or forward. When you have the cup for a day, it allows you to look back and enjoy the nostalgia. When I handed it off to Jamie, it really put a closure on the season and marked the start of the next season. I was really grateful to have a day with it.

What was your favorite moment of the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs?

Well the cliché answer is to say when Patrik scored in overtime in Game 5 to win it all. But my second choice, without sounding spiteful, I want to say beating Toronto. Because of the animosity that built up in the series and everyone back home [in the Greater Toronto area] was following the series so closely. The satisfaction of the handshake line, being able to win with class against that team was probably the second best moment.

How has winning the Cup helped with your summer training?

I think I’m going to benefit from all of the extra hockey that we played. Typically when you go into training camp, I don’t spend enough time with hockey on-ice work, with game situations and being in game shape. I think I’m going to be a lot sharper going in because of all the games were played in the playoffs. I feel like I’ll be able to get back to my preferred off-ice strength level quickly and it’ll be a bonus.

Is it worth having a much shorter summer?

Absolutely! The only downfall is that you don’t get as much time to spend with friends and family during the summer. In the grand scheme of things, when you know your career is only going to be 10-15 years, if you’re lucky, it’s not that big of a deal.

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