http://host.madison.com/content/tncms/assets/editorial/4/7b/349/47b34990-af1e-11de-841b-001cc4c002e0.image.jpg" alt="" width="108" height="103" align="left" />Gary Suter was sitting in his North Woods home, surfing channels, when he suddenly found himself reliving a dream.
When: May 25, 1989.
Where: The old Forum in Montreal.
What: Game Six of the NHL finals between the Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens.
Suter, a standout defenseman for the Flames after a career at the University of Wisconsin, got his name on the Stanley Cup that night courtesy of a 4-2 victory. In the process, he became the first of three Madisonians to play for a Cup winner.
A broken jaw suffered five games into the playoffs kept Suter from skating in the climactic series, but memories came flooding back as he watched the replay on the NHL Network.
"When you see that, everything comes back to you," he said from his home in Minocqua. "You remember the different plays in the game. You knew when a goal was coming up. You knew the final score.
"Twenty years removed, everyone's on with their own lives, but when you can have a flashback like that, you can see how it was captured."
The rewind is noteworthy because Suter just got some more company. The exclusive club of Madison products to skate for a Stanley Cup champion, one that doubled in 1995 when it added Kevin Dean, welcomed Adam Burish to the fold.
Dean, a defenseman who played collegiately at New Hampshire, won when New Jersey swept a best-of-seven series from Detroit.
Burish, a center/right winger whose UW career included an NCAA title in 2006, prevailed earlier this week when Chicago knocked off Philadelphia in six games.
Suter and Dean have a unique perspective on what Burish has accomplished. Not only do they have championship rings and their names engraved on Lord Stanley's cup, their careers included stops in Chicago, so they have a sense of appreciation for what just happened there.
Prior to knocking off the Flyers 4-3 in overtime Wednesday, the Blackhawks last won the Stanley Cup in 1961. During the 49-year drought, the hometown Bears, Bulls and White Sox reigned as world champions. Only the Cubs, whose last World Series title was in 1908, have had a longer stretch of misery.
"It's a little extra special in a place like Chicago just because everything that franchise has gone through," said Dean, who played for the Blackhawks from 1999 to 2001 and has "nothing but good memories" despite not making the playoffs either seasons he was there.
"For the millions of reasons any hockey player loves to win that, but then you've got the city's expectations that you've fulfilled."
Suter, who won the Calder Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year in 1986, played in Chicago from 1993 to '98 and experienced the playoffs four times. He came to embrace the way its people got behind its pro teams.
"I don't know if it's a hockey town, but it's a sports town, a great sports town," Suter said. "They support all of them."
Dean, 41, has been an assistant coach with the Devils' American Hockey League affiliate for the last four seasons. Suter, 45, helped his brother, Bob, coach the Madison Capitols AAA under-18 team the last three years before relocating to northern Wisconsin. He said that next year, he'll help coach Lakeland High School, where his youngest son will be a junior.
There's one aspect of winning the Cup that Suter and Dean didn't experience: Having a day to share the trophy with family and friends.
The tradition of allowing every player from the winning team to have the Cup for a day began in 1995, so Suter never had the opportunity. Dean, meanwhile, had the chance, but regrettably declined.
"I was kind of low man on the totem pole, so when they called me I was up in Minneapolis training for the upcoming season; it was the middle of August," Dean recalled. "They're like, ‘Hey, it's your turn with the Cup. What do you want to do with it?' "
Dean said he had less than 24 hours to put together a suitable celebration and didn't think he could pull it off.
"I just kind of declined it," he said. "In hindsight I wish I would never have done that. Even if I would have taken it home and had some pictures taken with it, it would have been good. Take it golfing, something."
Another Madisonian, Dan Schachte, did have the Cup for a day. An NHL linesman since 1982, he earned the honor because he was chosen to work the Stanley Cup finals in 2002.
Suter and Dean say they're happy for Burish now that he's joined their club. Dean said Burish made a point of shaking hands after their team met in an AHL playoff series in 2007.
"He's a good kid, I know that," Dean said.
When Burish has the Cup for a day, perhaps he'll seek out the engraved names of Suter and Dean.
"To have the ring and the championship on your resume, it will be there forever," Suter said. "It was a milestone in my life, one of the highest honors that anybody can receive that played professional hockey. It's the ultimate goal. It's pretty special."