5 Minutes with Ken Daneyko
February 19, 2013 – In late December, I spent an afternoon with former New Jersey Devils defenseman Ken Daneyko, a hard-nosed hockey player, who played for the Devils for his entire 20-year career.
Off the ice, Daneyko is charismatic, funny and warm. I have no doubt that he was as tough as they come on the ice, but during the time we spent together at Roots Steak House and Florez Tobacconist cigar club in Summit, New Jersey, Daneyko was the ultimate nice guy.
I interviewed Daneyko for a “5 Minutes with…” feature, which will be published in the May Issue of Yankees Magazine, along with a piece on Daneyko’s long-time teammate, Martin Brodeur (see blog entry above).
After the New Jersey Devils brought the Stanley Cup to Yankee Stadium and to the Staten Island Yankees home ballpark in 2003, I quickly became interested in learning more about the many locations the trophy has been taken to (see photo below with Daneyko and I in the Staten Island Yankees home clubhouse in 2003). Unlike in the other major sports leagues, where a new championship trophy is given out each season, the NHL has given out the same Stanley Cup for decades. Additionally, each member of Stanley Cup winning teams is permitted to take the cup to a location of his choice for one day.
I asked Daneyko where he took the trophy after each of the championships he won with the Devils.
“I made Jersey my home from day one,” said Daneyko, who also confessed that he didn’t know where New Jersey was located when he was drafted by the Devils in 1982. “From the time I was 19, my life was here [in New Jersey]. I kept the cup here. I shared it with everyone I could in the state of Jersey.
“I brought the cup to a children’s hospital and then down the Jersey Shore,” Daneyko continued. “More than 7,000 people showed up to see it on the boardwalk. After we won it for the second time, I had a huge party at the restaurant I owned at that time, and a few thousand people came by, including Yogi Berra. That was very special. After the third championship, I had a party at my house, and 1,500 people came through my door. I didn’t know half of them, but I didn’t care.”
The rest of the interview will be published in the May Issue of Yankees Magazine.
–Alfred Santasiere III