When Jay Beagle of the Washington Capitals stepped forward last night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, took hold of the Stanley Cup and triumphantly hoisted sports' most cherished trophy above his head, it marked the pinnacle of on-ice accomplishments for a player who truly epitomizes hockey's never-give-up attitude. Beagle, an undrafted free agent after playing two seasons (2005-07) at Alaska Anchorage, became the first player ever to win the ECHL's Kelly Cup, the AHL's Calder Cup and the NHL's Stanley Cup.
Beagle captured a title during his first professional season, joining the ECHL's Idaho Steelheads after the 2006-07 WCHA season and helping the club to the Kelly Cup championship. After signing a deal with the Capitals' AHL affiliate prior to the 2007-08 campaign, he won back-to-back Calder Cups with Hershey Bears in 2009 and 2010.
Now, after seven full NHL seasons and 556 games in a Washington uniform, Beagle – who made his Capitals' debut in February 2009 – can add another title to his resume: Stanley Cup Champion. He tallied eight points (2g-6a) and a plus-7 rating, while playing in 23 of Washington's 24 playoff games – a run which culminated in the Capitals defeating the Vegas Golden Knights, four games to one, in the 2018 Stanley Cup Final.
The architect of Washington's Stanley Cup Champions is General Manager Brian MacLellan, a first-team All-American who starred at Bowling Green from 1978-82 and helped the Falcons win the 1981-82 MacNaughton Cup as CCHA champions. Another former Falcon, Todd Reirden (who was at BGSU from 1990-94), was behind the Caps' bench as associate coach, guiding the club's defensemen and power play. Joining Reirden on the bench was Lake Superior State alumnus and Caps' goaltending coach Scott Murray.
Finally, former Michigan Tech goaltender Pheonix Copley, who manned the nets in Houghton from 2012-14, was in uniform for the Capitals throughout the postseason and had a turn skating with Lord Stanley's Cup.