Created: 06/25/2013 7:03 PM KSTP.com By: Jeff Brioschi & Chris Long
Eden Prairie native Nick Leddy hoists the Stanley Cup after his Chicago Blackhawks beat the Boston Bruins 3-2 in Game Six, capping one of the most dramatic Cup-clinching games in NHL history.
Photo: NBC Sports
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Two late goals in 17 seconds gave the Chicago Blackhawks the Stanley Cup title... and near heart-attacks for the Leddy family.
Watching at a friend's house, Nick's younger brother Tyler was already mentally preparing to head to Chicago for Game 7.
"I thought they were going to lose," he admits. "But they pulled the goalie, scored then scored again and I was like, 'What's going on? This is crazy!'. My hands were shaking because Nick's not just my brother, he's my best friend. It's crazy. I was in complete shock for two hours."
Back at home, Nick's father Mike endured similarly glorious agony.
"The last two minutes were crazy, I didn't know they were going to pull it off," Mike also acknowledged. "I have tickets for game 7 in Chicago so I was thinking in my mind what we're gonna do in terms of plane, hotel, all that stuff.
But those seventeen seconds that now live in Stanley Cup lore changed everything - making their brother and son an NHL champion.
"To see the turnaround of events was absolutely amazing," Mike says.
Both Tyler and Mike say their phones exploded the moment the game ended.
"I got over 100 texts," Mike says. "It was just crazy, they were pinging in one after another."
Then... Mike's phone rang.
"I was watching the festivities on the ice, and I got a phone call. Nick was on the ice in the middle of the celebration," Mike says. "He just said, 'Hi Dad', like it was matter of fact. I just told him how excited and proud I was of him. What an amazing event!"
Leddy becomes the 29th Minnesotan to have his name etched on the Stanley Cup. He's only the fourth player to pull the double of a State High School Championship and a Stanley Cup title (Ben Clymer, David Maley, Bill Nyrop), and Leddy is the first to ever achieve the combo of being named Mr. Hockey, winning State and an NHL title.
"I'm a big hockey fan," Mike says. "To know history of the Cup, it's amazing to see him lift the Cup and hold it high over his head. Just a very very proud moment."
Tyler and Mike both credited Nick for the work he did to grow from an extremely undersized high school freshman - who didn't even play hockey for his high school at first - into the captain of Eden Prairie's State title team, a Minnesota Gopher, a Chicago Blackhawk... and now... Stanley Cup champion.
"I don't think anybody can predict something like this is gonna happen at that point," Mike says while listing Nick's accomplishments. "From Mr. Hockey to playing pro hockey or collegiate hockey... he was 5-foot-3, 135 pounds in ninth grade, so he was a smaller guy by all means. But he was phenomenal skater and I always told him to work on skills, telling him height will come eventually."
"When we were kids, we played all the time on the pond out here," Tyler says, gesturing to the small pond behind the Leddy home in Eden Prairie that's simply a perfect size for a backyard rink. "My dad would get us going, the neighbors would put boards up and we'd always be playing."
But could Tyler ever dream then what he saw happen on the ice in Game Six?
"I, uh... no... not at all. It's crazy," he said - flashing a wide grin.
If there is any regret Leddy wasn't able to play in the NHL for the hometown Wild - who initially drafted him in college but traded him to Chicago - it's long gone.
"The Wild (trade) was a surprise, but obviously it worked out well for Nick," Mike says. "There's no bad blood or animosity towards the Wild. They did what they felt they needed to do at the time."
While Mike was at home and Tyler was with friends in Eden Prairie watching Leddy and his team celebrate on the ice in Boston after game six in Boston, they might be a bit closer for the next celebration.
"Oh, I'm gonna go for the parade," Tyler insists. "I get to go on the float with him, so I'm pretty excited. He texted me today and said 'I better see you in Chicago in a couple of days'."