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Hockey win brings new bench to Stanley Park

Hockey win brings new bench to Stanley Park bruins-logo.jpg
June 22, 2011 By Debbie Gardner Assistant Editor WESTFIELD — The Bruins Stanley Cup victory on June 15 brought bragging rights to more than just fans and the city of Boston. It also scored a victory for Westfield's Stanley Park. The Western Massachusetts-based park had a friendly Stanley Cup wager going with its counterpart — also called Stanley Park — in Vancouver, British Columbia, home of the Cunucks. At stake was the installation of a new park bench, complete with a plaque congratulating the winning park and hockey team. Stanley Park Managing Director Robert McKean said he learned about the other Stanley Park a sprawling 1,000 acres on the coast of Vancouver named after the Stanley Cup's 1882 donor, Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley — also know as Lord Stanley of Preston — though e-mails the park had received from visitors over the years. "They are, we are," McKean said, adding that when e-mails talked about the lovely ocean view at the park, or visiting the park's hotel or bird house, he knew the writers had the wrong park. A little investigation on his part turned up the Westfield park's Canadian counterpart. McKean said he hit on the idea of a friendly wager between the two parks when the Bruins and Cunucks were matched up in the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup playoffs. "I called out there and asked to speak to my counterpart and asked about a friendly wager," McKean said. "We both have [commemorative] bench programs, so I said 'let's do a bench challenge.'"

McKean said Vancouver's Stanley Park Deputy Director, Peter Kuran thought it would be a fun way to connect the two parks. Kuran said park personnel, including his boss, General Manger of Parks and Recreation Malcolm Bromley, got caught up in the challenge. The local media in Vancouver also picked up on the wager, briefly putting both parks in the spotlight. In the end though, Kuran said he had to concede that the Bruins and Westfield's Stanley Park earned their bragging rights. "It was a great series, and the Bruins outplayed the Cunucks," he said. Kuran said McKean let him know his Stanley Park plans to put the commemorative bench in its rose garden, near the memorial stone to the park's benefactor, Frank Stanley Beveridge. "We will be picking up the cost of the bench and an appropriate message to congratulate the Bruins on a job well done," Kuran said. He also said the two parks had so much fun with the hockey wager, they will be looking for opportunities to keep the connection between them going. Kuran said he would also like to see the Bruins bench in person someday. "I would very much love to see it and sit on the bench in person and share stories with Bob he sounds lie a good guy," Kuran said. "I'd love to share Stanley Park stories." Debbie Gardner can be reached by e-mail at Bookmark and Share