Five years after setting a North American hockey record with 28 consecutive wins, the Calder Cup champion Norfolk Admirals returned to Hampton Roads to celebrate the five-year anniversary of winning the American Hockey League championship.
The team actually got together in Virginia Beach on Friday and the party moved to Norfolk on Saturday with an event for the fans at the Waterside District. It was a huge turnout, with a line of fans stretching all the way to the Waterside parking garage.
Jon Cooper, now the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning, explains why the reunion took place.
“The last night we were together in 2012 we had a dinner at Bodega’s,” Cooper said. “It was just the team and the coaching staff and when the first guy was walking out he picked up the Cup, he gave a speech and he said five years from now let’s meet right here. And that’s how it started. As the night went on every time somebody walked out the door they picked up the Cup they said what the team meant to them and now 5 years later we’re here.”
Before the event at Waterside, the team stopped by Norfolk Scope to remember the arena that hosted what many consider to be the best minor league hockey team of all time. The team will not only be remembered for winning the Calder Cup, but the incredible record-setting 28-game winning streak.
“The streak itself, I mean 28 games, there’s no way we could do that again,” said former Admiral and current Tampa Bay Lightning player Tyler Johnson, it’s pretty unbelievable.”
“We were playing against incredible competition and we managed to win 28 games in a row,” said Mark Barberio who now plays for the Colorado Avalanche. “It’s unheard of and it hasn’t been done since and it might be hard to reach that point again. With the guys we did it with and the chemistry we had, it’s hard to beat.”
After the event at Waterside, the team planned to continue the party throughout the night in Norfolk.