NHL: Utah's Trevor Lewis plays big role in Kings' title run
So this is a hockey state, after all.
Utah already claimed the inventor of the Zamboni machine as a native son and now the latest Stanley Cup championship is partly a made-in-Utah production.
The story of the Los Angeles Kings' improbable run through the NHL playoffs is made even more unlikely by the impact of Salt Lake City-born Trevor Lewis, the first former Utah high school hockey player to skate in the NHL.
Lewis scored in Monday's Game 6, helping his team secure the championship with two goals in a 6-1 victory at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
"It's crazy, it's insane," said Salt Lake City's Kyle Gover, a longtime friend who attended the game and savored those goals. "Trevor had a fantastic game. He was working hard, and it's good to see him get rewarded."
Lewis registered the Kings' third goal on an extended power play late in the first period and made it 5-1 with an empty-net goal with 3:45 remaining in the game.
Ryan Flink and Tad Cannon, Lewis' former Brighton High School teammates, watched the telecast together and reminisced about how Lewis was their "little protege" as a freshman with the Bengals in 2002. "It's the culmination of everything," Flink said. "He's put a lot of work into this. That's what a lot of people don't realize."
Lewis' journey to the Stanley Cup is a product of parents who each made sacrifices during his youth hockey career, hoping he someday might earn a college scholarship. As it turned out, he was drafted by the Kings at age 19 in 2006, permanently made the team last season and helped them win the Cup as a No. 8 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. The title is the Kings' first in the franchise's 45-year history.
Lewis becomes only the eighth former Utah high school athlete to win a major championship in football, basketball, baseball or hockey. And his postseason contribution is likely topped only by Jim McMahon, who passed for 256 yards and ran for two touchdowns for the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XX.
Lewis finished the postseason with three goals and six assists in 20 games, after posting three goals and four assists in 72 games of the regular season.
The Kings' third line of Lewis, Jarret Stoll and Dwight King was remarkably productive in the playoffs, and Lewis played a critical role for a penalty-killing unit that allowed only one goal in six games against New Jersey. In the series, Lewis skated 8 minutes, 12 seconds while the Kings were short-handed, and the Devils did not score during that time.
So the Stanley Cup is coming to Utah sometime this summer. That's the privilege afforded each member of the winning team, in addition to having his name permanently inscribed on the iconic trophy. Richie Sovereen, who used to play with young Trevor and his father, Randy Lewis, in late-night games at the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center, marveled about that development. "Little Lewey's going to have his name on the Cup," Sovereen said.
Utahns in professional championships
Former Utah high school athletes who have won the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, the World Series or the Stanley Cup finals:
Player School Team Season
Golden Richards Granite Dallas Cowboys 1977
Mat Mendenhall East Washington Redskins 1982
Jim McMahon Roy Chicago Bears 1985
Jim McMahon Roy Green Bay Packers 1996
Arnie Ferrin Ogden Minneapolis Lakers 1950
Travis Knight Alta Los Angeles Lakers 2000
Fred Sanford West New York Yankees 1949
Fred Sanford West New York Yankees 1950
Scott Eyre Cyprus Philadelphia Phillies 2008
Trevor Lewis Brighton Los Angeles Kings 2012