The instance was one of the few quiet moments Cogliano would spend on that jam-packed Friday of Aug. 26 which was his designated day with the Cup and spent sharing it with his hometown community.
For the 35-year-old veteran, the day had been long awaited. Cogliano’s personal journey to hoisting the Stanley Cup featured no shortage of sacrifices, but his commitment to trusting the process and unwavering work ethic have remained a constant throughout his impressive NHL career – and even leading up until the singular day in which he would receive the Cup for himself.
“Honestly, he was skating yesterday,” Cogliano’s older brother Matthew said. “I was like, ‘You’re skating? But you’re getting the Cup tomorrow!” He’s like ‘I have to go skate.’ That’s just who he is. That’s why he’s been so successful. “
Cogliano first entered the league in 2007 after being drafted by the Edmonton Oilers 25th overall in the 2005 NHL Draft. The two-way forward would remain with the Oilers until 2011, when he was dealt that July to the Anaheim Ducks as Edmonton underwent a rebuild.
With the Ducks, Cogliano played the bulk of his career and eight consecutive seasons from 2011-19. He gained invaluable postseason experience as Anaheim made deep Stanley Cup runs including two Western Conference Finals runs in 2015 and 2017.
In January of 2019, Cogliano was traded to the Dallas Stars where he would go on to play with the organization until 2021. With the Stars, Cogliano furthered his ironman streak to, at one point fourth on the NHL’s most consecutive games list, but his streak ended on Jan. 14, 2018 at 830 games after receiving a two-game suspension. His 830-consecutive games still ranks seventh best in NHL history and is a testament to his detailed preparation and drive.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic – which featured a pause issued on March 12, 2020 and a subsequent resumption beginning in the postseason and formatted in “bubble setups” – Cogliano and the Stars went the distance to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final, but suffered heartbreak as they lost in six games to the eventual champions in the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Cogliano returned to California, this time with the San Jose Sharks, at the start of the 2021-22 season where he would play up until the Trade Deadline, which sent him to the poised-to-be-champions in the Avalanche in April. Cogliano became a seamless fit in Colorado’s deep lineup and encompassed a crucial checking role and offered versatility to play at center or on the wing for the squad down the stretch. He even underwent surgery on a broken finger, which he sustained against his former club of Edmonton in the Western Conference Final, but was only sidelined for four games of the Stanley Cup Final against the two-time defending champions in Tampa Bay. And after a thrilling six-game series, the Avalanche rose victorious. Cogliano’s name will be engraved forever along with the Colorado Avalanche 2021-22 Stanley Cup Championship squad.
“It’s been a long time, it’s something that every player works towards,” Matthew said. “I’m happy for him. He deserves it. At the end of his career, it’s been about 15 or 16 years. I was hoping he’d get one. I’m happy for him because he deserves it – all players do – but especially him with the amount of work that he puts in. It was a great accomplishment for him.”
After hoisting Lord Stanley and being bonded for a lifetime with his fairly new teammates – after only joining Colorado that April prior to their June championship – Cogliano spent his day with the Cup back in his hometown of Woodbridge, Ontario and the surrounding area of Vaughn, both of which feature a largely Italian demographic. The weekend prior on Aug. 20, he had also made a trip up to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he and Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog celebrated Nathan MacKinnon‘s respective day with the Stanley Cup.
But for Cogliano, when it became his designated day, he made it a point to share it widely with the community in which his hockey career began.
“The planning wasn’t easy, but it was a lot of fun,” Cogliano said. “You have your coffee and really enjoy a second [with it]. Then, it was an action-packed, but those are the memories you’ll always have. Just being around [my teammates], and being around my kids and having them take pictures with it, those are the things that they’re going to remember forever. Ultimately, giving people the opportunity to see it. I think people in my community will remember this day for the rest of their lives.”
From 10 am to 2 pm, Cogliano took the Cup to his former youth hockey rink at Al Palladini Community Centre. There and throughout the entire four-hour duration, a consistent stream of invitees he and his family had selected of close friends, extended family and current members of the Vaughn Kings, Vaughn Panthers and Vaughn Rangers minor hockey teams funneled through to take a glimpse of the Stanley Cup and pose for photos with Cogliano.
At 2 pm, Cogliano, his brother Matthew, his Mom Teresa and his father Carmen all departed on a Vaughn firetruck which escorted the Cogliano family and the Cup to their next destination. Carmen explained that the firetruck was inspired by the Avalanche’s parade in which the players and their families rode atop local fire trucks through downtown Denver. Cogliano’s young daughters Lottie and Olive had loved the experience, so they surprised them with another opportunity to see the crimson vehicle up close.
The next stop for Cogliano was one that he picked out himself and was passionate about taking the Cup to at the Meta Center, for the developmentally didsabled. There, Cogliano and the Cup – was displayed on a table with a hockey rink backdrop, took photos.
After that visit the Cogliano’s returned to the family home, where Olive came running out to greet her dad and the firetruck upon their dazzling arrival. There was a brief window of downtime in which Cogliano was able to take in a standstill moment and enjoy watching his two daughters and wife Allie playing in the backyard pool with the Cup stationed right on the edge.
But even that moment was short-lived, as a line of neighbors formed in the front yard awaiting the chance to see the Cup and Cogliano.
“There’s so many people that we grew up with,” Matthew said. “There’s all of my friends, his friends, my parents’ friends, people that we know and you just want to give them an experience too. It’s about him, but it’s also about everyone around here in Woodbridge, where we’re from. We’re just happy that we could share it with some people in the community.”
Following an action-packed day where Cogliano ultimately provided members of his hometown community with an experience of a lifetime, he enjoyed a quieter, more casual evening with close friends, family and even teammates MacKinnon and Landeskog as they had a party.
The day was a fitting celebration for Cogliano as he ensured that others had the opportunity to get an experience with the iconic trophy and a rewarding day for him to take in his incredible accomplishment, even despite all the sacrifices he and his family have made in his own journey as a player.
And fortunately after signing a one-year extension with Colorado during the brief offseason, Cogliano will remain a part of the Avalanche’s quest to defend their Stanley Cup title come this upcoming season.
“With the day, you start to feel how important the trophy is,” Cogliano said. “The biggest thing is that you really understand you’re going to have fond memories and cherish a lot of relationships with players on the team. When you win, they’re going to be there forever. That’s the biggest thing I’m taking out of this now is how close we’ve become as a team and man-to-man. Even just from today, I have a good understanding of how important and how big winning the Stanley Cup really is. of how people feel about it and feel so special towards it. For me to do it and bring it back to my home town is pretty cool.”