TORONTO – What began as the germ of an idea, two brothers pursuing a jointly held dream of winning the Stanley Cup together, took a firmer grip overseas in an unlikely spot, the Czech Republic.
It was 2004. Scott and Rob Niedermayer were far away from their roots in British Columbia, helping lead Canada to a gold medal at the world championships. This represented a rare, treasured opportunity for the brothers to play together.
They relished those games in Prague and so the Niedermayers started discussing an extended partnership.
“We knew our careers were coming to where we didn’t have a lot of time to play, so we knew that we wanted to experience it before it ended,” Rob Niedermayer said in a telephone interview. “Everything just sort of worked out that way.”
Said Scott Niedermayer, speaking to reporters last week: “We wanted to be in a place where we thought we would have a chance to win.”
The emotional apex for the Niedermayer brothers came in Anaheim three years after Prague. Scott joined Rob in Southern California and their vision became reality when the Ducks beat the Ottawa Senators, punctuated by Scott handing the Cup to his younger brother on that transcendent night in Anaheim in 2007.
If that was the high point for the brothers, then Monday served as an exclamation point for Scott, a the smooth-skating defenseman, who was inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
He was joined by defenseman Chris Chelios, power forward Brendan Shanahan, pioneer Geraldine Heaney in the women’s player category and the late Fred Shero as builder. Shero was represented by his son, Ray, the general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins.