Important dates have been the norm for NHL left wing Blake Coleman thus far in 2020.
On Feb. 27, he and wife Jordan became parents for the first time, just 11 days after the Plano native was traded from the New Jersey Devils to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Then, on Sept. 28, Coleman scored the final goal for the Lightning as they clinched the 2020 Stanley Cup with a 2-0 victory against the Dallas Stars in Game 6 of the 2020 Stanley Cup Finals, Tampa Bay’s second Stanley Cup championship.
And on Monday, Nov. 2, his hometown honored him with Blake Coleman Stanley Cup Standout Day, a celebration culminating with a ceremony at the Courtyard Theater in downtown Plano.
“Thank you to the City of Plano for this special ceremony. This day is very special for us and it’s a day I won’t forget,” Coleman, 28, said. Among those in attendance were Coleman’s parents, Rusty and Sandy; Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere; and U.S. Congressman Van Taylor.
Les Jackson, who spent 33 years working in the Stars’ front office and who knew Coleman well as a young player spoke first. “It’s a real honor for me to be here with Blake,” Jackson said. “Blake embodies everything you would want in a player and a person. All the foundational things you need as a player – Blake, over the years, he’s always shown that.”
Former Stars defenseman Craig Ludwig, who later coached Coleman, then spoke. Ludwig won two Stanley Cups as a player, in 1986 with Montreal and in 1999 with Dallas. He was happy to welcome Coleman, the first native Texan to win the Cup, to the fraternity.
“Since 1893, there have been 3,387 names on that Cup. Half of those are general managers and managers, the other half are players,” Ludwig said. “Welcome to the club. It’s a special thing in our sport. We’re a rare breed.”
Congressman Taylor, whose district includes Collin County and Plano, then presented Coleman with a flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. earlier this year. “Blake, you epitomize our city motto, City of Excellence. We have great people [here],” Taylor said.
Mayor LaRosiliere was then joined by members of the Plano city council and read an official proclamation designating Nov. 2, 2020 as Blake Coleman Stanley Cup Standout Day. LaRosiliere then presented Coleman’s parents with ceremonial pucks bearing the city logo to commemorate the day. “He’s known to be a fierce competitor, a goal scorer, an elite penalty killer, and he brings a physical presence to the game. Blake, you make us Plano proud,” LaRosiliere said.
The mayor also made a promise to Coleman should he win another Cup in the future, even though LaRosiliere will no longer be mayor due to term limits. “Next year, when you win again, we’re going to do this right,” LaRosiliere said. “We’ll do it the Plano way. We’ll close down the streets. We’ll do a big parade for you.”
Coleman then took the microphone to thank the many people who played instrumental roles in helping him reach hockey’s pinnacle. And the first person he mentioned was the person who introduced him to the game. “I fell in love with hockey thanks to my grandmother, Marie, who can’t be here today,” Coleman said. “She knows that she is and was my inspiration.”
He also expressed his continuing gratitude to his parents for their many sacrifices which helped him achieve so much in the game he loves. “She always pushed me to be the best version of myself,” Coleman said, refering to his mother. “My dad, he’s been my biggest fan. He went from basically zero hockey knowledge to being able to write the book on the game.”
Coleman then thanked his siblings, his wife’s family, teammates and coaches. However, he saved his final thanks for his wife, Jordan, who not only gave birth earlier this year, but also spearheaded the move to the Sunshine State.
“She’s obviously the rock of our house. She’s been amazing,” Coleman said. “She was unwavering in her support. Her support and strength allowed me to play my best. I was reminded that I was playing for more than myself, but my whole family. They say that behind a good man is a woman. It couldn’t be more true.”
In honor of his achievement, a Lightning jersey signed by Coleman will be displayed at Plano Municipal Center. Another jersey he wore during the Finals is going to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto as part of its display on the 2020 Stanley Cup.