One of the biggest prizes in sports is coming to town this weekend as Big Rapids native Brian Garlock, a former Ferris State University ice arena employee, will bring the Stanley Cup to the city to celebrate his second consecutive National Hockey League (NHL) Championship.
Garlock, who remains close with Bulldog Hockey and the FSU coaching staff, helped the Tampa Bay Lightning win the cup for the second-straight year this past summer and currently serves as the franchise's video coach, currently midst his ninth season on the staff. He was originally slated to bring the cup to Big Rapids last summer before the event was postponed.
The public is invited to the Ewigleben Sports Complex on Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (ET) for a special public viewing and photo opportunity. All donations for photos with the Stanley Cup will go to support local Big Rapids Hockey and the Little Kevin Courtney Fund.
Following the public viewing and photo session, a special presentation and a ceremonial puck drop featuring Garlock will take place at approximately 1:45 p.m. (ET) prior to the start of the Big Rapids Cardinals' home hockey game. The day concludes with Ferris State Hockey hosting Michigan Tech for Senior Night on Saturday at 6:07 p.m. (ET) inside the Ewigleben Ice Arena.
The event is being hosted by the Big Rapids Cardinals and Ferris State University at the Ewigleben Sports Complex.
A Big Rapids native who began his career at FSU's Ewigleben Ice Arena before continuing his path in professional hockey, Garlock has followed Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper nearly every step of the way. The 2003 Big Rapids High School graduate attended Ferris State and met Cooper when he was the head coach for the Texarkana Bandits of the North American Hockey League and held his Bandits' camp in Big Rapids.
Since that time, Garlock has followed Cooper from St. Louis, where the Texarkana franchise relocated, to the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League (USHL) along with stops in the AHL with the Syracuse Crunch and the Norfolk Admirals. He's been with Tampa Bay since Cooper was hired prior to the 2013-14 campaign. Formerly, he was a zamboni driver for the Ewigleben Ice Arena and worked hockey camps after playing prep hockey for Big Rapids High School.
Along with Garlock, former Bulldog assistant coach Derek Lalonde, who now serves as Tampa Bay's assistant coach under Cooper, also helped lead the Lightning to the Stanley Cup Championship for the second-straight campaign in 2021. Both Lalonde and Garlock also played key roles the previous year when Tampa Bay first hoisted the Stanley Cup Trophy.
In last year's Stanley Cup finals, Tampa Bay defeated the Montreal Canadiens by a 4-1 series' count. Tampa Bay reached the Stanley Cup finals by beating the New York Islanders in seven games to capture the Price of Wales Trophy and became only the second team in the NHL's salary-cap era to win back-to-back Stanley Cups. The series' win over the Islanders in the Eastern Conference finals came against former Bulldog Hockey standout and New York assistant coach John Gruden.
Over the past three campaigns, Lalonde and Garlock helped lead Tampa Bay to the the most wins in the NHL. Lalonde, a New York native, was behind the Bulldog bench from 2003-2006 under FSU head coach Bob Daniels before moving on to work for the Denver University Pioneers, where he helped lead them to the NCAA Tournament four times. Lalonde also served as head coach for the ECHL's Toledo Walleye and with the Iowa Wild in the American Hockey League (AHL) before joining Cooper's staff.
In 2020, the duo become the first with ties to Ferris State Hockey to claim the Stanley Cup Championship since former standout Chris Kunitz claimed four during his memorable and storied NHL career. Kunitz won Stanley Cups with Anaheim in 2007 along with Pittsburgh in 2009, 2016 and 2017). He played with Tampa Bay under Cooper in 2017-18 before concluding his career with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2018-19.