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Sturm Talks ‘Emotional’ Stanley Cup Ring Ceremony, Hopes To Lead Sharks There

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Credit: Colorado Avalanche

Nico Sturm was speechless.

On the San Jose Sharks’ recent trip to Denver to face the Colorado Avalanche, Sturm became the last member of the 2021-22 Stanley Cup winning side to be given his championship ring. The Avalanche captured Sturm’s awe when presented with one of the sport’s ultimate prizes.

Sturm told San Jose Hockey Now what was going through his mind: “Just how fortunate I was to be included in that situation, to succeed. Just going back to the hotel after, it was emotional, just thanking the big man upstairs for putting me in a spot where I was able to do that.”

Sturm went undrafted and joined the Minnesota Wild after three successful years at Clarkson University. He was acquired by the Avalanche at the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline in exchange for Tyson Jost. For the champs, Sturm added a more physical and veteran presence to the Avalanche bottom-six, in addition to clearing some cap space. This move, among several others, solidified the team’s depth on route to the franchise’s third Stanley Cup victory.

“I have a lot of respect for the ring itself,” Sturm continued. “I hardly want to wear it. I just want to keep it there in that box. It’s something to savor. The other guys, [they] know how much it’s worth. It’s not about the actual worth of the ring material, but how much work goes behind this.

“That video just shows that the tip of the iceberg, the very last bit,” he added. “But, you know as a player how much went into that. The ups and downs that you went through… because those moments are much more what that ring signifies, rather than the actual trophy.”

Sturm signed a three-year, $6 million dollar contract in the summer with the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks, out of the postseason again, were coming off a 6-0 shutout at the hands of Sturm’s old mates the night he got the ring.

“It makes you realize how hard it was to get to that point and how much work we have left down the road,” Sturm acknowledged. “Hopefully, we get to that point with this organization.”

He hopes this ring will fuel him for coming years: “It sparks a fire in you again… It’s something that I can look at now, on days when you might be going through a slump or lack a little motivation, and realize that’s something worth coming to the rink for everyday.”

Sturm also felt it was important to share the experience with his new teammates. “It’s a great thing to have and fortunate [that] I was able to share it with the guys in here, hopefully spark some fire. When I get back there someday, it’s gonna be a long road, but that’s the ultimate goal.”

“I’m going to try to do my part and keep up my high standards and try to show the other players around me, especially the young kids, what it takes to form a championship team,” Sturm said before the game.

This influenced his conversations with general manager Mike Grier ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline: “I told him I signed here for three years. I knew what I was going to sign up for, so that hasn’t really changed for me.”

Because of their trip to Denver, Sturm reflected on how the San Jose Sharks could better emulate the Avalanche. “I just think in general, as an organization, you can always learn from winners.

“The one thing I took away last year from that experience is that everybody there knew exactly what their job was coming to the rink every day. From [Nathan MacKinnon], the equipment guy, everybody knew…There’s never a shred of doubt about what your responsibility was.”

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