The Latest: Bruins’ Cassidy says Marchand will play Game 1
BOSTON (AP) — The Latest on media day at the Stanley Cup Final (all times Eastern):
The biggest star at Stanley Cup Final media day doesn’t play for the Boston Bruins or St. Louis Blues. He’s 18-month old “Today” show dog Sunny, who roamed the interview room the day before the Cup Final begins, interacting with players in collaboration with NBC Sports and the Guide Dog Foundation.
Sunny brought cards with questions on them to players to read and got plenty of pets and kibble out of the deal. When he jumped up and did a trick with Robert Thomas, the Blues forward said, “This made my day,” and a lot of other players seemed to enjoy having a four-legged reporter — complete with his own media credential — asking them questions.
It also had a real-life benefit.
“He is learning to be a guide dog through the Guide Dog Foundation, and he needs to be cool, calm and collected in every setting possible,” said Guide Dog Foundation public relations manager Allison Storck, who was also among Sunny’s handlers Sunday. “Just like people, dogs do the best work when they feel safe and secure and they’re not concerned. So coming to these environments and getting to adapt and adjust is really great practice for when he gets matched with somebody who’s blind or visually impaired. He’s going to be able to have his top focus and be able to do his best work because he’s going to be so used to everything.”
The idea came from NBC Sports’ marketing department after spotting Sunny at a New York Islanders game. The Blues are among the NHL teams with dogs who are also being trained for service.
Storck said Cup Final media day was a great training opportunity for Sunny’s future job.
“Every time he goes to interact with a player, he’s practicing a service dog skill,” she said. “So he’s taking an item, going to deliver it and then staying until I call him back. So great training and great excitement.”
- Boston Bruins
- Brad Marchand
- New York Islanders
- Robert Thomas
- St. Louis Blues
- Vince Dunn