I felt more than a little empathy for Sidney Crosby and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins last week when the members of the Detroit Red Wings hoisted Lord Stanley's Cup over their heads.No, it wasn't just that I came in second-to-last in the staff playoff hockey pool having loaded my team with players from the San Jose Sharks and Montreal Canadiens, it was also that I too once played for the Cup and lost. I know the agony of defeat that the Pens felt as only one who watched his opponents revel in their moment of glory could truly understand.My collision with Lord Stanley's mug happened in 1973 and although the Montreal spring had turned toward summer and nights were getting longer, people, as was the custom in Montreal in those days, were still hockey-mad. Montreal, after all, had won five of the previous eight Cups, and they were to go on to win another five over the next seven years.Springtime and parades along Rue Ste.-Catherine was the mode du jour in Montreal those days.A friend, Patrick O'Neill, planned a street hockey game in the neighbourhood. Not an unusual occurrence on streets around Canada during the playoffs, but Patrick was able to offer a different angle. His twist was that the game would be for the Stanley Cup; not some made up or cheap copy, no, Patrick promised the real thing. As luck would have it, Patrick's father, Brian, was the Vice-President of the NHL at the time, so Patrick's plan was no vain boast.Now this was before Swedes were captains of NHL teams, before visors -heck, this was even before helmets -and so it shouldn't be a surprise that the Stanley Cup was secreted in the basement of the NHL VP's home along with all the other NHL hardware (i.e. the Conn Smythe, the Art Ross, etc) before being presented at the end of the series. There were no white-gloved escorts or security guards looking after this Cup.So we were to play a game. The winner would get the Stanley Cup.Just as Americans imagine batting in the bottom of the ninth of the World Series with two outs and the bases loaded, it is the fantasy of every Canadian boy to play in game seven of the Stanley Cup finals.In my memory our game was golden. The passes along Glengarry Drive were crisp and clean; the ball-handling was deft, and the goaltending sublime. Nary a car passed, and our game undoubtedly went into overtime.After, we all headed down to Patrick's basement where the presentation was made.Like Sid the Kid, it wasn't my time to lift the Cup in victory, but I was young (only 11!) and I believed I would have many other chances in my life for drink from the Stanley Cup.Alas, at 45, I don't think that chance will come again. I'll have to carry my regrets with me forever. But at least I have next year's hockey pool to look forward to.