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In Celebration of Trevor Daley and His Stanley Cup Championship

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One of the classiest, most enthusiastic players to every wear a Stars uniform finally won a Stanley Cup on Sunday, and we could not be happier.

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This wasn't the way Trevor Daley drew up his Stanley Cup dreams.

Sure, being a huge part of a team's mid-season turnaround and playing big minutes in the playoffs was probably there. But the part about going down with a broken ankle before the finals started and having to work through pain just to be out there to skate the Cup wasn't.

But it doesn't matter how the long-time Dallas Stars defensive stalwart got there.  The 2002 second-round draft pick who would run through any wall the organization put in front of him, the kid who dealt with racism from his junior hockey organization, the man who channeled every Stars' fans feelings about Corey Perry in the 2014 playoffs has reached the top of the hockey ladder.

While he never became the face of the franchise like Brenden Morrow, Mike Modano or even a true fan favorite like Steve Ott, Daley was as permanent a fixture on the Stars as anyone else throughout the 2000s and first half of the 2010s.

He is eighth on the all-time Stars/North Stars games played list and sixth among those who played most of their career in Dallas. He was more than willing to do any media thrown at him, including during the doldrums of the franchise's bankruptcy, and he never griped about the lack of resources the team went through from a personnel standpoint. He bought in wholesale to the Stars coaching and management change when Jim Nill and Lindy Ruff came on board.

He gave the best years of his career to this franchise and never played with anything less than full enthusiasm and effort. And he had a whole bunch of goal and win celebrations that looked like this one.

There was a reason we gave him a farewell post after he was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks this summer as part of the Patrick Sharp/Stephen Johns deal. (And if you haven't read that in a while, you should stop everything and go do so right now). Much like Brenden Morrow on the forward end, Daley became the stalwart and heart of the Stars blue line for more than a decade.

That was why it was so good to see him win the Cup last night. Even if you're not a fan of the Pittsburgh Penguins (and for the record, I have absolutely not love lost there), as a Stars fan it feels good to see a man who poured so much of himself into the franchise ultimately get rewarded, even if it wasn't in Dallas. The same instinct that left Stars fans so disappointed when Morrow and the Tampa Bay Lightning fell just short last year is the one that now celebrates Daley's accomplishment.

The timing was also important in more ways that one. As Daley discusses in the video clip below, not only was he dealing with his injury, but his mother, Trudy, is hospitalized while fighting cancer, and he has been traveling back and forth to be with her.

Trudy Daley can now call her son a Stanley Cup champion, which is far from the only thing she should be proud of. As Stars fans saw over and over again throughout his 11 seasons in Dallas and 13 years with the organization, he is not only a tremendous hockey player, but he is an even better person.

From his dealings with Dallas-area charities to support of low-income hockey players from where he grew up in working-class areas of Toronto to simpler things like the way he was always accessible and friendly to fans and media like, Trevor Daley rose to the occasion of being a true professional on and off the ice in every way imaginable.

And we here at Defending Big D couldn't be more proud to see Stanley Cup Champion added to his list of accomplishments. Congratulations, Trevor. You've more than earned it.