EVERETT — It’s the Stanley Cup house.
What was once a 30-foot pine tree is now an 8-foot monument to ice hockey.
What’s up with that?
The carved Stanley Cup at the corner of 19th and Cedar streets is Illiad and Roxy Gesler’s way of sporting their love for the game.
The 36-inch wooden trophy is the approximate size of the real cup awarded to the National Hockey League champion at the end of each season. The playoffs are going on now.
The Geslers weren’t expecting their cup, which is anchored to a 5-foot tree stump, to be a roadside attraction.
“No lie, it’s been up three months and people stop every day,” said Illiad, 47, a union glazier who grew up watching hockey, not playing it.
The pine tree was leaning above a power line. Snohomish County PUD workers said it needed to come down.
“I knew what I wanted to do with it,” Illiad said.
He asked Roxy, “What if we carved a Stanley Cup out of the stump?”
She was all in.
They hired Bellingham chain saw artist to Tomas Vrba to make the cup, which he carved separately rather than into the pine stump.
“He said it would last much longer if we made it out of cedar,” Illiad said.
The 3-foot cup is firmly bolted to the stump.
“It took me and him to lift it up there. I’d say it’s about 80 pounds,” Illiad said.
Unlike the genuine silver and nickel alloy cup, which weighs 35 pounds, this one is brown.
“I have no reason to paint it silver,” Illiad said. “People who watch hockey can tell immediately what it is.”
The Stanley Cup is the oldest existing trophy to be awarded to a professional sports franchise and is considered the Holy Grail of hockey. It has a five-band barrel, tiers and a bowl on top.
The NHL store sells a 24-inch shiny replica of the cup for $270, complete with white handling gloves.
Want a trophy that offers functional fun? Pangea makes a $70 Stanley Cup-shaped popcorn machine with a serving bowl top. A Stanley Cup beer mug that holds 25 ounces of brew is about $30 on Amazon, which also offers an inflatable cup for $30, including a small repair kit.
For inside use, Illiad made a Stanley Cup from an empty three-flavor popcorn can, with smaller tins as tiers and a plastic bowl. He can hold it above his head like winners do in real life. He could even do celebratory drinking of champagne out of it, but so far he has abstained. After all, his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs haven’t won the cup since 1967 and weren’t contenders this year.
The Maple Leafs team light no longer glows in the window that’s draped with a NHL flag. A mannequin in the living room is decked out in a Silvertips jersey, green octopus hat and logo towel. A spare bedroom is a shrine for signed jerseys and other items.
“I have hockey stuff I completely forgot about, that’s how much stuff I have,” Illiad said.
A mosaic hockey player guards a goal on the wall of Roxy’s basement art studio. She made a few mosaic hockey sticks, but most of her art is not sports-centric. She works with pastels, does portraits and fashions flowers from copper and recycled plastic.
“Whatever it is that moves me at the moment,” said Roxy, 42, who has exhibited work at the Schack Art Center, where her recycled flowers are for sale.
She likes the Edmonton Oilers. “He has a Maple Leaf addiction,” she said.
It stems from when he was a kid, growing up in Kent.
“There wasn’t a lot of cable television,” Illiad said. “One of the public stations around here was the CBC, the Canadian station, and had hockey night in Canada every Saturday. Back then I could keep up on one team. That’s how I became a Maple Leaf fan and I still am.”
The couple are Silvertips season ticketholders. He’s the guy in the Maple Leafs jersey. She sometimes wears the octopus hat. Other than that, they don’t stand out.
“We’re the same loud as everybody else,” Roxy said. “It’s a big family. Everybody is pretty easy to get along with.”
Added Illiad: “Hockey people are different people. They’re all classy people. Players. Fans.”
The couple met at the Amber Lite Tavern 13 years ago, not long after she moved here from Montana. They have two basset hounds, Darcy and Arnie. “Darcy was named after Darcy Tucker, who used to play for the Maple Leafs,” Illiad said. “And Arnie, his name was Barney when we adopted him but we changed it to Arnie.”
They’re obsessed with hockey during the season, but not year-round.
“When somebody wins the cup, they skate around and then they take a team photo,” Illiad said. “Once they take the team photo, then I’m done for the season. That’s how I finish.”
Down come the hockey items, put away until next season. Like holiday decorations.
The carved cup is the exception.
“That’s going to stay. It’s anchored to the tree,” Illiad said. “Just drive by and look for the Stanley Cup, that’s our house.”
Brake for a selfie. Just don’t try to hoist it over your head.