Former Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Michal Kempny lifted the Stanley Cup after the Washington Capitals 4-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final at T-Mobile Arena.
Kempny, 27, scored two goals with three assists in 24 playoff games for Washington.
Chicago signed Kempny as a free agent in May 2016 after he tallied seven goals and 18 assists in 71 games with Avangard Omsk in the KHL. In 81 games with the Hawks, he scored three goals with 12 assists.
Kempny requested a trade from Chicago after being a healthy scratch under coach Joel Quenneville. Hawks general manager granted his wish Feb. 19, when he sent Kempny to Washington for a conditional third-round pick.
As part of the trade that sent forward Marcus Johansson to the New Jersey Devils last offseason, the Capitals owned the Toronto Maple Leafs’ third-round pick as well as their own selection. The Hawks received the better of the two in Toronto’s pick based on draft order at 87th overall. Chicago also holds the 69th overall pick in the third round. The draft is June 22-23 at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Kempny skated alongside John Carlson in Washington’s top four. The Capitals went 31-16 since the trade with Kempny, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent July 1.
Kempny isn’t the first former Hawks defenseman to win a Cup after not earning Quenneville’s trust. Trevor Daley won back-to-back championships with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
It’s Washington’s first championship in its 43-year franchise history, and the city’s first major four sports title since 1992, when the Redskins won the Super Bowl XXVI. However, Major League Soccer’s D.C. United has won eight titles (four MLS Cups, three U.S. Open cups and the 1998 CONCACAF Champions League) since its inception 1996.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, still holds the longest major four sports championship drought at 47 years. A team from Milwaukee last won a title in 1971, when Lew Alcindor and Oscar Robertson led the Bucks to the NBA championship. The Brewers have never won a World Series (they lost in 1982), and the Bucks haven’t returned to the NBA Finals since ‘71.
Cities with no major four titles include: Charlotte, North Carolina; Buffalo, New York; San Diego, California; and Nashville, Tennessee.