How does it feel to raise the Stanley Cup? Just ask this Northeastern University graduate

Gordon Weigers lifting the Stanley Cup
Gordon Weigers celebrated the biggest prize in ice hockey Tuesday in Las Vegas. Photo by Jeff Bottari/Vegas Golden Knights

Five years after graduating from Northeastern, Gordon Weigers found himself standing on the ice of T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, holding the Stanley Cup up high.

“In that moment, picking it up over your head, it felt like a feather,” Weigers said. “They say it weighs 35 pounds except when you’re lifting it. And that turned out to be true.”

The Vegas Golden Knights won the NHL championship in just their sixth season with a 9-3 victory Tuesday against the Florida Panthers in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. Weigers, who serves as senior manager of digital strategy and editorial content, has spent the past five years covering the Golden Knights via the team’s social media channels and website.

“I can’t say enough great things about my experience at Northeastern and how that ties back into everything that I’ve been able to do here,” said Weigers, a former Northeastern athletic department co-op who graduated in 2018 with degrees in journalism and communication studies with a minor in acting. “I was thinking about a lot of people with that cup in my hands.”

Vegas became the second-fastest team in the past eight decades to become NHL champion. Its breakthrough fulfilled a declaration by owner Bill Foley that his expansion franchise would triumph by year six.Weigers, who grew up playing ice hockey on Long Island in New York and intramurally at Northeastern, spoke with Northeastern Global News about his career, the restorative powers of Chicken Lou’s and his poignant memories of a close friend. His comments have been edited for brevity and clarity.

What was it like being on the ice for the championship celebration?

It was chaotic. It was jubilant. We spend every day with these players, with the staff, with the coaches; we go on long road trips, we’re here on Sunday mornings for practice. To see the relief, the thrill, the accomplishment on their faces was extremely rewarding because we know how hard these guys work.

My parents were in the stands, they flew out from New York for the game, and I was able to look up at them after I lifted the cup. That was super special for me.

When we got past the second round and knew that we were in the final four, I got the 20-pound dumbbells out of the closet, got all the dust off of them and did a couple of shoulder presses to make sure I could lift that thing. The last thing I wanted was to not be able to get it up over my head.

How did you become involved with hockey at Northeastern?

I did the program, so my first semester of school was abroad in England, and I made a friend over there, Bailey Putnam, who became an extremely tight buddy of mine. He ended up becoming The Huntington News deputy sports editor and he needed a men’s hockey beat writer. So he reached out and it fell together perfectly for me because of Bailey.

Then that summer I had the opportunity to do a six-month co-op at the [Northeastern] athletics office—and I kept working with them up until I graduated. The more I look back, the more poignant those moments feel.

My friend, Bailey, passed away in our third year in school. He passed away due to suicide from depression that nobody knew was going on. I talk to his dad all the time. Bailey gave me the chance to do this. I’m getting emotional thinking about him.”

We lost Bailey in 2016. Seven years later, I was thinking about him with that Stanley Cup over my head.

How did you begin your association with the Golden Knights?

It’s kind of a funny story. I was getting to the end of my time at Northeastern. I applied for an internship with USA Hockey out in Colorado, it was the next thing for me in my career path and it was all I wanted to do. I made it down to the final few candidates.

I was in line at Chicken Lou’s—man, I miss that place when I come back to Boston—and I’d just ordered my breakfast sandwich: sausage, egg and pepper jack cheese, a hash brown and Chipotle ranch sauce on a bagel. I was waiting for that to be ready and the phone rings from Colorado. “We just want to let you know we’re going with someone else but wish you all the best.”

Having a sausage, egg and cheese right after that—that’s when you need it the most. The timing wasn’t great, but honestly it couldn’t have been better with Chicken Lou’s on the other side of that phone call.

I had spoken to someone named Alyssa Girardi during that process. She was working for the Golden Knights after her experience with USA Hockey, and so I reached out to her just to talk about her experience. And hours after that tough phone call and delicious breakfast sandwich she sent me an email saying, “We’ve got a graduate assistant one-year internship in Vegas with the Golden Knights if you’re interested.” Two months into that year they hired me full-time and I’ve been bumped up twice since. I’ve been just incredibly fortunate and lucky.

What is the difference between attending games as a fan versus being on the inside with the team?

The access is amazing being around the players all the time. We fly on the team plane, we stay in the same hotels as the guys and ride the buses with them to and from the rink. 

It really is something special, the relationships I’ve been fortunate to forge with our players, with our staff and our coaches, our management, and it all comes back to when they were building this organization. They pride themselves on getting the right people regardless of experience or expertise. Since I got here in 2018, I’ve been surrounded by nothing but amazing people who are dedicated to their craft.

To what extent has the franchise been defined by the owner’s prediction of winning the Stanley Cup within six years?

Picture it like you’re on deadline and you know you’d better have this story in by 10 o’clock. The boss said we’re doing this, so we’d better go do it.

How often do you plan to wear your championship ring?

I haven’t thought that far ahead. It’s been a blur since the night we won the Cup. We’ll have a championship parade on the Las Vegas Strip on Saturday night. 

I look forward to finding out how often I’m going to wear that ring. And you know what, I hope in a few years’ time when I’m wearing that 2023 ring that I’m also going to be wearing a 2024 ring to go with it. Because this team is that special. 

Ian Thomsen is a Northeastern Global News reporter. Email him at Follow him on Twitter @IanatNU.