Left, Smithfield native Mike Poirier poses for a image with the Lombardi Trophy in the New England Patriots’ locker home after the Patriots defeated the St. Louis Rams in Tremendous Bowl XXXVI on Feb. 3, 2002. Appropriate, virtually 19 several years afterwards, Poirier had an additional championship trophy in his arms, the Stanley Cup. Poirier, who held a Cup celebration at his property in Tampa last November, is the assistant athletic trainer of the Tampa Bay Lightning, which received the NHL championship two months before by defeating the Dallas Stars in 6 online games in their finest-of-seven title series in Edmonton.

Smithfield native features two professional titles for the duration of two-decade operate as complete-time trainer

When Nationwide Hockey League fans consider of the number 91, they consider of some of today’s stars who dress in the well known uniform variety, this kind of as Dallas Stars correct wing Tyler Seguin, St. Louis Blues appropriate wing Vladimir Tarasenko, Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos, and New York Islanders center John Tavares.

When Mike Poirier thinks of the amount 91, the Smithfield native and longtime assistant athletic coach of the Lightning thinks of the amount of times he invested living out of a suitcase in lodge rooms this past summer months when the league re-laced its skates and rolled out its pucks following a 4 1/2-thirty day period absence because of to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just after a few of players and employees members examined constructive in late June for the coronavirus, Lightning normal manager Julien BriseBois “asked if I would go to a resort, and I explained confident,” said Poirier. “I mainly still left my family members on June 28, went to a lodge in Tampa, and then left to go to Toronto.”

In Toronto, Poirier lived in the team’s “bubble” as the Lightning returned to the ice, and while the continuation of the time was quite an uncommon one for Poirier and the staff, it finished in championship glory at Rogers Location in Edmonton and the Lightning hoisting their to start with Stanley Cup in 16 decades.

“That was a terrific working experience,” explained Poirier, who graduated from Smithfield Higher in 1995 and at the moment life in Tampa. “The bubble was fine – I consider it was the best that (the NHL) could have finished. Toronto was wonderful as significantly as the features that we experienced. The foodstuff was good, every little thing went sleek, and definitely we won, so I guess it was well really worth it.”

Poirier, who is starting his 13th year with the defending champions and Lightning head coach Tom Mulligan, has been difficult at function these times getting completely ready for the future campaign, which faces off on Wednesday, Jan. 13, when the Lightning host the Chicago Blackhawks in the opener of a two-activity series that proceeds two nights later.

Tough operate and Poirier have long gone hand-in-hand due to the fact his times as a 3-sport standout with the Sentinels in the mid-1990s, which saw him get paid All-Division honors in soccer, basketball, and baseball, in advance of attending Tulane University in New Orleans and focusing on earning his bachelor’s degree in physical exercise science.

A lifelong New England Patriots admirer, Poirier got to see his preferred team up near throughout his sophomore yr when the Patriots had been in the Major Straightforward participating in in Super Bowl XXXI and battling the Inexperienced Bay Packers, who eventually defeated the Patriots, 35-21. With Tulane serving as the host facility for the AFC champions, Poirier obtained an chance to volunteer his time by generating ice luggage and accomplishing whichever he could to assistance the Patriots’ coaching team. And his endeavours did not go unnoticed.

“Once that Super Bowl was performed, I was speaking to the head trainer and I told him I was from Smithfield and lived 5 minutes absent from Bryant Faculty, which was in which the Patriots held their schooling camps just before they created (Gillette Stadium),” he mentioned. “He questioned me if I was intrigued in doing the job instruction camps and I stated absolutely sure, and for the next number of several years, I would occur dwelling from faculty in May possibly and push to Foxboro to do the job there until eventually I had to get back to school at Tulane.”

Poirier, who is also licensed in power and conditioning, yoga, and corrective physical exercise, continued his summer season perform with the Patriots soon after he graduated from Tulane in 1999, and as he put in the upcoming two years at Mississippi Point out College, the place he gained his master’s degree in sports activities administration and served as a graduate assistant coach with the school’s football team.

In 2001, Poirier then served as a full-time seasonal intern for the Patriots and experienced a front-row seat to just one of the greatest seasons in the franchise’s heritage, which noticed New England stun the closely-favored St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI, 20-17, for the initially of the Patriots’ six championships.

“I consider correct now I’m the only athletic trainer that has a Super Bowl (championship) and a Stanley Cup,” made available Poirier. “My (championship) ring problem in New England, I did not get 1 and I’m however incredibly bitter about it, but I’m surely having 1 here in Tampa.”

When the Patriots created the 500-foot transfer from Foxboro Stadium to Gillette Stadium right after that year, Poirier helped the team’s instruction staff members get settled into its new digs. But when Poirier went wanting for a total-time career, he observed a person in an additional sport as the Providence Bruins’ head trainer in time for the 2002-03 year, changing Mulligan, who turned the Lightning’s head coach.

A year into his stint with the P-Bruins, Poirier included yet another chapter to his resume when he grew to become the initial coach in Lincoln High’s record, “and I was basically variety of like a advisor for them,” he recalled. “They built a minimal training room for me, and anytime I was available, I would be there in the afternoons or at soccer and basketball games.”

Poirier’s time with Lincoln Substantial and the P-Bruins sooner or later finished in 2008 when Mulligan experienced an opening on his personnel and sought Poirier’s companies. The decision to head to the NHL and reside in sunny Florida – his mothers and fathers live on the East Coastline of the state – was definitely a no-brainer, and it is a shift that Poirier has due to the fact relished.

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Of system, celebrating a Stanley Cup championship extra to the highlights of his distinguished career, as perfectly as hosting a Cup party, which also showcased the Conn Smythe (awarded to the MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs, defenseman Victor Hedman) and the Prince of Wales (Japanese Convention championship) trophies.

“I experienced (the Cup) on Nov. 13 from 10 a.m. to midnight,” he stated. “My mothers and fathers and my in-guidelines were being below, and from 10 to midday, we took relatives pictures. And simply because of the limitations with COVID, I just about ran (the celebration) like a wake. You came into my house, you wore your mask, you received your temperature checked, you took a picture with the (Conn Smythe and Prince of Wales) trophies, you walked outside to my patio and took a photo with the Cup, and then you walked all-around my residence and back to the driveway and you remaining.”

“It was the only way you could do it since you couldn’t have additional than 10 persons (collectively),” he additional. “From 1 to 3:30 p.m., I did that for my neighbors and people today I have worked with, and at night time, I type of had a beer tent established up in my driveway, and folks that arrived from out of town and other spouse and children members in Florida arrived by. And it was the very same detail with them – anytime you preferred to see the Cup, you had to stroll back in, get your temperature checked, and hold your masks on.”

Poirier, who is a big Star Wars lover, and possibly the biggest a person in the NHL, extra a contact of the science fiction franchise to the festivities by taking photographs with the Cup in a Darth Vader helmet and a Stormtrooper jacket, “and I even put toddler Yoda in the Cup,” he additional with a giggle. “I really loved (that day). It was a great deal of enjoyment.”

And Poirier of course hopes the exciting carries on throughout the Lightning’s title protection. The NHL will engage in an abbreviated 56-sport regular time that will conclude on Might 8, and the Lightning will only engage in the other 7 teams in a new-glimpse Central Division: the Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Pink Wings, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, Blackhawks, and Stars.

“It pretty much like a (Important League) baseball plan,” Poirier said. “You go to Chicago for two video games, you go to Detroit for two, you host Columbus from two … Ideal now, we’re trying to get anything squared absent, so we’ll see what happens.”

Mike Poirier hoists the Stanley Cup in the course of a post-recreation celebration on the ice as he celebrates the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 2- acquire above the Dallas Stars in Recreation 6 of the NHL’s championship collection on Sept. 28, 2020.

By Harriet