Congrats, Anthony Stolarz and Nick Cousins!

Longtime Former Phantoms Lift Stanley Cup with Florida

June 26, 2024

Former Phantoms Anthony Stolarz and Nick Cousins have etched their names in hockey history as Stanley Cup champions with the Florida Panthers. Their victory over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 7 marked a significant milestone, as both players spent multiple seasons with Lehigh Valley before advancing to NHL careers that contributed to Florida’s first Stanley Cup win in franchise history.

This triumph is especially notable as it marks the first time two former Lehigh Valley teammates have won the Stanley Cup together on the same team.

Stolarz (2014-2019) and Cousins (2011-2016) now join the ranks of former Phantoms who have hoisted the Stanley Cup at some point in their careers, becoming the 21st and 22nd players in franchise history to achieve this honor and the 4th and 5th to do so as previous members in Lehigh Valley.

During their time as teammates on the Phantoms, both players represented Lehigh Valley and the Atlantic Division at the 2016 AHL All-Star Classic in Syracuse.

“We are so happy for Nick and Anthony and extremely proud of them for all they have accomplished,” said Phantoms owners Rob and Jim Brooks in a joint statement. “To watch them each hoist the Stanley Cup gave us such joy—knowing they were able to achieve that childhood dream!”

Stolarz, a second-round pick (45th overall) by the Flyers in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, joined Lehigh Valley for their inaugural season following a successful junior career with the Ontario Hockey League’s London Knights.

The 6’6” goaltender played 113 games over five seasons with the Phantoms, achieving a 2.93 goals-against average, a .910 save percentage, and an overall record of 50-41-16.

He made history as the first New Jersey-born goaltender to start an NHL game in his debut with the Flyers on November 27, 2016, where he made 29 saves in a 5-3 victory against Calgary. He will now also become the first goaltender born in the Garden State to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup.

After spending parts of two seasons between Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia, Stolarz was traded to Edmonton midway through the 2018-19 season. He later played for Anaheim before joining the Panthers as a free agent prior to the 2023-24 season.

Separately, Cousins spent his entire five-year AHL career (184 games) with the Phantoms. Selected by the Flyers in the third round (68th overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Cousins played for both Adirondack and Lehigh Valley. Known for his grittiness and scoring ability, Nick netted the first two hat tricks in Lehigh Valley Phantoms history.

Cousins made his NHL debut with the Flyers on March 17, 2015, against Vancouver and continued to earn call-ups over the next three seasons, accumulating 27 points (12 goals, 15 assists) in 107 games with Philadelphia.

The 30-year-old forward signed a two-year contract with Florida before the 2022-23 season, following stints in Arizona, Montreal, Vegas, and Nashville. Last season, Cousins was instrumental in the Panthers’ run to the Stanley Cup Final, notably scoring the game-winning overtime goal that propelled Florida to the Eastern Conference Final in Game 5 of the second round.

Stolarz and Cousins joined the rest of their Panthers teammates by each raising the Stanley Cup during the on-ice postgame celebration in front of the home crowd at Amerant Bank Arena, surrounded by camaraderie and plastic rats scattered across the ice.