A wedding, a Stanley Cup and a baby in a 14-month span.
That’s what Pittsburgh Penguin player Josh Archibald and his wife Bailey (Baxter), a Grand Island Central Catholic grad, have been working towards during a whirlwind, unforgettable year for the young couple.
The baby is the final piece to the puzzle and is set to make a debut in August.
Also making a debut this year was Josh, who made his Stanley Cup Finals debut in Game 4 on the road against the Nashville Predators. The UNO product was able to raise the Stanley Cup when it was all said and done after the Penguins won in six games earlier this month.
“Every young kid growing up playing hockey dreams of playing in the NHL, let alone in the playoffs in a Stanley Cup Finals game to try and win the Stanley Cup,” he said. “There was a lot of excitement, a little bit of nerves. I think that was more nervous energy to go out there and play. For me, overall it was definitely a great experience and hopefully I can take that, run with it and move on with my career.”
Bailey played volleyball as a Crusader before moving on to play at UNO where she met Josh.
The roller coaster of watching her husband have the biggest moment of his career is hard to explain, said Bailey.
“I just am very grateful to be here along the way with him to see his childhood dream come true,” she said.
Naturally, an achievement like a Stanley Cup was a culmination of dreams, hard work and a dedicated and hectic lifestyle. That’s the case for the Archibalds, who are all over the place in-season. Josh has spent time in the AHL and the ECHL since being drafted in the sixth round of the 2011 NHL entry draft.
“Life can get a little bit crazy sometimes. A lot happens so we have to be on our toes,” Bailey said. “In general, we get to see a lot, we get to experience a lot of the country and visit a lot of places and meet tons of people, wonderful people. We’ve been very grateful for the opportunities we’ve been given.”
Being around sports her whole life, Bailey said she knew what she was getting into from the start.
“It’s definitely a cool experience. We get to see a lot and have road trips together, so I don’t mind it,” she said.
Of course, Josh isn’t the only one of the two who has raised a trophy. Bailey was on the undefeated GICC volleyball team that won the 2010 Class C-1 state title while she set a state class record for assists. She was also a top-notch rodeo competitor, winning a state title and competing at nationals.
As for Josh, he was born in Canada and was one of the top high school prospects coming out of Minnesota.
When he looked back on what hockey has meant to him and provided for him, he gave Bailey the lion’s share of the credit for his success, explaining that she helps keep it all together.
“Growing up, (hockey) has been my whole life, I guess you could say,” he said. “I met Bailey. She knew what I wanted and what I was working for, so she has kind of been my rock. There’s days in the summertime where you don’t work out or things like that and she’ll kind of keep me on track and push me. I’m very thankful to have her in my life. Hockey has always been No. 1, but now that’s she’s here and we’re going to have our baby, obviously, family will come first and hockey will come second.”
Yes, it has been a good year for the Archibalds, who celebrated their wedding anniversary last week. The next step for the couple is preparing for a bundle of joy by the end of the summer.
The Archibald baby, whose sex will be a birthday surprise, comes from a superb line of athletes. Beyond Josh and Bailey, Josh’s father Jim played in NHL in the 1980s. Bailey’s father Bret played football at UNK while her mother Deb played volleyball at Central Community College-Columbus before the two eventually founded a feedlot in Grand Island.
The couple said they have no plans to steer the baby into one sport or another, but rather provide opportunities and let it all happen naturally.
“Josh might try to force it a little bit,” Bailey added with a laugh.