On Saturday, the Stanley Cup began its nearly one week stay in the state of Minnesota by spending the day with Capitals General Mamanger Brian MacLellan in and around the city of Minneapolis. On Sunday the Cup headed north to the small city of Virginia, Minnesota, population 8,712, to spend the day with Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen. (Updated schedule for Capitals players day with the Stanley Cup is here.)
Before commencing with his public appearances for the day, Niskanen and his close family met at his home for about an hour. Also attending the brief gathering were several of Niskanen’s former coaches, including his two former high school coaches, Keith Henderson and Gary Cornell. Niskanen would later say that having his picture taken with the Stanley Cup and his two former high school coaches “was something pretty special”.
The first stop in “The Queen City of the North” was Miner’s Memorial Building, where Niskanen played his youth hockey.
The first event, which was located in his hometown of Virginia, also included presenting Niskanen with the key to the City.
On display at the Miners Memorial Building is one of Matt’s old jerseys from when he played junior hockey in the building.
Niskanen briefly met with media before meeting the fans. In an interview with @DavidCoySports, Matt discussed what it it was like for him personally to win the Stanley Cup.
Niskanen then posed for photos with fans alongside the Stanley Cup. A long line of Nisky fans, some arriving as many as four hours in advance, waited for their chance for a photo with Matt and the Stanley Cup. There was no official headcount, but it appears that all of Virginia, Minnesota, turned out for the historic event.
The next stop for Niskanen and the Stanley Cup was Flaimers Bar in downtown Virginia, Minnesota.
An interesting side note, the movie “North Country” with Woody Harrelson and Charlize Theron, was filmed in Virginia, Minnesota, including the bar scenes, which were filmed at Flaimer’s Bar.
Back to Matt Niskanen and the The Stanley Cup. The arrival at Flaimer’s Bar was accompanied by “we are the champions” and greeted by many of Matt Niskanen’s closest friends.
And that’s a wrap.
By Jon Sorensen