After spending the day with Braden Holtby on Monday in Saskatchewan, the Stanley Cup headed back east to New Hamburg, Ontario, for a date with the Capitals video coach, Brett Leonhardt, on Thursday. (Reminder, you can find the latest schedule of dates for Capitals players “day with the Stanley Cup” right here.)
Leonhardt held an open session at the New Hamburg Arena, Brett’s hometown rink, which was open to the general public from 9-11 am.
Leonhardt grew up playing minor hockey in New Hamburg before he advanced to higher levels in Cambridge and Kitchener.
The team’s video coach was also hired by the Capitals over the phone as he was passing through New Hamburg on his way to a visit with his parents in Grand Bend.
“Everyone who has ever laced up skates dreams of someday winning the Stanley Cup,” Leonhardt said in a statement. “For me bringing it back to where it all started is a big part of that dream and I am excited to share the Cup with the people of Wilmot and surrounding area.”
Leonhardt told the Record, “This is where it all began for me. This is where I went to high school (Waterloo-Oxford) and developed friendships with kids that lived in Tavistock, New Hamburg, Wellesley and all those other small towns,” said the six-foot-seven Leonhardt, whose family owned and operated a pheasant farm during his younger years.
“I’ve seen a lot of familiar faces today, old neighbours, old teammates and old coaches and even a guy I worked with at No Frills, my first job. It’s been a great day so far.”
As has been the case all summer long, lines began to form early in the day on Thursday.
There was also a drawing to win a signed Alex Ovechkin Washington Capitals jersey with proceeds going toward New Hamburg minor hockey.
Brett also posed for photos with folks standing next to the Cup.
Later in the day, Brett and the Stanley Cup visited a nearby golf course at the Oakwood Resort.
Brett Leonhardt’s day with the Stanley Cup concluded with a private party at Gables in Grand Bend, Ontario.
The Stanley Cup is now off to Chesley and Sauble Beach on Friday (Brock Miles), St. Clements on Saturday (Scott Murray), the Greater Toronto Area on Sunday (Tom Wilson) and Monday (Devante Wmith-Pelley) and then will return to Europe on Tuesday with stops in Denmark (Lars Eller), Sweden (Andre Burakovsky, Christian Djoos and Nicklas Backstrom), Germany (Philipp Grubauer) and Russia (Dmitry Orlov and Evgeny Kuznetsov).
By Jon Sorensen