The Stanley Cup made a two-day journey from Siberia to Prince George, British Columbia, to spend the day with Brett Connolly on Monday. The Cup will be in Canada for the next week, spending time with Barry Trotz on Wednesday, and Chandler Stephenson on Friday. (Reminder, you can find the latest schedule of dates for Capitals players “day with the Stanley Cup” right here. You can find links to each and every “day with the Stanley Cup” that have already occurred right here.)
The Stanley Cup made it’s way from Dmitry Orlov’s celebration day in Novokuznetsk, Russia, on Friday, to Prince George, British Columbia, Sunday evening. This was the longest distance the Cup has traveled between “days with the Cup” so far this summer – nearly half-way around the world. As a result, we are officially nominating Phil Pritchard, the “Keeper of the Cup” for the “crazy traveler” of the year award.
Gateway Lodge, Prince George, British Columbia
Before attending the public event, Brett made a few stops on the way, including a local retirement center, Gateway Lodge, in Prince George. Connolly’s mom Dawn Connolly and aunt Lynn AuCoin work at Gateway Lodge.
Both were excited to have Connolly bring the cup and share it with the Gateway residents. Residents took pictures with Connolly and the cup, a few held it and two residents even kissed the cup.
Connolly pictured with 100 year old resident Elsie Christenson.
Public Event, CN Centre, Prince George, British Columbia
Brett held a public event starting at noon local time. There was a silent auction that began at 9 a.m., with doors opening at 10 a.m. local time. Lines to see Brett and the Cup started early. It’s been reported that the estimated 2,500 attendees waited up to five hours to get through the line and take a photo with Brett and the Cup.
The CN Centre is Home to the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League (WHL), where Brett played from 2005-2011. He is now the third Prince George Cougar to hoist the Stanley Cup. The last visit by the Stanley Cup came in the summer of 2003 when Turner Stevenson hoisted the Cup in front of City Hall. Stevenson won the Cup as a member of the New Jersey Devils.
All proceeds from the celebration’s silent auctions will benefit the Brock Hirsche Foundation in honour of Connolly’s old friend and teammate.
Brett held his initial cup visitation in the Cougars locker room. He first visited with local youth hockey players and coaches. Brett stated early on that he wanted to share the Stanley Cup with the future of the game of hockey.
Brett even made a point of visiting with children who were recent evacuees from the wild fires in the British Columbia area.
Connolly also posed for photos with coaches from the Prince George Polars, a local secondary school in Prince George.
Brett next took to the arena to greet the large crowd. He entered riding a zamboni to “We are the Champions” by Queen. Three of the wild fires evacuees also road into the arena on the zamboni with Brett.
Connolly took a moment to meet with the media. “I’m very happy and excited. The fans have been very happy and respectful as well, and it means a lot to me. This means so much for this city and means a lot to me to see everybody come down and support me. There’s a lot of people here that have supported me for a very long time.”
Brett also mentioned folks affected by the recent wild fires. “It’s a scary time for a lot of people, for sure. So we just tried to include as many people as we can and then help out as much as we could. Those are people who are having a scary time right now and hopefully, we can put a smile on their face.”
Fans filed through for a quick pic with the Cup and the Stanley Cup champ. Brett and the Cup were continuously flanked by two of Canada’s Royal Mounted Police officers.
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Former @pgcougars and current @capitals player, @brettcconnolly at The Brett Connolly Stanley Cup Celebration at the Prince George CN Centre! . . . . #hockey #stanleycup #sportsphotographer #canon #hockeyhalloffame #hhof #brettconnolly #washingtoncapitals #pgcougars #cncentre #ilovepg #locallove #charity #canon6d #sigmacamera #hypg
An event recap video by the PG Cougars:
Private Party, Prince George, British Columbia
The next stop for the Stanley Cup is Calgary, Alberta, for a visit with Jay Beagle. Then the Cup is off to Dauphin, Manitoba, for a visit with former Capitals head coach Barry Trotz on Wednesday. Chandler Stephenson will have his day with the Cup on Thursday and Friday, which will include a visit with the folks in Humboldt and the Humboldt Broncos.
By Jon Sorensen
PREVIOUS DAYS WITH THE CUP