Stanley pays a visit to the 'Loops
Last Tuesday afternoon, the masses gathered in downtown Kamloops.
Just outside of the Interior Savings Centre (née Riverside Coliseum), next to the street affectionately known as Mark Recchi Way, thousands of rabid hockey fans spent hours in line for a chance to see hockey's holy grail: the Stanley Cup.
With the scheduled viewing period in the 6,000-seat rink scheduled to last from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the line-up failed to thin by 12:30 and it seemed quite a few Kamloopsians would be headed home disappointed.
Instead, the city's hockey hero, Mark Recchi, who had won the second championship of his career two months earlier with the Carolina Hurricanes, opted to parade the Cup outside of the arena to ensure everyone had a chance to see it.
Recchi, now 38 and in the twilight of his career, missed the chance to bring the trophy to his hometown when he first won it as a youngster with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1991. You could tell he relished the opportunity this time around.
Kamloops has had a ton of hockey heroes play in the city with what was a powerhouse junior club in the mid-90s, but Recchi is by far the biggest homegrown star and is extremely popular back home. His jersey is also one of four hanging in the ISC.
I'd only planned to be back in my hometown for a few days, and I didn't find out until a few days before I left that the Cup would coincidentally be there at the same time. It was a great moment of Canadiana seeing Recchi trailed by children clutching onto the giant silver bowl.
It was also something that would have been great to see anywhere, but watching it unfold in my little hometown, it was that much more poignant.
Thumbs up to Mark for making it happen.
(Oh, and this dork was there, too.)