It’s been a while since the Shuswap sun has shone on hockey’s Holy Grail.
The National Hockey League’s most sought after prize, the Stanley Cup, will be on display at Salmon Arm’s Marine Park on Saturday, March 7, as part of the Rogers Hometown Hockey festivities happening that weekend.
Named after former Governor General Lord Frederick Stanley, who donated the original cup in 1892 (on display in the Hockey Hall of Fame), the three-foot tall (89.54 cm), 35-lb. (15.5 kg) trophy has travelled across the continent time and time again, stopping in schools, community events, the desk of the President of the United States and, of course, NHL Stanley Cup finals.
In 2005, the coveted cup was brought to Salmon Arm in January 2005 for the National Women’s Under 18 Hockey Challenge. Held at the Shaw Centre, then known as the Sunwave Centre, the event saw top level women’s hockey teams from across Canada compete for gold (Ontario Red was the victor). Ron McLean, who returns with Rogers Hometown Hockey, was also in town for the event.
The cup was brought to town by longtime cup keeper Mike Bolt, who accompanies the trophy on its travels world over. During his 2005 visit to Salmon Arm, Bolt said the best part of his job isn’t the travelling, but seeing how people respond when they set their eyes on the Stanley Cup.
“The reactions are different with everyone. Some are very excited, some are just in awe,” Bolt told the Observer.
Bolt wasn’t disappointed by Shuswap residents who came to see the iconic cup.
“I stood in line for 30 minutes but it was most definitely worth it,” commented Steve DeBoer at the time. “I’m lucky to see the Stanley Cup in my hometown. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
A long-time hockey fan and Salmon Arm Silverbacks supporter, DeBoer is thrilled to have a twice-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the cup in March.
“I did see it once in Toronto at the Hockey Hall of Fame but that’s been it so far,” said DeBoer. “How often do we get a Stanley Cup in our small town of Salmon Arm? We don’t have a lot of NHL players here but yeah, I think it will be great. Sort of a passage of time, maybe every 15 years, get it to come to town.”