WESTWARD, HO! When we last spoke, Jake Muzzin had just received a key to the city of Woodstock, Ontario. As of now, the Cup is two provinces to the west, having called at several Saskatchewan cities in addition to criss-crossing the Manitoba-Ontario border.
First, it was time for Senior Pro Scout and 20-year Kings hockey operations veteran Rob Laird to have his second day with the Cup – and first day with the Cup in his hometown of Regina, where he celebrated with fellow Regina Pats alumni. Click here for pictures of the event, courtesy of Voice of the Pats Phil Andrews.
Laird, who currently lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana (he played eight seasons with the Fort Wayne Komets), helped raise money for HOPE for Animals Low Cost Spay/Neuter/Wellness Clinic – where his wife works – when he hosted his day with the Cup two years ago. This time, he helped raise money for the ALS Society of Saskatchewan while celebrating with his mother and immediate family.
“I’ve spent 20 years with the Kings now. We had some lean years early on … but now we’re a team that has won twice in the last three years. It’s an unbelievably hard trophy to win because there are so many good hockey teams right now. We’re still situated where we’re going to be competitive for the next four or five years.”
Despite the unheralded nature of his position, Laird has been a key contributor to the Kings. He originally joined the organization in 1994 as the head coach of their IHL affiliate, the Phoenix Roadrunners. He moved to the scouting staff two years later and currently serves as their senior pro scout.
Thanks to LA Kings pro scout Rob Laird for allowing us to spend time with Lord Stanley’s Cup yesterday. Great Day! pic.twitter.com/V9t5YuiexI
— Brad Hornung (@Bradhornung) July 30, 2014
From there, the Cup traveled east to the small community of Wildwood, Saskatchewan, where Brent McEwen, Amateur Scout-Western Canada, grew up. The former Saskatoon Blades General Manager celebrated with friends and family in Saskatoon two years ago. From NHL.com’s Summer with Stanley blog:
“When I had it in Saskatoon, I had it at the university where I worked for a number of years. I thought if we ever won it again, I would really like to bring it back here when I grew up and my family still lives,” McEwen told NHL.com. “It’s really a great opportunity for people to get close to the Cup. That’s what it’s all about. Sharing it with people I grew up with in an area I grew up in. It’s great.”
After receiving the Cup in the morning, McEwen brought it to the Ochapowace Cree Nation at noon. He and the Cup were greeted by a traditional Cree drumming ceremony. McEwen received a warm welcome at an event hosted at the Chief Denton George Memorial Multiplex, where locals got the opportunity to see the Cup up close. It was the perfect housewarming for the arena, which opened in May and hosts a hockey school run by McEwen’s brother, Brad, who is the assistant general manager and head scout for the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers.
“I was surprised at Ochapowache,” McEwen said. “There were probably 400 people and the present population is about 600. It was really good.” McEwen also helped raise money for the local volunteer fire department last Wednesday.
— Philip Pritchard (@keeperofthecup) July 30, 2014
The Cup traveled across province lines to Brandon, Manitoba, where Head Equipment Manager Darren Granger celebrated with family – and hopefully shot well below his handicap. It wasn’t a bad year for Granger, who will add a second championship ring to the gold medal he earned with Canada at the Winter Olympics.
— Philip Pritchard (@keeperofthecup) July 31, 2014
And then the Cup crossed back into Ontario. Mike Richards was an Ontario Hockey League star – a Memorial Cup all-star (and champion) and a CHL all-star with the Kitchener Rangers – and hails from the town of Kenora, which is actually only two hours east of Winnipeg in the western part of the province. The town is situated on Lake of the Woods, which is primarily located in southwestern Ontario but also extends into Manitoba and remote northern Minnesota. In other words, this isn’t the heavily populated Windsor-London-Toronto-Ottawa corridor that is often associated with Ontario. Phil Pritchard has some excellent photos, but for now, we’re turning photography duties over to FOX Sports West’s Jack Wilson, who accompanied Richards and Jarret Stoll (and will accompany Robyn Regehr and Dwight King) on their days with the Stanley Cup. Here’s a reminder that Jack has been to Viking, Alberta.
— Jack Wilson (@JACKaWILSON) August 1, 2014
— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) August 1, 2014
— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) August 2, 2014
Mike Richards from the Los Angeles Kings paraded the cup through Kenora to kick off the August long weekend on Friday.
He was perched on the back of a white truck between the Stanley Cup and the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl, the Western Conference Cup, as he went from Bernier Drive and east on Lakeview Drive waving at the hundreds of people along the road.
Mason, his brother Matthew, and their mom, Tracy Prefontaine, were in the crowd. They saw Mike Richards with the cup for the second time on Aug. 1.
“It was exciting because it’s a one time shot that you get to see Mike Richards, well you don’t see him that often so that makes it exciting,” said Mason.
For the local family, the fact that Richards is from Kenora makes it extra special.
“He’s an amazing hockey player, he’s from Kenora and he wins the Stanley Cup lots,” said Mason.
“He wins the Stanley Cup lots” is the official LAKI sentence of the day.
— Philip Pritchard (@keeperofthecup) August 2, 2014
From Western Ontario, the Cup traveled back across Manitoba and to Saskatoon, the largest city in the province. One impressive byproduct of the annual Stanley Cup tour is that it allows players to help improve the lives of those less fortunate in their hometowns. The largesse on behalf of the Kings has been remarkable, and over the weekend, a one million dollar check was donated by the Jarret Stoll Patient Comfort Fund Endowment for Children to the Royal University Hospital.
— Philip Pritchard (@keeperofthecup) August 3, 2014
Stoll also visited Kiwanis Memorial Park North, according to NHL.com’s Summer with Stanley blog, and encouraged those who posed for photos with the Cup to donate to the hospital.
Jarret Stoll doing charity work pic.twitter.com/i4Maiz8rNm
— Jack Wilson (@JACKaWILSON) August 3, 2014
From there, he hosted a celebration with family and friends that resulted in this epic photo:
— Philip Pritchard (@keeperofthecup) August 4, 2014
Schedule of Stanley:
June 24: NHL Awards, Las Vegas, NV
June 26-28: NHL Draft, Philadelphia, PA
June 29: Mark Yannetti, Topsfield, MA
June 30: Hubie McDonough, Manchester, NH
June 30: Denis Fugere, St. Jerome, QC
July 1: Michael Futa, Rexdale, ON
July 2-3: Tyler Toffoli, Ottawa, ON
July 3: Alyn McCauley, Gananoque, ON
July 4-5: Dustin Brown, Ithaca, NY
July 6: Jonathan Quick, Hamden, CT
July 9: Niklas Andersson, Smogen, Sweden
July 10: Christian Ruuttu, Helsinki, Finland
July 11-12: Marian Gaborik, Trencin, Slovakia
July 12-13: Anze Kopitar, Jesenice, Slovenia
July 14-15: Slava Voynov, Chelyabinsk, Russia
July 17: John Stevens, Sea Isle, NJ
July 18-19: Justin Williams, Ventnor, NJ, Cobourg, ON
July 20: Tanner Pearson, Kitchener, ON
July 21: Glen Murray, Bridgewater, NS
July 22: Nelson Emerson, Waterford, ON
July 23: Rob Blake, Simcoe, ON
July 24: Mike Donnelly, Northville, MI
July 25: Drew Doughty, London, ON
July 26: Jeff Carter, London, ON
July 27: Jake Muzzin, Woodstock, ON
July 29: Rob Laird, Regina, SK
July 30: Brent McEwen, Wildwood, SK
July 31: Darren Granger, Brandon, MB
August 1-2: Mike Richards, Kenora, ON
August 3-4: Jarret Stoll, Saskatoon, SK