SYLVAN LAKE — Lord Stanley’s cup sped into Sylvan Lake in style.
Colin Fraser of the Stanley Cup-winning L.A. Kings arrived by speedboat and police escort into the resort town.
The former Red Deer Rebels captain hoisted the Stanley Cup high above his shoulders before stepping onto the pier and marching to Main Street, where he was greeted by hundreds of people.
Fraser said he was proud to call Sylvan Lake and Central Alberta home before apologizing to the Vancouver Canucks fans, in reference to the Kings eliminating of the Canucks in Western Conference quarter-final series in the National Hockey League playoffs.
“Sorry about that,” chuckled Fraser. “Tough. Tough team to cheer for.”
The Stanley Cup was the main attraction at the town’s summer festival on Wednesday.
There were plenty of cheers as fans from across Central Alberta and the province lined up to touch hockey’s holy grail.
“It’s good to see the Cup come to Sylvan Lake,” said Shawn Skinner, 43, who brought his son, Khale, 11, to the celebrations. “It was a childhood dream.”
Dressed in his Vancouver Canucks’ jersey, Dale Racette of Red Deer took half a day off from work to bring his children Tasia, 10, and Neiko, eight, to see the Stanley Cup and to meet Fraser.
“It’s a chance of a lifetime that you can see this,” said Racette. “We have our jerseys on. It’s beautiful weather and it’s a great turnout.”
Millie Berge, 79, said she came all the way from Maple Ridge, B.C., to see the Stanley Cup.
“It felt just wonderful,” laughed Millie Berge, one of the first in line to touch the Stanley Cup and to meet Fraser.
Berge was in Sylvan Lake visiting family.
“I had both my hands on (the Stanley Cup). I’ve been a hockey fan all my life. Seeing it here in this small community is such an honour.”
Fraser is originally from Surrey, B.C., but makes Sylvan Lake his summer home. The centre played four seasons with the Red Deer Rebels.
In 2010, he won the Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks, before moving to the Edmonton Oilers for the 2010-11 season.
Fraser was then traded to L.A. as part of the deal that brought Ryan Smyth back to the Oilers before the 2011-12 season.
“It is amazing what a year can make,” said Fraser. “You go from a healthy scratch and not playing on a 30th place team to winning the Stanley Cup on the first place team. It’s weird how things work out. It’s part of business of the game. Things happen for a reason.”
The Stanley Cup will also be at the Black Knight Inn in Red Deer as part of the Sutter Fund Tourney on Friday at 8:30 p.m. for public viewing.