Stanton shares Stanley Cup
Chicago Blackhawks' defenceman brings Stanley Cup to St. Albert
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Saturday, Aug 31, 2013 06:00 am
The thrill of a lifetime for Ryan Stanton was presenting the Stanley Cup to his hometown at Wednesday's celebration at Meadowview Diamonds.
“It’s definitely pretty special to share it with my family and friends and the awesome community of St. Albert,” said a beaming Stanton, a defenceman for the Chicago Blackhawks.
Hundreds showed up to see Lord Stanley’s Mug and the majority were wearing Blackhawks colours. Young and old stood patiently in line, including St. Albert MLA Steve Khan, for pictures with the iconic trophy, which arrived in St. Albert in the afternoon after Bryan Bickell of the Blackhawks took it fishing in the Orono, Ont. area during his turn with the cup.
“It’s a fun night. I was expecting a pretty good turnout, but this blew me away. It’s awesome,” said Stanton, who posted the event on his Twitter account and announced it on the Mark Spector Show on Team 1260 earlier in the day. “It’s obviously how huge hockey is here and how much it means so it’s definitely exciting to see everyone come out to see it tonight. I’m just happy to bring it out.”
During the cup’s visit to Meadowview, all four diamonds at the slowpitch facility were in full swing, including Stanton's team, the Brew Jays, against the Thirsty Beavers. Before the game, Stanton arrived with the cup and displayed it in the team’s dugout before it was moved to a larger viewing area for fans to enjoy.
After the win the Brew Jays (13-15) posed with the cup at home plate, then the former catcher in the St. Albert Cardinals’ rep baseball program invited the Thirsty Beavers and the umpire to join the team for more pictures.
“We were kidding around that we wanted to play for the cup tonight,” said Shane Lehman of the Thirsty Beavers (6-22). “It was a thrill to have it here. We all grew up watching it on TV and it’s nice to actually see it in person, not to mention having a guy that I grew up playing hockey with my entire life bring it down here for all the people to see.”
After the post-game activities, Stanton returned the cup to its spot on top of a picnic table in the beer gardens, slipped on his No. 55 Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup jersey and happily sat next to the guest of honour for pictures and shook hands with thankful fans.
“What he did tonight says a lot about him and it says a lot about his family too,” said Rod Perkins of St. Albert, a friend of the Stantons and hockey enthusiast who went to the Blackhawks’ victory parade this year and in 2010 when they won the cup. “It’s unbelievable. That’s every kid’s dream, especially Canadians.”
Akram Chehayeb, 28,of Edmonton brought his son, Habib, and wife, Nasab, to St. Albert after reading about it on Twitter earlier in the day.
“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s nice to come out and see everyone with the cup,” said Chehayeb, an Edmonton Oilers’ fan clad in a green Blackhawks jersey. “That guy (Stanton) must be proud and his parents must be proud. I’m sure St. Albert is proud of him too.”
Twitter also informed Carla Dee of Edmonton when and where Stanton was bringing the cup that night.
“It’s a pretty neat experience to be here and see the Stanley Cup,” said Dee, 26. “It’s really good for him, too. I’m happy for him that he can experience it.”
Dee was sporting a Blackhawks’ ball cap signed by Viktor Stalberg and Corey Crawford.
“I’m a pretty big fan. I’ve liked them since (captain Jonathan) Toews got drafted. I started following them because of him. They’ve been a fun team to watch since,” she said.
Bryan Lambing, 32, of Spruce Grove took advantage of the opportunity to get a picture of his daughter Elizabeth, who turned three months old that day, in the bowl of the cup.
“It’s incredible. Being a Chicago Blackhawks’ fan in Edmonton, it’s a very unique experience to be able to actually touch the cup and put my daughter in it. It couldn’t have been better timing,” said Lambing, decked out in a Blackhawks jersey.
Lambing saluted Stanton for his accomplishment.
“He should be very proud. He definitely earned it. He played his part. Good for him,” he said.
Before slipping away with the cup to a family function at the Sturgeon Valley Golf & Country Club, Stanton reflected on what a whirlwind it’s been since June 24, when the Blackhawks scored two goals in the final 76 seconds to defeat the Boston Bruins 3-2 in game six of the Stanley Cup final at TD Garden.
“It was definitely a crazy experience. It all happened so quickly. (Dave Bolland scored with 58.3 seconds left in regulation time) and we had the lead. It was definitely unbelievable. It’s all kind of a blur really,” Stanton said. “I had a lot of fun with the guys the next week or so. It’s definitely something I will never forget.”
Stanton, 24, was part of the team’s Black Aces throughout the Stanley Cup run and didn’t play in the playoffs but participated in the post-game festivities, including hoisting the cup on the ice in his Blackhawks’ jersey.
Stanton made his NHL debut on April 27 in the Blackhawks’ last regular season game. The former bantam AAA Sabre and midget AAA Raider was plus-one, with one shot, one hit and a high sticking minor in 17:05 minutes of ice time in the 3-1 loss in St. Louis.
“It was an awesome experience. I got to share it with a lot of good buddies who I played with down in the American Hockey League (with the Rockford IceHogs). It was a fun time and it’s something I will always remember,” said Stanton, one of eight call-ups from Rockford the day before the St. Louis game. “It was definitely pretty cool getting called up and being part of the playoff run was awesome.”
Originally signed to a three year entry-level deal by the Blackhawks as a free agent after four Western Hockey League seasons with the Moose Jaw Warriors, Stanton recorded nine goals and 60 points in 224 games in three seasons with the IceHogs. He was recognized as the team’s most improved player in 2011 and their top defenceman in 2012 and last season.
The six-foot-two, 196-pound blueliner had a career-high 22 assists and 25 points in 73 games last season and ranked third on the IceHogs with a plus-16 rating.
Stanton recently signed a new two-year contract with the Blackhawks.
“It’s a first class organization and I’m excited to be back there again,” said the St. Albert Catholic High School graduate.