The day after Dustin Penner personally escorted the Stanley Cup through his hometown of Winkler, Manitoba for the second time in five years, Los Angeles Kings teammate Mike Richards brought the Cup to a town that had gone more than 100 years without a Cup celebration. And he made sure to pay tribute to the last group of Cup-winners from his hometown of Kenora, Ontario.
The weekend started with Penner -- who first won the Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007 -- getting his second day with the Cup in his hometown of Winkler, located about 80 miles south of Winnipeg and minutes from the border with North Dakota. It was there that the Kings wing enjoyed a day of golf with the Cup before taking a limo to a public event hosted by the Southland Mall. Hundreds of locals, some of whom had been camping out for three hours, descended on the mall for a chance to be photographed with Penner and the Cup. With Aug. 17, 2012 officially declared "Dustin Penner Day," it was another special occasion in Winkler.
Richards, who now owns the distinction of being the only player in hockey history to win a Memorial Cup, Calder Cup and Stanley Cup. The former Philadelphia Flyers captain had a number of events planned for the Cup, including a reception attended by more than 4,000 people and a private party on Grace Anne II, an 85-foot luxury mahogany yacht that has been servicing the area for decades. But before the big party, Richards made sure to honor Kenora's other historic hockey stars.
During his whirlwind day with the most iconic trophy in sports, Richards stopped by a plaque in town honoring the 1907 Kenora Thirstles team that won the Stanley Cup, making Kenora the smallest town ever to win the Cup. An early men's amateur club, the Thistles boasted four Hall of Fame players -- Si Griffis, Tom Hooper, Bill McGimsie, and Tom Phillips -- and defeated the Montreal Wanderers in a two-game series to capture the Cup before disbanding later that year.
For a century, the Thistles remained the primary claim to fame for the Southwest Ontario town of roughly 15,000 people. But with Richards' triumphant return alongside a very special guest, a new chapter was written in the long history of Kenora.