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Kings defenseman Greene takes Cup to UND

Tuesday, 08.12.2014 / 11:59 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  / 2014 Summer with Stanley blog

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2014 Summer with Stanley blog
Kings defenseman Greene takes Cup to UND

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Matt Greene decided on a new location for his second day with the Stanley Cup.

After starting Monday by receiving the Cup in his hometown of Grand Ledge, Mich., Greene chartered a jet to Fargo, N.D. A veteran of three seasons at the University of North Dakota, he spent some time in the state's largest city before continuing on to Grand Forks, where the UND campus is located.

"It's been awesome," Greene told the Grand Forks Herald. "It's been a lot of fun coming back here. It's been a whirlwind. ... The Cup brings out the crazy in a lot of people."

Greene's first stop after arriving in Grand Forks was the American Legion in nearby Manvel. It was there the Cup made an unannounced visit and spent more than an hour hanging out with locals. Once word of the Cup's presence began to spread, the crowd swelled to more than 60 people.

The return to the Manvel Legion was special for Greene. While playing at North Dakota, he was known to frequent the establishment. The evening continued with a private function at the Grand Forks Country Club, which was hosting the Cup for the first time. About 140 friends, family and former teammates visited the club, which also happened to be celebrating its 50th anniversary at its location.

Around 10 p.m. Monday, Greene brought the Cup to another of his favorite college haunts, Judy's Tavern, which reportedly became so packed with revelers it was forced to close its doors.

"They are all places we hung out when we were in school," he said.

The highlight of Greene's two days with the Cup took place Tuesday at Ralph Engelstad Arena, where he used to play for the UND hockey team. More than 4,000 people lined up for three hours to see the Cup and get a photograph with Greene. Fans started lining up around 9:30 a.m. for the noon opening, and some drove up to three hours.

"This is a real special place for me," Greene said. "I wanted to share it with people here. I'm proud to have spent time here and I call it my second home.

"It's a great place to go to school, it's a great place to live, it's a great community, and the program is No. 1 in the nation. It was a real special time in my life."

The Cup was then handed over to Kings amateur scout for the United States, Tony Gasparini, a Grand Forks native. He took the trophy to the Altru Family Medicine Center, where his brother, Andrew, is a doctor. The Herald said doctors put the Cup on a hospital bed and examined it.

Gasparini then held a private celebration for friends and family at the home of his parents, Tootsie and Gino, a former UND men’s hockey coach.

"It has been a fun event," Gasparini told the newspaper.

It marked the Cup's first appearance in Grand Forks since 2006, when Mike Commodore brought it to campus after winning it with the Carolina Hurricanes.

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