Still basking in the glow of winning the Stanley Cup for the first time, Los Angeles Kings assistant coach Davis Payne wanted to bring hockey's ultimate prize back home to Kamloops, British Columbia. He received his opportunity this weekend when he returned to the place he still considers his hometown despite spending most of his time in Southern California.
"It's a chance now to pay it back and celebrate and share all this stuff with everybody that was an important part of it all the way along," Payne told KamloopsThisWeek.com in June. "All the coaches in Kamloops, all the friends and teammates that I have that are still there."
Payne joined the Kings coaching staff in 2012 after spending parts of three seasons as coach of the St. Louis Blues. His hiring came less than two months after the Kings won their first championship.
During his day with the Cup on Saturday, Payne and his wife, Jane, got started at the nearby Sun Peaks Resort, where they went for a ride on a ski lift before a family photo was arranged on the mountain. The Cup was also made available for a one-hour public viewing at the popular ski resort.
Traditionally used for sipping champagne, the Stanley Cup this summer has been used for, among other things, eating ice cream and the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Payne had a different idea once back in Kamloops: filling it with cheeseburgers. Later in the day, Davis' niece, Eva, could be found asleep with the Cup by her side.
The citizens of Kamloops also got their opportunity to see the Cup up close. Payne and the Cup spent some time Saturday at the Interior Savings Centre, the 6,400-seat arena that is the home of the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League. It was there that locals lined up for two hours to meet Payne and have their photographs taken with the most iconic trophy in sports.
After defenseman Willie Mitchell, goaltender Martin Jones and goaltending coach Bill Ranford each enjoyed time with the Cup this week in British Columbia, goaltending development coach Kim Dillabaugh brought the Cup to Kelowna on Thursday.