By Deborah Lew
This is the sixth feature of a special multi-part LAKings.com content series featuring various members of the Kings organization as the Stanley Cup makes its way around North America throughout the summer.
Jarret Stoll is the perfect southern Californian – with his dirty, beach blond curls, tanned skin, and bright eyes, he fits right in around the bay cities and easily could have grown up out west. The forward is typically one of the most quotable players on the LA Kings roster, never complains and even flashes that silver screen-worthy smile during media sessions.
Except Stoll isn’t from Los Angeles, or any other big city for that matter.
A native of a small town in Saskatchewan, Stoll grew up playing hockey, surrounded by a close-knit family that often gathered at Stoll’s grandparents’ house in the city of Neudorf. Many a holiday and plenty of dinners were had at that house where the cousins would wait for Santa on Christmas Eve and enjoy each other’s company any other time of the year.
The house that served as such a cornerstone of Stoll’s childhood received a special visitor this summer, courtesy of the LA Kings Stanley Cup win.
“I have a lot of memories of my grandma and grandpa’s and watching hockey there,” Stoll recalled fondly. “It’s a little house in Neudorf, but it’s a really special place and I just wanted to make sure that I brought the Cup there and showed her, being how she watches every single game to this day,” said Stoll of his grandmother, who sits in a chair with her Stoll jersey on to watch his games.
The Stanley Cup arrived at the Yorkton airport at 8 a.m. on August 16, and the first order of business was to pay a visit to the home of Stoll’s grandmother, about an hour away.
“Grandpa is not around anymore, but I know that if he were, he’d be very, very proud of that day,” commented Stoll.
Naturally the entire family gathered to see the world’s most identifiable trophy, during which photos were taken and a new generation of memories were made.
Stoll then took the Cup to the sports grounds across the street from the ice rink where he learned how to skate as a child. About 1,200 people were in attendance to view the 35-pound trophy, despite the fact that the town’s population is closer to 275. Those in attendance enjoyed hot dogs, hamburgers and, of course, photos with Stoll and the Stanley Cup.
Stoll’s entourage then boarded their busses for the hour drive back to Yorkton, where a parade honoring Stoll began at 2 p.m.. Fans packed the parade route, which went down one of the city’s main streets.
“I had my whole family on the back of an old fire truck that we drove on, and we had the Stanley Cup on there,” said Stoll, who then posed for public photos with the trophy for another two hours at the conclusion of the parade at a nearby hockey rink.
The night concluded with a private party for 1,150 people – and no, that wasn’t a typo. Stoll really is that popular. The party consisted of speeches, dinner, a band, and dancing – and it went late!
“It was the perfect day. I don’t think it could have went any better, and I don’t think I would have changed one thing,” Stoll affirmed. “Everybody that I wanted to be there was there, and the day was perfect.”
The season may not have started out so perfectly for Stoll – but don’t tell him that. With the addition of center Mike Richards last summer, Stoll skated mostly on the third line after spending most of his first three seasons in LA on the second. But his team-first attitude prevailed.
“For myself personally, I didn’t really care where it moved me, up or down or whatever, as long as we had a better team and a chance to win,” confirmed Stoll, who trained in LA during the summers for two years prior to the 2008 trade that brought him to the Kings.
“What every hockey player dreams of is winning the Stanley Cup and making a move like that, amongst many moves that they made during the season, it gave us a chance to win, and everybody wants to win,” added Stoll, who made it to the Stanley Cup Final with the Edmonton Oilers in 2006, but lost.
After winning the Cup once, Stoll would like nothing more than to do it again, which led to the signing of a new three-year deal with the Kings that was completed shortly after the season ended.
“I wanted to be in LA, I wanted to be an LA King. We have a great team going here, the organization, the management is great, first class. Obviously we have a great team, a great group of guys that love each other and want to play for each other,” said the 30-year old NHL veteran. “We got it all here in LA, we just have to take advantage of the way we have it.”
Just like they did this past season when the big city boy with small town values became a Stanley Cup champion for the first time.
Join the conversation on Twitter with the NHL, LA Kings and the Cup Keepers for their summer with Stanley by using the hashtag #StanleyCup
LA Kings: @LAKings
Photos via @KeeperOfTheCup
Deborah Lew: @by_DeborahLew
For photos of the Kings’ summer with Stanley, view the Hockey Hall of Fame’s ‘Stanley Cup Journal’ CLICK HERE
You can also check out the Stanley Cup on Facebook at Facebook.com/StanleyCup and Facebook.com/TravelsWithStanley
To read about Bernie Nicholls' ‘MY STANLEY CUP STORY,’ CLICK HERE
To read about John Stevens' ‘MY STANLEY CUP STORY,’ CLICK HERE
To read about Colin Frasers' ‘MY STANLEY CUP STORY,’ CLICK HERE
To read about Simon Gagne’s ‘MY STANLEY CUP STORY,’ CLICK HERE