EDMONTON -- Colton Parayko put an emphasis on dreams when he brought the Stanley Cup to an elite atom hockey tournament on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old defenseman is the first player from the St. Louis Blues to have the Cup this summer, three weeks after they defeated the Boston Bruins in seven games to win their first championship.
"It's really special," Parayko said at The Brick Invitational Hockey Tournament at West Edmonton Mall. "All these kids are dreaming of playing in the NHL and winning the Stanley Cup, so that's what I kind of told them. And these kids are obviously special players at this age, so they're going to have a good chance to play in the NHL and have a chance to win. I told them to just work hard and have fun.
"It's kind of surreal, but this has been so much fun for me and my family and my friends and the people of St. Albert and Edmonton. It's just cool to share it with people. This is where I grew up my whole life."
Parayko's hometown of St. Albert, Alberta, is adjacent to Edmonton. He began the day there with a morning parade around his neighborhood.
A tour of the region followed, beginning with a visit to Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton before the Brick tournament. Parayko brought the Cup to The Canadian Brewhouse in St. Albert before a private family dinner.
"We went to the Stollery this morning and my mom and my two sisters work there, so that was a cool connection that way," Parayko said. "I've just enjoyed working with hospitals and kids in St. Louis, so I decided this was a cool connection to have.
"Here, this is a pretty big hockey tournament and obviously these kids are pretty jacked up. I was in a couple of the dressing rooms and they're pretty pumped. Some of them seem starstruck, but once they realized this was the real deal it was pretty cool. They're happy and this was a lot of fun."
During the intermission of a tournament game between the Toronto Bulldogs and Connecticut Jr. Rangers, Parayko brought the Cup into each team's dressing room, and also into the dressing rooms of the teams preparing for the next game, the host Team Brick Alberta and Team Minnesota.
"This is probably the most different pregame I've ever seen, especially for 10-year-olds," said Jason Nicholetts, general manager of Team Brick Alberta. "It's just incredible to see the Stanley Cup and have the opportunity to touch it. It doesn't happen every day. I'm sure this will be a story in itself for these guys for years to come when they talk about their memories.
"We can use it as motivation and reference how hard it is to win that trophy. I think it's the hardest trophy to win in professional sports. It might be good motivation to get these guys to the next level."
Parayko said he never played in the Brick tournament, which has been played for 30 years.
What was he doing at age 10?
"Probably on a skateboard and playing road hockey probably," he said. "Maybe playing a couple of video games. I couldn't tell you."
Parayko (6-foot-6, 230 pounds) is considered by some to be a late bloomer. But with 131 points (29 goals, 102 assists) in 322 career games with the Blues, he has developed into an elite player who averaged 25:07 of ice time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season.
He had two goals and 10 assists in 26 games during the Cup run, which for Parayko culminated with a chance to bring it home Wednesday.
"This is why we play in the NHL," he said. "It's a group effort. This is the best part."