In the lengthy hockey history of Waterford, Ontario -- located about 80 miles south of Toronto -- roughly 12,000 kids have played hockey in the local minor hockey system. Only one of them has played in the NHL. Monday afternoon, that prodigal son returned to Waterford with a very special guest.
Following a 13-year NHL playing career that ended with the Los Angeles Kings, Waterford's Nelson Emerson served as an assistant coach for three seasons before being named the team's director of player development in 2009.
After Emerson received the Cup on Monday from Kings assistant coach John Stevens, who enjoyed his time with the trophy a few miles away in Simcoe, Ontario, the town of Waterford welcomed the Stanley Cup for the first time.
The Cup's afternoon started at the fire department, where Emerson boarded the town's historic antique fire truck for a ride to the local arena. It was there that about 1,200 locals lined up for a moment with the Cup.
The gathering included former member's of Emerson's 1983-84 midget hockey team, which won the International Silver Stick and Ontario Minor Hockey Association titles. At Emerson's request, that iconic Waterford team reunited around the Cup, where they posed for photos and relived old times.
"That's Nelson," team captain Chris Miles told Jacob Robinson of the Simcoe Reformer. "Nelson knows he came from grassroots and he never forgets."
After an hour at the arena, Emerson enjoyed a private party at his cottage nearby, but his hometown certainly enjoyed a day it won't forget anytime soon.