When the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 2012, Brent McEwen, the team's amateur scout for Western Canada, brought the trophy to Saskatoon, the largest city in Saskatchewan. To celebrate the Kings' victory this June, McEwen brought the Cup to a much quainter location.
Wednesday, he hosted the Cup in Whitewood, Saskatchewan, his rural hometown of fewer than 1,000 people located in the southeastern region of the province. It was a far cry from Saskatoon, where McEwen worked for a decade at the University of Saskatchewan before becoming general manager of the Saskatoon Blades in the Western Hockey League.
"When I had it in Saskatoon, I had it at the university where I worked for a number of years. I thought if we ever won it again, I would really like to bring it back here when I grew up and my family still lives," McEwen told NHL.com. "It's really a great opportunity for people to get close to the Cup. That's what it's all about. Sharing it with people I grew up with in an area I grew up in. It's great."
After receiving the Cup in the morning, McEwen brought it to the Ochapowace Cree Nation at noon. He and the Cup were greeted by a traditional Cree drumming ceremony.
McEwen received a warm welcome at an event hosted at the Chief Denton George Memorial Multiplex, where locals got the opportunity to see the Cup up close. It was the perfect housewarming for the arena, which opened in May and hosts a hockey school run by McEwen's brother, Brad, who is the assistant general manager and head scout for the WHL's Medicine Hat Tigers.
"I was surprised at Ochapowache," McEwen said. "There were probably 400 people and the present population is about 600. It was really good."
McEwen then brought the Cup to a private party at his brother's house. From there, the trophy was scheduled to arrive at the Whitewood community rink. With a crowd of about 400 people expected, the event was open to the public and featured a beer garden as well as burgers for sale, with a portion of proceeds intended to go to the local fire department.
The Cup was scheduled to visit Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, on Thursday, where it will be hosted by Kings equipment manager Darren Granger. It will make its way back to Saskatchewan next week, where it will spend days with Kings players Jarret Stoll, Dwight King and Robyn Regehr.