CHICAGO - James van Riemsdyk wouldn't let a little weather get in the way of watching brother Trevor win the Stanley Cup.
When big brother's flight from Minneapolis to Chicago was diverted to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Monday evening, he decided to get a rental car and drive the rest of the way to United Center. He made it with eight minutes left in the game, and got to see Trevor lift the Cup.
The plane tried twice to land before a lack of fuel changed the plans. The choice to drive three hours was an easy one.
"Through the pouring rain it took us almost three hours, but it was worth it," van Riemsdyk said.
Five years ago James van Riemsdyk was on the ice in Philadelphia watching as the Blackhawks celebrated their first Cup. Again Patrick Kane scored, but this time his emotions were more a sense of pride for Trevor, who missed a bulk of the season with injuries.
"It's pretty incredible when you think about it," James said. "He hasn't played a game in the NHL since November and here he is in the Stanley Cup final. It's very exciting for him, I'm very happy for him. He's definitely earned it."
Coach Joel Quenneville put Trevor van Riemsdyk back in the lineup for Game 3 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the 23-year-old did well in his bottom-pairing role. As 40-year-old defence partner Kimmo Timonen soaked in the Cup as the perfect ending for his career, van Riemsdyk got to enjoy what could be the first of many with the Blackhawks.
Being a part of the Cup final was a reward for his trying year. Van Riemsdyk missed months with a left patella fracture and then underwent wrist surgery in April.
During his recovery, van Riemsdyk dreamed of the Cup and counted up the weeks in his head to see if he'd be back in time. He made it.
"It's been a long year but it???s all worth it," van Riemsdyk said. "The comeback and just trying to play well. Obviously we had a bunch of guys step up big, pretty much everyone."
A college free agent out of the University of New Hampshire, van Riemsdyk surprised by making the Blackhawks out of training camp. Now he's a Quenneville favourite and is expected to be a long-term piece of the puzzle in Chicago.
"It's pretty crazy," van Riemsdyk said. "I owe a lot of people a lot of things along the way."
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