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Seabrook shares Cup with his hometown

by Mike G. Morreale
DELTA, B.C. -- Defenseman Brent Seabrook won't soon forget the reaction by Chicago Blackhawks' President John McDonough in the winners' locker room following their Stanley Cup-clinching victory over the Philadelphia Flyers last month.

"He was drinking out of the Stanley Cup, and the first thing I said to him was 'That's not the MLB Trophy, it's the Stanley Cup and you get to drink out of it,' " said Seabrook, referring to the fact McDonough spent 24 years with the Chicago Cubs as senior vice president of marketing and as the team's president prior to his current post with the Hawks. "The thing is, you can have fun with the Stanley Cup and that's why it's the best trophy in sports."

Seabrook put his belief to the test on Friday when he got his day with Holy Grail in his hometown of Delta and Tsawwassen. Not only did he visit a hospital, police station, fire department and secondary school, but he set up a private roller hockey game in which the winning team celebrated with the big prize at the center of the rink.

"He was drinking out of the Stanley Cup, and the first thing I said to him was 'That's not the MLB Trophy, it's the Stanley Cup and you get to drink out of it. The thing is, you can have fun with the Stanley Cup and that's why it's the best trophy in sports." -- Brent Seabrook on Chicago Blackhawks' President John McDonough, who spent 24 years with Chicago Cubs organization

Seabrook's team would win the best-of-7 roller hockey series in six games -- the same number of contests the Hawks needed to dispose of the Flyers.

After having his dream of winning the Cup come true, Seabrook was determined to share this special moment with everyone who made it all possible.

"Everybody wants to see it, everybody wants to be around it, they want to hold it, they want to lift it up and they want to drink out of it," Seabrook said. "Whatever it may be, I don't think that dream ever dies -- for anybody. It was always a dream as a kid and I always dreamed of scoring the winning goal in my driveway as I'm sure a million other kids do."

Fact is, even before Seabrook had a chance to play in the NHL, he was actually learning how special sharing those magical moments with star athletes really were.

"I remember going to a developmental camp in Whistler (B.C.) and Wayne Gretzky was there," he recalled. "They had barricades set up and players coming out and getting autographs. Wayne was doing an interview and somehow, me and my brother (Keith), snuck out and saw it. Security was trying to get us out of there but Wayne yelled at us to give him five minutes for an interview and he'd then see us. We jumped across the creek and got a hat signed by him. It was cool and something I'll always remember that was done by the world's best player."

Seabrook was doing plenty of that, too. He took time with Delta police chief Jim Cessford and his department, spent several minutes with fire chief Dan Copeland and his officers of Hall #1 and made a lot of sick and ailing senior citizens at Delta Hospital smile at the sight of the trophy.

"They've all had some rough times, and it was nice to brighten their day up a little bit and let them see the Cup and touch it," Seabrook said. "Some of those people are long-time hockey fans, fans of the Canucks. I know that's not our team, but it's still cool to see.

"To be honest, Brent Seabrook isn't really the attraction -- it's the Stanley Cup and it's cool to be able to bring it here and share it with everyone."

Delta mayor Lois Jackson would beg to differ that the Cup was the only sole attraction.

"This is truly a community event, mainly because we have so many young people that we've encouraged for so many years to be involved in sports, hockey in particular," Jackson said. "This has been a dream for so many Canadian children and we have seen that dream realized in our community for Brent. I think it makes all the work we do come to life. These are the reasons we work so hard with the young people, to make certain they grow into successful adults. This is the accomplishment of a lifetime, for Brent, his family and this community."

Seabrook recalls with great pride the young and prospering talent that emerged from the Delta-Tsawwassen region of British Columbia.

"(Troy) Brouwer, (Andrew) Ladd and I played together since we were 9 years old," Seabrook said. "I still remember playing in Edmonton in the Brick Tournament for the Vipers and playing against (Dustin) Byfuglien and (Colin) Fraser. We went 25-for-25 in tournaments … we were a pretty dominant team."

Seabrook was a relative steady performer back then, but his parents weren't convinced at the time that hockey was his calling.

"He had goals like a lot of young hockey players and he just rolled along but we never thought that this would happen or anything," Suzanne Seabrook said. "You just kind of roll along and things kind of click and come together."

"I don't know if we really thought about an NHL career for him until the Canadian Hockey League was sort of looking at him and then he went relatively high in the WHL draft," Gary Seabrook said of his son.

Seabrook played spring hockey with the Pacific Vipers, along with teammates Colin Fraser, Brouwer and Ladd. He went on to play in the Western Hockey League with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, who drafted him in the first round of the 2000 Bantam Draft. The Blackhawks selected him 14th in the 2003 Entry Draft—though he admitted Fraser was the top player among the group.

"It comes down to the passion he had for the game," Gary Seabrook admitted. "When he got a little bit older and we saw that (passion) and then we thought maybe he'd have a chance. He was always very good, very methodical and knew how to play the game, but how can you predict this."

The Seabrook family invited many friends and family members to their beautifully landscaped home in Delta in the morning before Brent began his tour throughout the surrounding area. It concluded with a festive gathering at the Tsawwassen Golf & Country Club.

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale
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