To the sound of cheers from the hundreds gathered at Kiwanis Park, Chandler Stephenson grasped one of the most iconic trophies in sports, and carried it to the Vimy Memorial.
The 24-year-old Saskatoon native took pictures and signed autographs Thursday afternoon. Those in attendance were also given some face time with the Stanley Cup, which perched on a table borrowed from the Delta Bessborough hotel.
Many onlookers and people passing through the park couldn’t help but stop for a peek and a quick picture of the cup.
Stephenson’s family looked on as the line continued to form nearly to the Broadway Bridge.
“It’s very exciting, over the moon,” Stephenson’s mother Bev said. “Surreal.”
Stephenson is the 15th Saskatoon-born NHL player to hoist the Stanley Cup, and one of the few to bring the Cup back to Saskatchewan. Stephenson’s father Cort proudly said he knew it was his son’s dream to win the Cup since he was around the age of four, and he wasn’t expecting it to happen so early in his budding NHL career.
His family said Chandler will always consider Saskatoon home, and he enjoys visiting in the off-season. Admittedly, they said his trips home are often a little less hectic than the days he has with the Cup.
“This is a little much for him because he just wants to be low-key, but I guess when you win the Cup you have to step out of the boundaries a little bit, and that’s what he’s doing,” Cort said.
So far, the family said their time with the Stanley Cup has been eventful. Chandler’s 91-year-old grandmother took part in the fun, enjoying a mango mimosa from Lord Stanley’s mug.
WATCH: Washington Capitals’ Chandler Stephenson plans to bring Stanley Cup to Humboldt
On Friday, Chandler aims to fulfill a promise he made on the ice just minutes after the Washington Capitals beat the Vegas Golden Knights to capture the NHL’s top prize: to bring the Cup to Humboldt.
“All along, he said he was taking the Cup to Humboldt, even before they won the Stanley Cup,” Bev said. “Just to bring some happiness and to bring a little bit of joy.”
According to his family, Chandler knew many of the players in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash personally, and the April 6 tragedy still hits close to home. His appearance with the Cup on Aug. 24 will coincide with Hockey Day in Humboldt, and the first day of Broncos training camp.