Nathan MacKinnon to bring the Stanley Cup back to Nova Scotia

Colorado Avalanche centre Nathan MacKinnon lifts the Stanley Cup after the team defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup final on Sunday, June 26, 2022, in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Phelan Ebenhack

Cole Harbour’s own Nathan MacKinnon is bringing the Stanley Cup home this summer.

It’s been five years since Sidney Crosby last brought the Stanley Cup to Halifax, but after MacKinnon and the Colorado Avalanche won on Sunday, the Cup is coming back.

MacKinnon fought hard to win the series against Tampa Bay, the previous Stanley Cup champion. The series ended 4-2 with Colorado coming out victorious, winning its first Stanley Cup in 21 years.

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage tweeted after the June 27 win, saying the Cup will make its return to the city.

“Congratulations (Nathan MacKinnon) and Avalanche, the Cup will be here this summer,” read the tweet.

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In an interview Monday, Savage said MacKinnon played hard and helped lead his team to victory.

“It was so awesome to see it, Nate had a big game,” said Savage. “I think Nate was a big leader on the team and we’re very proud of him.”

Cole Harbour councilor Trish Purdy told Global News on July 18 that plans to get the cup back to the HRM are in the works, as city staff prepare to make arrangements with MacKinnon.

When asked if MacKinnon’s name would be added to the Cole Harbour sign, alongside Crosby’s, Savage didn’t promise anything, but hinted he would be honoured in some way.

“I’d be very surprised if we didn’t see some recognition to Nathan’s accomplishment very soon,” said Savage.

Cole Harbour has now produced two Stanley Cup winners: Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon. Google Maps

Trish Purdy, councillor for Cole Harbour, said it’s amazing that MacKinnon made it to this point.

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“The fact that he’s made it this far is enough to be celebrated. This is the cream of the crop and not everyone is able to do what he’s done,” said Purdy.

The first two times Crosby brought the cup home, there were parades held for Crosby and the Cup, and the most recent time he brought it to the Natal Day parade.

Purdy said it’s likely MacKinnon will follow in Crosby’s footsteps and have a parade.

Read more: Avalanche defeat two-time defending champions Tampa Bay Lightning to win Stanley Cup

“It’s going to be driven by Nathan MacKinnon and his family,” said Purdy. “Usually it’s a big parade and lots of celebration.”

Purdy said there is yet to be a confirmed date we can expect to see the Stanley Cup, but it is being worked on.

Whatever celebrations happen, MacKinnon expects fellow Cole Harbour hockey star Sidney Crosby to be there. Sportsnet reported that after winning the game, MacKinnon said Crosby “better be coming,” adding that “I’ve been the drunkest guy at two of his so he better be drunk at mine.”

A ‘next level’ player

During the 2021-22 regular season, MacKinnon had averaged 1.35 points per game, with a total of 88. That’s 32 goals and 56 assists in 62 games, making him one of the top-scoring players in the NHL.

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That only followed him into the playoffs, where MacKinnon tied first place for playoff goals scored with 13.

A first-overall NHL draft pick, and a Memorial Cup champion in 2013, MacKinnon has kept adding to his achievements since he got to the NHL.

Jon Greenwood, former peewee and bantam coach for MacKinnon, says the community has been cheering him on.

Read more: Sidney Crosby brings the Stanley Cup home with a parade

“Every hockey player dreams of this: the dream of winning the Stanley Cup,” said Greenwood. “He’s done it, we’re all so happy and thrilled for him. Hopefully he can relax and enjoy it.”

MacKinnon’s hockey career began when he was a kid, playing for Cole Harbour Minor Hockey.

To celebrate Mackinnon’s success, the Cole Harbour Minor Hockey Association recently introduced the “Nathan Mackinnon Hardest Worker Award,” which is awarded to each team’s hardest-working player.

“What really set him apart was his drive,” said Greenwood.

“His drive, his work ethic, and his competitiveness was always next level, that was always multiple steps ahead of his peers.”

Read more: New Tim Hortons ad with Nathan MacKinnon, Sidney Crosby seems to be brewing

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Greenwood said MacKinnon and Crosby are not only great hockey players, but great role models for the community.

“What makes us most proud of these guys is what great young men they are. They’re great ambassadors for hockey and they’re great ambassadors for the community here in Cole Harbour,” said Greenwood.

Best yet to come

This is the former Halifax Moosehead’s first time making it to the Stanley Cup final.

Cam Russell, general manager for the Mooseheads and a Cole Harbour native, says Colorado has been the best team in the league all season.

“Colorado has one heck of a hockey team,” said Russell. “They’re a team that plays with great speed, and they definitely have the ability to win the Stanley Cup.”

Russell said he always knew MacKinnon was a great hockey player, but nobody could anticipate how successful he would become.

“I don’t think anyone knew just how special of a hockey player he would be,” he said.

“We knew he was great, but man, he’s become a very special hockey player.”

This is far from the end for MacKinnon, though. Trailing Crosby by two Stanley Cup titles, that only gives him more to shoot for.

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“He’s crossed over into superstar territory,” said Russell. “He’s had some great hockey years up to this point, but I think the best hockey is still yet to come from him.”

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