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‘Bringing the cup home’: Nazem Kadri to hoist Stanley Cup in London, Ont.

London, Ont., is gearing up to be the latest stop on the Colorado Avalanche’s winning tour as Londoner Nazem Kadri brings the Stanley Cup to the Forest City on Saturday.

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Believed to be for the first time ever, Kadri will hoist the cup once more during a parade on Saturday morning set to kick off with speeches by community leaders Munir El-Kassem and Faisal Joseph in front of the London Muslim Mosque.

“I’m pretty excited, actually, not just for the Kadri family, but I’m excited for the community because we’ve been blessed with so many supporters,” said Kadri’s mother, Sue Kadri. “This is why we are wanting to celebrate with everybody.”

Kadri won the cup in Colorado’s victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning, becoming the first Muslim player in the league to be crowned an NHL champion.

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“My husband and I always say even when Nazem stepped on the ice, you know, after his 12-year career it’s almost like he’s stepping on the ice for the first time,” his mother said. “So finally winning the Stanley Cup, what a dream for him and for all of us as well as the community.”

The city will shut down Oxford Street in the area of the mosque as the official parade will begin just after 12 p.m.

The planned route, expected to include fire trucks as well as the London Knights bus, will head east from Oxford Street to Richmond Street and then south to Victoria Park, where another ceremony will begin at 12:45 p.m.

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“Twenty years ago, people weren’t really into hockey, it was more like soccer (and) basketball,” Sue Kadri said. “But what is so wonderful now is that people have put their kids in the sport because of Nazem and because they look up to him and want to be just like him.”

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Nazem Kadri, who has since signed with the Calgary Flames, has been outspoken about racism and his personal struggles throughout his career and charitable organization.

The Nazem Kadri Foundation, founded in 2017, works in partnership with local Canadian organizations and “strives to give back to the community by raising awareness and funding to aid important causes.”

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This year, the foundation is focused on mental health and, after he won the Cup, his foundation saw a record $480,000 donated.

“As far as Saturday goes, it’s all about celebrating, bringing the cup home, and hopefully we can bring it back again,” Kadri’s mother said. “London is our hometown right and we wouldn’t have it any other way but to share it with everybody.”

— with files from Global News’ Andrew Graham

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