August 20, 2006
Hockey's Holy GrailStanley Cup visits Fort Sask.
By MICHELLE MARK -- Edmonton Sun
Fort Saskatchewan's cup runneth over.
The city that boasts two members of the 2006 Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes rolled out the red carpet yesterday for defenceman Mike Commodore and left-winger Ray Whitney, who had the coveted Stanley Cup in tow to share with family, friends and fans.
"I've been looking forward to being back here and sharing our success with the community," said Commodore.
"I enjoy letting other people enjoy (the Cup) and taking it all in."
Whitney said he's extremely proud of the fact that two of the best the NHL had to offer are from his hometown of about 14,000.
"It's not a big place, and to have two Stanley Cup champions, two of the best in the entire world, from the same town is pretty remarkable," he said. "To be able to come back here and bring the Cup home is very exciting, even if it's just for a little while."
Whitney's dad Floyd, an Edmonton cop and former practice goalie with the Oilers during their five Stanley Cup wins, said having his son bring the Cup home is even better.
"It was special with the Oilers, but when it's your own son, it's awesome," he said.
About 1,000 supporters flocked to Fort Saskatchewan's Legacy Park as Whitney, Commodore and the Cup, hockey's Holy Grail, were paraded to the site in the city's original 1929 Ford Bickle fire truck, being refurbished for the fire department's 100th anniversary.
Mayor Jim Sheasgreen proudly presented the pair each with a key to the city and declared Aug. 19 as Ray Whitney and Mike Commodore Day in Fort Saskatchewan.
Glen Parent of Edmonton and his nephew Joshua Waters, 10, jumped at the chance to see the Cup up close.
"When there's a local connection, it makes it that much more exciting," said Parent. "It was a great series and great people played in that series ... even though they were playing for the wrong team."
Prior to the festivities, Whitney made a stop in Edmonton to visit his grandma, 73-year-old Delena Whitney, at Good Samaritan Place seniors' home where she's been something of a celebrity since the Hurricanes clinched the Cup.
"The thing is, I'm not really a hockey fan," Delena confided, wearing a Hurricanes T-shirt signed by her grandson.
"I couldn't care less about hockey but I'm very proud of Ray. He's done good."
Commodore's alma mater, the University of North Dakota, is flying his family and the Stanley Cup to Grand Forks for a portion of the weekend, and from there they're heading to Vancouver Island for a short visit.
The Stanley Cup is expected to make 60 stops in its year-round tour.