Downtown Sylvan Lake was abuzz with activity last Wednesday as it prepared for the arrival of the Stanley Cup with Los Angeles Kings player Colin Fraser.
A portion of 50th Street had been closed off between 50th Avenue and Lakeshore Drive to accommodate the festivities. People walked freely in the area, occasionally stopping at one of the many stalls lining the street. Speakers on a stage at the intersection of 50th Street and Lakeshore Drive played music.
Around the stage in a semi-circle stood a line of people, some of whom had been waiting for several hours for the chance to touch the Stanley Cup and get an autograph from Fraser.
Luke and Veronica Knight showed up to the festivities wearing Kings jerseys. They had driven from Calgary especially for the event, and Luke said he had taken the day off work.
“It’ll probably be the only time I can see a Kings Cup in Alberta,” he said.
Knight has been a fan of the Kings since Wayne Gretzky, his favourite hockey player of all time, played for them from 1988-1996. He watched every game of the playoffs.
The Cup arrived by boat, landing on the shores of Sylvan Lake around noon. Fraser, escorted by members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, was greeted with cheers from the assembled crowd as he entered the downtown area and ascended the stage.
Sylvan Lake mayor Susan Samson spoke at the event.
“Our very own resident Colin Fraser not only won the Cup but brought it home so we could share it,” she said.
Fraser and his family live in Sylvan Lake during the off-season. He used to play for the Red Deer Rebels, during which time he met his wife, who is from the area. Originally from British Columbia, Fraser said he is proud to call Sylvan Lake and Central Alberta home.
“I really like it here. It’s a small town and I enjoy it. I love Central Alberta,” said Fraser.
Those wanting a chance to touch the Cup were able to do so while wearing white gloves, before posing for a photo. After, they were able to have an item autographed by Fraser.
This is the second time Fraser has played for a Cup-winning team. He previously won it while playing for the Chicago Blackhawks in 2009-2010, after which he brought it to Surrey, B.C., where he grew up.