Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 08/22/05 at 10:21 PM ET
Whitehorse hockey fans had a special treat Saturday. For the first time in history, the championship trophy of the National Hockey League found its way north and was publicly displayed at the Gold Rush Inn. The Stanley Cup, known originally as the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, was purchased by former Canadian governor general Lord Stanley in 1892 to be used as an award for the nation’s championship hockey team. With the exceptions of 1919, when there was a flu epidemic, and 2005, when a labour dispute wiped out the entire season, the Cup has been presented to a championship team every year since 1893. Before the inn’s doors opened, at the front of the line was Colin Young, one of Whitehorse’s many hockey fans. For him and his sons, it was an important occasion to be a part of. “It’s the great Canadian pastime and an opportunity to see an icon of dedication, passion and commitment,” Young said. “Getting to see it this way was a hell of a lot cheaper than flying south.” As he said so, the next fan in line, who wished to remain anonymous, stressed how important it was to be there early for the event. “You’re only talking to us so you can get in first,” she said. “The back of the line’s back there. You wanna bud in front of us? Then you’ll see a real hockey brawl.” In all, hundreds of people came to see the coveted prize of the NHL. There were the young and the old, men and women, and even a wedding party. “We told the priest to hold off while we go to see the Cup,” they said jokingly. The groom, Mike Tuton, refused to comment on which was the bigger event of the day. “It’s been a pretty good day,” he said. “Getting to see the Stanley Cup and getting married, you can’t beat that.” The Cup came north not specifically for Whitehorse, however, but rather for Dawson City. The Dawson City Nuggets, who competed for the Cup in 1905, initiated the push to bring it north for their hockey centennial. “We’d been trying to get the Cup for a while,” said Brian Gudmundson, a member of the Nuggets. “At the end of July, the hockey Hall of Fame called to say we’d get it three weeks from then. So there wasn’t much preparation time. We wanted to commemorate the Yukon’s attempt to win the holy grail.”more
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