Hockey DayLloydminster's house of Paynes
By Tim Wharnsby
Posted: Thursday, January 16, 2014 | 12:53 PMBack to accessibility links
The Payne boys, from left, Shawn, Chad, Brendan and Kevin, visited Fenway Park during their trip from Lloydminster to Boston last year. (Photo courtesy Payne family)
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Beginning of Story ContentLloydminster is an Edmonton Oilers town.
The NHL club is situated only 250 kilometres to the west of this Alberta/Saskatchewan border town, a two-and-a-half-hour drive across the Yellowhead Highway.
There are, however, exceptions to the rule. There are some characters who do not fret about whether Ben Scrivens will be the answer in goal, or whether Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle will someday soon push the Oilers into the playoffs.
Some, like 35-year-old Kevin Payne, prefer instead to support the Boston Bruins.
"Well, I cheer for the Oilers, too," he explained. "It's just I like the Bruins more. I've always been a big Bruins fan, going back to the days of my favourite player, Cam Neely."
Nine months ago, worlds collided for Payne when his beloved Bruins traded for local Lloydminster product Wade Redden.
"This calls for a road trip," Payne and his brother Chad thought.
Shipping up to Boston
When the Bruins skated all the way to the Stanley Cup final, the brothers went into action to plan a trip with their younger brother Shawn and cousin Brendan.
The Paynes scoured the internet, snapped up four tickets for Game 4 in Boston against the Chicago Blackhawks, booked a hotel room and scored some ducats for a Red Sox game at Fenway Park against the Tampa Bay Rays.
I met the Paynes in a 7-Eleven on Causeway Street in Boston, across from the TD Garden, a few hours after the Blackhawks defeated the Bruins 6-5 on Brent Seabrook's game-winning goal in overtime.
They were still smiling when I ran into them, even though the Bruins lost that night. Shawn particularly was in awe of the experience. He's the family's resident hockey expert, practically living at Lloydminster-area rinks. He's been a stick boy for the local Bobcats, Bandits and the senior Border Kings.
This season, Shawn has helped out the nearby Onion Lake Border Chiefs. The team's new coach, Corey McKee, is a family friend.
"Shawn has asked me every day, 'Has that guy from the CBC called,'" Chad told me when I followed through on my promise to check in with the Paynes for a story during Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada week.
"What will I remember about the trip? Fenway Park, for sure. It was pretty awesome," said Chad, 32. "The Bruins game was exciting, too. I will never forget how loud it got and the atmosphere."
The trip only got better. The Paynes had some time to kill before their plane departed Logan Airport on their final day in Beantown. They wanted to visit the landmark Cheers pub, but a local suggested they instead visit Joe's American Bar and Grill in the city's North End. Joe's has better food and was on the way to Logan.
When the Paynes were seated they discovered somebody famous sitting nearby. Bruins forward Milan Lucic was having a bite to eat with his family.
Lucic could not have been nicer. He posed for pictures and signed autographs for the Lloydminster four.
"I'll never forget the atmosphere inside the TD Garden, especially when everybody was singing that Dropkick Murphys song, I'm Shipping Up to Boston," Kevin said. "But to meet Milan Lucic was a perfect way to end the trip. It was a dream trip."
Seven months later, the Paynes are back in Lloydminster, engaged in their normal routines. Brendan is in his rookie season with the senior Border Kings and has played well with six goals and 13 points in eight games.
Having Hockey Day in Canada celebrations in town this week has been a special time for everybody in Lloydminster. It has become a time to reminisce about the solid career of Redden, who retired last week ("The town is so proud of him," Kevin said), or about other connections like Chad's days on the baseball diamond playing alongside Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby or his minor hockey days with Scott Hartnell.
"It's a huge deal for Lloyd as a community and as a hockey community," Kevin said. "Saturday will be a pretty big day.
"Lloydminster has always been a hockey hotbed and it is a huge honour for everyone in the community to be hosting Hockey Day in Canada and to show off their love of the game, and especially exciting for all the local kids who dream of being the next Wade Redden, Scott Hartnell or Braden Holtby."
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