Cossacks on horseback, Ukrainian music accompany Stanley Cup through Dauphin
NHL coach Barry Trotz brings the hardware to his western Manitoba hometown
In Dauphin, you can't have a parade without Ukrainian music — even when it's the Stanley Cup on parade.
The National Hockey League trophy rode on a float in a two-kilometre arc through Dauphin on Wednesday, accompanied by a Ukrainian band, Dauphinites in Ukrainian costume and the horsemen and women of Canada's National Riding & Dancing Cossacks.
Vintage clothing was worn. Vintage muskets were fired. Alcohol of dubious vintage was poured into Lord Stanley's mug on an afternoon when more than a thousand people — roughly one in eight Dauphin residents — took time out of a weekday to celebrate the achievement of Cup-winning Dauphinite Barry Trotz.
In June, Trotz coached Washington Capitals to a 4-1 Stanley Cup final victory against the Vegas Golden Knights. That made the former Dauphin Kings player and coach the first hometown hero to win the Cup, even though players such as Winnipeg's Butch Goring spent time playing in Dauphin before winning the NHL championship.
"This is the first time that somebody who grew up on this town and played minor hockey in this town has come back to show off the greatest hardware in the world," said John Orisko, a member of the Riding Cossacks, who procures vintage weapons for the group.
"Barry's family is of Ukrainian heritage and he requested us to be the honour guard for the Stanley Cup in today's parade."
Kirk Nyquist, another Cossack, said his group is entrusted to protect the trophy from Russians or even more hostile entities.
"Our job is to protect Lord Stanley's Cup. So if anybody from Saskatchewan is coming over to take the Cup, you better watch out," he said.
The Cup flew into Dauphin on Wednesday morning and was taken for visits to hospitals and care homes.
Fans also lined up for hours at the Credit Union Place hockey arena in downtown Dauphin to pose for pictures with the Stanley Cup.
Many people in line to see the trophy were kids.
"It's a one-time opportunity in life to see the Stanley Cup," said Brooke Shewchuk.
"It's pretty cool, but I never noticed it had words on it until just when I saw it," said Joel Adam, adding he also heard sometimes people pour drinks into the Cup.
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Trotz described the Cup as the best trophy in sport.
"Instead of just taking a picture and looking at it it, you get to touch it and you get to drink from it," he said. "And then you get to a smaller group, which I want to get to at the end of the night."
The Cup was slated to spend Wednesday evening at a quiet Trotz family gathering.